aA
aA
aA
aA
aA
aA
Summa Theologica
« Prev Article. 3 - Whether, outside a case of… Next »

Whether, outside a case of necessity, anyone who is not a priest may hear the confession of venial sins?

Objection 1: It would seem that, outside a case of necessity, no one but a priest may hear the confession of venial sins. For the dispensation of a sacrament is committed to a layman by reason of necessity. But the confession of venial sins is not necessary. Therefore it is not committed to a layman.

Objection 2: Further, Extreme Unction is ordained against venial sin, just as Penance is. But the former may not be given by a layman, as appears from James 5:14. Therefore neither can the confession of venial sins be made to a layman.

On the contrary, is the authority of Bede (on James 5:16, "Confess . . . one to another") quoted in the text (Sent. iv, D, 17).

I answer that, By venial sin man is separated neither from God nor from the sacraments of the Church: wherefore he does not need to receive any further grace for the forgiveness of such a sin, nor does he need to be reconciled to the Church. Consequently a man does not need to confess his venial sins to a priest. And since confession made to a layman is a sacramental, although it is not a perfect sacrament, and since it proceeds from charity, it has a natural aptitude to remit sins, just as the beating of one's breast, or the sprinkling of holy water (cf. TP, Q[87], A[3]).

This suffices for the Reply to the First Objection, because there is no need to receive a sacrament for the forgiveness of venial sins. and a sacramental, such as holy water or the like, suffices for the purpose.

Reply to Objection 2: Extreme Unction is not given directly as a remedy for venial sin, nor is any other sacrament.

« Prev Article. 3 - Whether, outside a case of… Next »

Advertisements


| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |