Originally posted by Seede
1)A Roman Catholic Priest is a direct successor of the Apostles? Am I correct in that understanding?
2)If a priest commits sodomy can he forgive himself? 3) Or can another priest forgive him for sodomy? If priests can forgive the general populace of Catholics then surely they must have the authority to forgive each other. 4) Am I right on this or am I over reaching? 5) If they can forgive each other then they have a circle of being secure. Is this why, when exposed, they are simply shuffled around so to speak?
One other question which I have is this. 6) If Judas Iscariot was an Apostle among eleven other Apostles then why wasn't Judas forgiven for his betrayal to Christ? 7) Even committing suicide, could he not have been forgiven? 8) Or was he forgiven? 9) If I am not a Catholic and I sin, am I then not forgiven for that sin? 10) To enjoy heaven must I join the Catholic Church?
The reason I ask all of these questions is that when I read the bible I understand that all of these Apostles were Jews in the Jerusalem church. 11) When did they join the Roman gentile church? I understand the claim about Peter and all that but what about the other eleven? 12) Did each one of the other eleven have their own bunch of successors like Peter did?
I've added numbering to your original post for ease of answering.
1) No. The Bishops are successors. Priests would become successors upon consecration to the office of Bishop.
2) No. He must seek confession/absolution, regardless of the mortal sin he has committed, through another priest. All clerics, even the Pope, have a confessor (one to whom they confess regularly).
3) Yes. Being a priest only means they can perform the Sacraments (Confession, Communion, Weddings, Baptism, etc). Certain Sacraments are reserved for certain offices: The deacon, technically, is the one who distributes Holy Communion. All Priests are also ordained Deacons and distribute Holy Communion through their ordination into the Diaconate. Priests can do the Sacrament of Confirmation, via permission of the Bishop, and under his authority to do so, who is actually the general conferrer of that Sacrament. Anyone can Baptize if it's an emergency. For example, I, a laymen, come upon a car wreck and I believe someone is about to die-- I can baptize them being it's an emergency, as can anyone. The Priesthood itself has specific roles, of which, one is the Sacrament of Confession. The Pope, Bishops, and Priests all confess to Priests via the ability of that office. Bishops must be Priests first, and the Pope, being the Bishop of Rome, is also eternally a Priest and acts in this role, while remaining Pope, when conferring Sacraments in the role of the Priesthood.
4) You're right. See #3.
5) All confessions are secure. A priest cannot break the seal of Confession without permission from the confessed, be they lay, priest, Bishop, etc.. Joe Catholic could confess to being a murderer of a celebrity/politician/even the Pope(!) and the priest could NOT break that seal. However, the priest can withhold absolution if the confessed says they have no intention of not committing that sin again; and, the seal of confession does NOT extend to "future" sin, i.e. "I'm going to do X tomorrow". If it is something like murder, etc, in the future declaration, there is no seal on that and it must be revealed to prevent the crime being unable to be sealed in the confession due to lack of intent to not do it again.
The Vatican is livid at the shuffling around of priests, but it has nothing to do with the confessional. Only the confessed and the confessor would know, and even then there is no guarantee the confessor has any idea who the confessed is, depending on the style of confessional, etc. The Vatican web page's resources on the abuse of minors: www.vatican.va...
cont. next post due to space
edit on 13-9-2012 by Augustine62 because: to edit