1. Hmmm . . .
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    27 Oct '05 05:46
    The debate between Nemsio and lucifershammer, in response to The Chess Express’s question got sidetracked—I am one of the “sidetrackers,” and, as I was interested in their exchange, I put the whole thing in a new thread. Here it is—


    [/b]The Chess Express:[/b] Where in the Bible does it talk about a priest having the power to forgive sins?

    Lucifershammer: Easy one:

    19On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
    21Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." 22And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." (John 20:19-23)


    Also see Mt 16:19 and Mt 18:18.[/b]

    Nemesio

    Lucifershammer:

    You cite an interesting passage in St Matthew 16:19. Every English translation I've ever
    seen has been dishonest relative to the Greek. The verse reads, in Greek:

    Doso soi tas kleidas tes basileias ton ouranon,
    I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of the heavens,

    kai o ean deses epi tes ges estai dedemenon en tois ouranois,
    and what if you might bind on the land will be having been bound in the heavens,

    kai o ean lusus epi tes ges estai lelumenon et tois ouranois.
    and what if you might loose on the land will be having been loosed in the heavens.

    (You will note that St Matthew 18:18 is similarly phrased).

    This is not the casual relationship that EVERY translation implies; that is, if the Disciples
    forgive them, they will be forgiven. No -- indeed -- it indicates that if the Disciples deem
    them forgiven, it is simply because they were already forgiven in heaven, as per the passive
    past perfect tense of the Greek clearly indicates.

    St John 20:23 is similarly written:

    [...He said...'Receive the Holy Spirit.] an tinon aphute tas amartias apheontai autois,
    ...of whom you might send off the sins they have been sent off to them,

    an tinon kratute kekratuntai.
    of whom you might hold they have been held.

    Again, the sins in question have already been determined forgiven or not is clearly
    indicated by the careful grammar of the Greek and is totally concordant with the Matthian
    reading.

    lucifershammer:

    Nemesio,

    Thanks for the Greek transliteration. One learns something new every day!

    Nevertheless, one needs to be careful how one uses tense in a situation that involves a being that is essentially out of Time - i.e. God. Does it make sense to say that sins have 'already' been forgiven by God prior to absolution by the priest if God's forgiveness is an event that does not take place in time?

    I think the idea of causality is more relevant here. The priest is only able to absolve the sins of the penitent because God absolves the sins of the penitent and is only able to forgive the sins of the penitent because God forgives the sins of the penitent. So, the situation here is not, AFAICS, one where an Infinite God is at the mercy of arbitrary decisions of priests on earth*. Rather, the priest's action is more of a final confirmation to the penitent that his sins have, indeed, been forgiven.

    Cheers,

    LH

    ---
    * This reminds me of the situation in the film Dogma where a supposed "indulgence" frees any person who walks through the door of some church from all sin (including mortal sin). Naturally, the film gives you a good idea of what the Church does not teach.

    Nemesio:

    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    Does it make sense to say that sins have 'already' been forgiven by God prior to absolution by the priest if God's forgiveness is an event that does not take place in time?

    This doesn't make sense. Can you cite any other example of things that happen in heaven
    that take place out of time in the context of the Gospels? Every other example of heaven-
    related activity is definitively in the past, present or future, not pecularly arranged as in these
    passages.

    I think the idea of causality is more relevant here. The priest is only able to absolve the sins of the penitent because God absolves the sins of the penitent and is only able to forgive the sins of the penitent because God forgives the sins of the penitent.

    I would agree that, indeed!, the idea of causality is the issue.

    Rather, the priest's action is more of a final confirmation to the penitent that his sins have, indeed, been forgiven.

    That's right. The Greek text makes it clear that it is a confirmation but the translations
    invariably make a casual link that is not there. The Greek also makes it clear that
    the absence of forgiveness on earth does not entail the absence of forgiveness in heaven.
    That is, if a person sins such that a priest does not know about it, it does not entail that a
    priest is needed to confirm that the sin is or is not forgiven. The text is very clear in that
    regard.

    That having been said, I am not trying to undermine the value and significance that a good
    Confession can have to the faithful, or its Sacramental nature. However, the causal
    link between earth and heaven is not supported by the Scriptures and, consequently, its
    necessity for entering into heaven is, similarly, Scripturally indefensible.

    Nemesio

    lucifershammer

    This doesn't make sense. Can you cite any other example of things that happen in heaven that take place out of time in the context of the Gospels?

    I can't think of Gospel-specific examples (and certainly cannot quote the original Greek) - but one event I can think of is related to the Crucifixion. If the Crucifixion was responsible for the reconciliation of mankind to God, then this reconciliation could not have happened in Time - because there are people who died before Christ who were saved (e.g. Abraham).

    Hope that makes sense.

    The problem is that verbs require tense, so we cannot speak of events taking place outside Time without using tense; but, of course, the usage of tense in this case does not imply that the event takes place in Time.

