Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Anglican teaching on Confession and Absolution, per the 1662 Book of Common Prayer

From Morning Prayer:
"ALMIGHTY God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he may turn from his wickedness, and live; and hath given power, and commandment, to his Ministers, to declare and pronounce to his people, being penitent, the Absolution and Remission of their sins : He pardoneth and absolveth all them that truly repent, and unfeignedly believe his holy Gospel. Wherefore let us beseech him to grant us true repentance, and his Holy Spirit, that those things may please him, which we do at this present; and that the rest of our life hereafter may be pure, and holy; so that at the last we may come to his eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen"

From the Holy Communion:
"And because it is requisite, that no man should come to the holy Communion, but with a full trust in God's mercy, and with a quiet conscience; therefore if there be any of you, who by this means cannot quiet his own conscience herein, but requireth further comfort or counsel, let him come to me, or to some other discreet and learned Minister of God's Word, and open his grief; that by the ministry of God's holy Word he may receive the benefit of Absolution, together with ghostly counsel and advice, to the quieting of his conscience, and avoiding of all scruple and doubtfulness."

From the Visitation of the Sick:
"Here shall the sick person be moved to make a special confession of his sins, if he feel his conscience troubled with any weighty matter. After which confession, the Priest shall absolve him (if he humbly and heartily desire it) after this sort:

OUR Lord Jesus Christ, who hath left power to his Church to absolve all sinners who truly repent and believe in him, of his great mercy forgive thee thine offences: And by his authority committed to me, I absolve thee from all thy sins, In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. "

From the Holy Communion:

Then shall this general Confession be made, in the name of all those that are minded to receive the holy Communion, by one of the Ministers; both he and all the people kneeling humbly upon their knees, and saying,

ALMIGHTY God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, And are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ's sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Then shall the Priest (or the Bishop, being present,) standing up, and turning himself to the people, pronounce this Absolution.

ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, who of his great mercy hath promised forgiveness of sins to all them that with hearty repentance and true faith turn unto him; Have mercy upon you; pardon and deliver you from all your sins; confirm and strengthen you in all goodness; and bring you to everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."


Bud said...

With such a simple and biblical doctrine and practice of Confession, it never ceases to amaze me how many people want to uproot what we have and replace it with something else. Hard-core Evangelicals want to do away with opportunities for private confession, thereby cutting people off from a source of council, comfort and absolution. Extreme Anglo-Catholics (read: semi-Roman) want to replace this gentle approach to voluntary confession with the rigours of Tridentine enforced penance. (sigh) Why can't anyone be satisfied with the simple, biblical approach of the Prayer Book?

Rev. Dr. Hassert said...

Amen. I agree with this approach as well--"Biblical Catholicism."


Rev. Dr. Hassert said...

An an addendum, I've posted this to illustrate that while Anglicans, per the BCP catechism, so indeed hold to "two Sacraments as generally necessary to salvation" (to be had by all men, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord) the Prayer Book contains forms for all of the other "lesser" or "commonly called" Sacraments. Per the Homilies of the Church of England, the term Sacrament can be used to describe anything that conveys the holy. However, only Baptism and the Holy Eucharist are commanded to be had by all Christians. Here I am happy to adopt the distinction of Two Dominical Sacraments and Five Ecclesiastical Sacraments.

J. Gordon Anderson said...

It would be interesting to see if the inclusion of the "Rite of Reconciliation" in the 1979 BCP did anything to encourgae more frequent use of this wonderful sacrament. I suspect it probably did not. My experience has been that priests need to regularly encourage its use from the pulpit for people to avail themselves of it. So if a a preist isn't preaching about it, people are not going to use it... even if it has a rite in a BCP.