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causes and in its effects. It is the regret of a slave, who returns to a master whose chastisement he fears, or of a child, who regrets having forfeited a claim to the possessions of his father.
It is generally produced either by a sense of the baseness of sin in itself, or, more commonly, by a fear of hell or the loss of heaven. If attrition be accompanied by a hope of pardon, if it exclude the will of sinning again, it is an impulse of the Holy Ghost, and a gift of God, which disposes the sinner for the happiness of perfect reconciliation with God in the tribunal of penance."*
The reader, I trust, has not forgotten the Jesuit doctrine which dispenses with the painful and difficult duty of the love of God. And here he will find it fully justified. For while contrition is recommended, yet attrition will suffice, inasmuch as it disposes the sinner for the happiness of perfect reconciliation with God in the tribunal of penance. And what is this attrition? By the very definition given, it is nothing more than a slavish fear, or a selfish apprehension of the loss of future bliss, or of the infliction of future punishment. It must, indeed, be attended by the hope of pardon, and it must exclude the will of sinning again. But “the slave who returns to a master, whose chastisement he fears,” may well hope for pardon, when he is told that his master will ask for nothing beyond the resolution to submit, and the will to avoid a repetition of the offense which exposes
him to severe correction. And it is obvious that neither of these demands a particle of love, since they are only set forth in connection with fear and a prudent regard to personal safety. Hence we have in this short passage an evidently reluctant, but plain and clear admission, that the power of the priest in
* Ursuline Manual, p. 161.
the tribunal of penance is sufficient to obtain for the sinner “ the happiness of perfect reconciliation with God,” independently of the love of the Lord, and without that true contrition which love alone inspires. And yet the Apostle John saith, “HE THAT LOVETH NOT, KNOWETH NOT GOD, FOR GOD IS LOVE.”* And St. Paul proclaims, “ IF ANY MAN LOVE NOT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA MARAN-ATHA.”+
The order to be pursued in the work of the Confessional, according to the Ursuline Manual, is as follows :
“On entering the Confessional, place yourself in spirit at the feet of Jesus Christ” (kneeling down at the side of your ghostly father, as it is stated in “ The Garden of the Soul”), and “ begin by making the sign of the cross, saying, · Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. When the priest has said" (in Latin
66. May the Lord be in your heart and on your lips, that you may sincerely and candidly declare all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen,' say the Confiteor as follows:"}
“I confess to the Almighty God, to the blessed Virgin Mary, to the blessed Michael the Archangel, to the blessed John the Baptist, to the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, to all the saints in heaven, and to you, my father, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed; through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.' At these words
you should bow your head and penitently strike your breast; then say how long it has been since your last confession ; secondly, whether you were absolved and have communicated; and, thirdly, whether you have performed your penance.
Then begin your * 1 John, iv., 8.
| 1 Cor., xvi., 22. $ Ursuline Manual, p. 186,
confession, by accusing yourself of any sin which might have been forgotten in your last confession, or any faults committed in approaching that sacrament. After which, proceed to the accusation of your other sins, beginning with those which you have most repugnance to mention,”* &c.
“When you have accused yourself of all your sins, and submitted any doubts on your mind to the opinion of your director, conclude your confession in the following form : For these and all the sins of my life I am most heartily sorry, humbly beg pardon of God, and penance and absolution of you, my father ;' then immediately bowing your head, finish the Confiteor as follows: Therefore I beseech the blessed Virgin Mary, the blessed Michael the Archangel, the blessed St. John the Baptist, the holy Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul, all the saints in heaven, and you, my father, to pray to God for me.'
The priest then says” (in Latin), “May the Almighty God be merciful to you, forgive you your sins, and bring you to everlasting life.
May the Almighty and merciful Lord grant you pardon, absolution, and full remission of all your sins.'”+
Here, of course, the priest puts whatever questions he may think proper, and nearly sixteen pages of the book are occupied with a list of topics for previous self-examination, on all of which the confessor may interrogate the penitent according to his discretion. After this, he imposes such penance as he deems fit, and then the absolution is to be given in the following form, pronounced in Latin :
“ May our Lord Jesus Christ absolve thee from every bond of excommunication and interdict, as far as I have power and thou hast need. I therefore do
* Ursuline Manual, p. 186-7. + Ibid., p. 187. ^ Ibid., p. 143-159.
absolve thee from all thy sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. May the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, the merits of the blessed Virgin Mary and of all the saints ; may whatever good thou shalt do, or what. ever evil thou shalt suffer, be to thee unto the remission of thy sins, the increase of grace, and the recompense of life everlasting. Amen."*
" When you leave the Confessional, do not disturb your mind by examining whether you have confessed well, or have forgotten any of your sins, but rest assured that if you made your confession with sincerity and the other requisite dispositions, you are, according to the express decision of the Council of Trent, fully absolved from every sin which you may have omitted through forgetfulness, even though it were mortal.”+
The precise period at which these forms were fixed in their present shape it is perhaps impossible to ascertain. But the reader has had positive proof, from the forms of confession used in the ninth and tenth centuries, that there was nothing like them known at that time; and the probability is that the last arrangement was settled somewhere between the Council of Lateran and the Council of Trent, or from the middle of the thirteenth to the commencement of the sixteenth centuries. But they exhibit a curious and interesting specimen of the mode in which the Church of Rome has acted in every part of her system, by continuing the old and primitive truth with the utmost tenacity, while she effectually opposed it by some modern innovation. A brief analysis of the formularies just cited will explain my meaning.
First, then, the reader will remember that in the * Ursuline Manual, p. 188.
+ Ibid., p. 188.
primitive Church the penitent was obliged to make his confession not only to God and to the priests, but also to the saints, that is, to his faithful brethren; all who were communicants being then called saints, or holy persons, as we read in the epistles of St. Paul, and in the writings of the early fathers. Now the modern Romanists have carefully preserved this principle, only with one important difference, viz., that as they have long given the title of saints exclusively to those departed worthies whom they suppose to be in glory, therefore they have substituted, for the living communicants of the primitive ages, the Virgin Mary, St. John the Baptist, St. Peter, and St. Paul, and all the other saints of the Calendar, and these the modern penitent now asks to pray for him, just as the ancient penitent besought his brethren to grant him the benefit of their intercessions.
Secondly, we have seen that the penitent in the primitive Church was always separated from the communion, and therefore absolution in his case signified the loosing him from the censures of the Church, in order to restore him to the society and fellowship of the faithful. And here, also, the modern confessor retains the words of the ancient form, saying, “ May our Lord Jesus Christ absolve thee from every bond of excommunication and interdict, as far as I have power and thou hast need,” although there is neither excommunication nor interdict to justify it.
Thirdly, we have seen that the old forms were all in the language of prayer that God would absolve the sinner. And the modern Church of Rome still keeps up the same rule, in no less than three places; while she brings in, at the close, her innovation of “ I absolve thee,” in which the Council of Trent is careful to place the whole force of sacramental absolution.