    You're right that, if a baptised Christian has committed a mortal sin, then the sacrament of Reconciliation is not necessary for entry into heaven - a perfect contrition will also do. But how many humans are capable of that?
  2. Hmmm . . .
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    27 Oct '05 05:47
    Nemsio

    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    If the Crucifixion was responsible for the reconciliation of mankind to God, then this reconciliation could not have happened in Time - because there are people who died before Christ who were saved (e.g. Abraham).

    If this were the case, then we would see St Paul saying something
    like: When Christ was on the Cross, we had been saved from our sins,
    or some other weird verbal construction. But we don't see that. We
    see a clear causal link: Because Christ was...therefore we are....

    The Church teaches that Christ descended into Hell. According to the
    teaching of the Church in the Catechism (#633 in my version, which is
    the third item under Article 5 in the discussion of the Creed):

    Scripture calls the abode of the dead, to which the dead Christ went
    down, 'hell' -- 'Sheol' in Hebrew or 'Hades' in Greek -- because those
    who are there are deprived of the vision of God. Such is the case
    for all the dead, whether evil or righteous, while they await the
    Redeemer: which does not mean that their lot is identical, as Jesus
    shows through the parable of the poor man Lazarus who was received
    into 'Abraham's Bosom': ' It is precisely these holy souls, who awaited
    their Savior in Abraham's bosom, whom Christ the Lord delivered when
    he descended into hell.' Jesus did not descend into hell to deliver
    the damned, nor to destory the hell of damnation, but to free the
    just who had gone before him.

    (end quote from the Catechism)

    So, according to the infallibile teaching of the RCC, there is a definitive
    chronological sequence of salvation: Abraham was in hell with the
    damned, awaiting the Savior to come which, by necessity, could not
    happen until the first Good Friday in 30/33 CE. The following items in
    that article elaborate on this point.

    So, there is a definitive causal link between the Crucifixion and
    Abraham's (et alia) salvation and ascent into heaven. Your example
    is, consequently, not relevant.

    The problem is that verbs require tense, so we cannot speak of events taking place outside Time without using tense; but, of course, the usage of tense in this case does not imply that the event takes place in Time.

    Of course. And a good way to indicate that something is not taking
    place in time is to use multiple tenses, such as in Hebrews when it
    says that Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. However,
    the verb usage in the contexts I mentioned are very specific and
    very unusual. They connote a clear relationship between
    the disciple (priest) and the Forgiver (God). Basically, what it says is
    if a disciple forgives a sin, it will have already been forgiven in heaven.
    To suggest that the latter is somehow out of time is illogical and
    textually absurd when other, more clear language is available, e.g.:
    when a disciple forgives a sin, it has been forgiven, is forgiven, and
    will be forgiven for ever, or something.

    edit: That is, the very unusual verb form draws one's attention. Why
    would they choose a most bizarre format to indicate something (e.g.,
    timelessness) which could easily be expressed a multiplicity of other
    ways (and, indeed, is used in other passages in the Christian
    Scripture)? The logical answer is: because these passages were trying
    to express something different, something clear (as the unusual
    verb form indicates).

    You're right that, if a baptised Christian has committed a mortal sin, then the sacrament of Reconciliation is not necessary for entry into heaven - a perfect contrition will also do. But how many humans are capable of that?

    Please don't misunderstand me, Lucifershammer. I deeply value the
    ritual of Reconcilliation and, texts nonewithstanding, the experience of
    the Sacrament can bring a person to a deeper understanding of the
    nature of sin, and its impact. And, if a person approaches his/her
    confession without a spirit of true contrition, the Absolution doesn't
    take place either, as far as I know.

    However, the Church asserts a causal link between a priest's
    forgiveness (through his office and the ministry of the Church) and
    God's. This is utterly unsupported by any reasonable reading of the
    original text (both St Matthew's and St John's disparate accounts).

    You can always play the 'Church's infallible teaching' card, where if the
    Church says it, it must be true. And I can't argue with an institution
    which states theological truths axiomatically. However, what I can do
    is argue that their use of the aforementioned Scriptures justifies their
    position. They most evidently and conclusively do not. There were
    many ways to phrase those two passages to signify casuality or
    timelessness. However, the extremely peculiar turns of phrase
    common to two Gospel traditions which have very little else in common
    speaks with a certain authority (and you said it above): the sins are
    forgiven by the Father in heaven, and that forgiveness is affirmed by
    the disciple. Because no casual link is established, necessity is not
    in question.

    Nemesio

    P.S.
    Also, what you said isn't quite true. Perfect contrition can absolve
    a person of their moral sins if they fully intend to go to
    Confession as soon as possible. Such a circumstance is considered to
    be extraordinary, such as 'grave' situations where a person wants to
    receive the Eucharist, is not in a state of Grace, and is mortally ill.
  3. Subscriberno1marauder
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    27 Oct '05 05:591 edit
    When you read it all printed out straight, it's even more pointless and boring then when we were interrupting it; it's like the BigEndians and LittleEndians in Gulliver's Travels. But I'll leave them alone from now on while they work it out - i guess it's cheaper than one of them Lateran Councils or whatever.
  4. Standard memberKellyJay
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    27 Oct '05 06:02
    Originally posted by vistesd
    [b]Nemsio

    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    If the Crucifixion was responsible for the reconciliation of mankind to God, then this reconciliation could not have happened in Time - because there are people who died before Christ who were saved (e.g. Abraham).

    If this were the case, then we would see St Paul saying something
    like ...[text shortened]... here a person wants to
    receive the Eucharist, is not in a state of Grace, and is mortally ill.[/b]
    I assume in all of this you believe an earlthy priest is required for
    the forgiveness of our sins through a ritual within a certain church
    body? I guess one would have to assume there is only church that
    can do this too?
    Kelly
  5. Hmmm . . .
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    27 Oct '05 06:02
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    When you read it all printed out straight, it's even more pointless and boring then when we were interrupting it; it's like the BigEndians and LittleEndians in Gulliver's Travels. But I'll leave them alone from now on while they work it out - i guess it's cheaper than one of them Lateran Councils or whatever.
    LOL!
  6. Colorado
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    27 Oct '05 06:221 edit
    Originally posted by vistesd
    The debate between Nemsio and lucifershammer, in response to The Chess Express’s question got sidetracked—I am one of the “sidetrackers,” and, as I was interested in their exchange, I put the whole thing in a new thread. Here it is—


    The Chess Express:[/b] Where in the Bible does it talk about a priest having the power to forgive sins?

    Lucife ...[text shortened]... entry into heaven - a perfect contrition will also do. But how many humans are capable of that?
    This does indeed make it easier to read.

    Psalm 32:5 “I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine inequity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the inequity of my sin. Selah”

    I’m still inclined to confess the way David did, but thanks all the same to everybody who has contributed thus far. I have learned a great deal on this topic.

    Peace.
  7. Standard memberNemesio
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    28 Oct '05 16:41
    Bump for LH.

    Nemesio
  8. England
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    29 Oct '05 11:25
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    I assume in all of this you believe an earlthy priest is required for
    the forgiveness of our sins through a ritual within a certain church
    body? I guess one would have to assume there is only church that
    can do this too?
    Kelly
    no i do not belive a earthly priest is required, they are a good way and bound by church laws, but god hears the confetions and prays anywhere. if at moment of death you are alone of earthly people let the words of your heart and mouth speak.
  9. Standard memberNemesio
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    31 Oct '05 08:01
    Originally posted by Nemesio
    Bump for LH.

    Nemesio
    Ahem
  10. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    31 Oct '05 08:05
    Originally posted by Nemesio
    Ahem
    Looks like it's someone else's turn to be spiritually fatigued.
  11. London
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    31 Oct '05 10:13
    Originally posted by Nemesio
    Ahem
    Sorry about that - rough weekend.

    Will get back to this thread later today.
  12. London
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    01 Nov '05 09:411 edit
    Originally posted by vistesd
    The debate between Nemsio and lucifershammer, in response to The Chess Express’s question got sidetracked—I am one of the “sidetrackers,” and, as I was interested in their exchange, I put the whole thing in a new thread. Here it is—


    The Chess Express:[/b] Where in the Bible does it talk about a priest having the power to forgive sins?

    Lucife ...[text shortened]... entry into heaven - a perfect contrition will also do. But how many humans are capable of that?
    Nemesio:
    You cite an interesting passage in St Matthew 16:19. Every English translation I've ever seen has been dishonest relative to the Greek. ... This is not the casual relationship that EVERY translation implies; that is, if the Disciples forgive them, they will be forgiven. No -- indeed -- it indicates that if the Disciples deem them forgiven, it is simply because they were already forgiven in heaven, as per the passive past perfect tense of the Greek clearly indicates.


    Just wanted to get back to the beginning of the discussion so we can clearly see what we're talking about.

    Mt 16:19 from a few translations:

    (NIV) "whatever you bind on earth will be[a] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[ b] loosed in heaven." [1]

    [a]Matthew 16:19 Or have been
    [ b]Matthew 16:19 Or have been

    (NAB) "Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." [2]

    (NAS) "whatever * you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever * you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven." [3]

    (Nemesio) "what if you might bind on the land will be having been bound in the heavens, and what if you might loose on the land will be having been loosed in the heavens."

    A few questions:

    (a) Are there any other examples of the use of the past perfect tense in anywhere else (other than Mt 16:19, 18:18 and Jn 20:23) in the Bible? Are there any special implications of this tense in Greek?

    (b) Is the NAS translation provided above a sufficiently honest translation (without being completely un-readable) in your view?

    I'll wait for your response before continuing.

    Cheers,

    LH

    ---
    [1] http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=mt%2016:19&version=31
    [2] http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/matthew/matthew16.htm
    [3] http://bible.crosswalk.com/InterlinearBible/bible.cgi?word=%22shall+have+been%22§ion=0&version=nas&new=1&oq=shall+have+been
  13. London
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    01 Nov '05 12:18
    Originally posted by vistesd
    [b]Nemsio

    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    If the Crucifixion was responsible for the reconciliation of mankind to God, then this reconciliation could not have happened in Time - because there are people who died before Christ who were saved (e.g. Abraham).

    If this were the case, then we would see St Paul saying something
    like ...[text shortened]... here a person wants to
    receive the Eucharist, is not in a state of Grace, and is mortally ill.[/b]
    Nemesio:
    However, the Church asserts a causal link between a priest's forgiveness (through his office and the ministry of the Church) and God's. This is utterly unsupported by any reasonable reading of the original text (both St Matthew's and St John's disparate accounts).


    In other words, you are asserting that the Church teaches that God forgives sins because the priest absolves them, correct?

    Could you cite from the CCC to back this position?
  14. Standard memberNemesio
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    04 Nov '05 01:45
    Bump for my own sake.....
  15. Standard memberNemesio
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    09 Nov '05 21:22
    Finally! Sorry for the delay.

    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    (a) Are there any other examples of the use of the past perfect tense in anywhere else (other than Mt 16:19, 18:18 and Jn 20:23) in the Bible? Are there any special implications of this tense in Greek?

    I don't know the definitive answer to this, but, in my experience
    reading the Greek, I have to say 'no.' I don't know what you mean
    by 'speical implications.' My understanding of language is that the
    goal of any text or speech is to communicate meaning. Both St
    Matthew and St John are carefully written texts, demonstrating great
    theological insight and sensitivity and literary erudition (as opposed,
    e.g., to St Mark which is clumsy and, at times, crude in many spots).
    As such, I have to imagine the fact that the two of them chose a
    rather unusual verb form is a deliberate action signifying a specific
    connotation. When the English versions (all of the ones with which I
    am familiar) smooth it out to a different translation (one which makes
    a causal link explicit), I vociferously object!

    (b) Is the NAS translation provided above a sufficiently honest translation (without being completely un-readable) in your view?

    No. Translation is about transmitting meaning. If you transmit a
    different verb form such that the meaning is changed, you have failed
    as a translator. It's not about 'transliteration' (a word for word account).
    Leave that to the scholarly publications and concordances. It's about
    representing a foreign language's sentiments identically in the new
    language. Sometimes this means adding words, sometimes adding
    clauses (in those languages that lack certain verb forms), sometimes
    it entails using idioms or even vernacular.

    In other words, you are asserting that the Church teaches that God forgives sins because the priest absolves them, correct?

    Could you cite from the CCC to back this position?


    CCC 1424 -- It is called the sacrament of forgiveness, since
    by the priest's sacramental absolution God grants the penitent
    "pardon and peace."


    CCC 1441 -- Only God forgives sins...Further by virtue of his divine
    authority he gives this power to men to exercise in his name.
    (footnote
    reads: cf. Jn 20:21-23 [!!!!!!!])

    CCC 1444 -- In imparting to his apostles his own power to forgive sins
    the Lord also gives them the authority to reconcile sinners wtih the
    Church. This ecclesial dimension of their task is expressed most
    notably in Christ's solemn words to Simon Peter: 'I will give you the
    keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall
    be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed
    in heaven' (footnote reads: Mt 16:19; cf. Mt 18:18; 28:16-20)....

    CCC 1445 -- The words bind and loose mean: whomever
    you exclude from your communion, will be excluded from the
    communion with God; whomever you receive anew into your
    communion, God will welcom back into his. Reconciliation with the
    Church is inseperable from reconciliation with God
    .

    (End quotations from selections of the Catechism.)

    This is pretty clear, Lucifershammer: If the priest doesn't, God
    consequently doesn't. This has no basis[/i] in the Scripture
    texts which are explicit that if a priest (to simplify our discussion, I
    am accepting the transferrance of power from St Peter onwards) looses
    or binds something, it is as a consequence correspondingly
    loosed or bound in heaven. The Church, furthermore, says that by
    sinning and breeching with the Church one [b]must be reconciled with
    the Church by means of this Sacrament
    in order to be in
    Communion with God. This is, of course, supported by the incorrect
    translation. But it is not supported by the correct one, wherein the
    priest affirms God's position (of either bound or loosed), but does
    not effect it, and, as such, does not make the Sacrament a necessity
    but a means of confirmation God's stance.

    Nemesio
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