I am reminded of a quote from the ever-quotable Fr. Kenneth Korby, who now rests in Jesus:"If it is wicked to remove private Absolution from the churches, it is also equally wicked not to restore it where it has been removed."Hopefully, one day soon we will have joy of Fr. Korby's writings, which are currently in the hands of Pr. Peter Bender.
Pastor Weedon,I appreciate this post very much because I think it is very commendable that the Missouri Synod retains private confession and absolution. I know that for the time I was a member of an ELCA congregation one never heard a word about it, even though it was "on the books".It is something I have come to appreciate as a Catholic because that was my first exposure to private confession and absolution. Luther was wise to retain it.
I always have been in awe that our fathers would call it "Private Absolution" rather then what we typically call it today "Private Confession and Absolution".What I liked was the emphasis on absolution.The church that does not recognize sin, also doesn't recognize the need for private absolution and therefore struggles with faithfully being Christian.
Private confession is still practiced in the ELCA, but as it is with many denominations, even LCMS, many don't know it because it isn't widely practiced. I was a member of the LCMS for over thirty years and never heard a pastor offer such. Perhaps because it is as the name suggests...private.I woud love to hear more about private confession and absolution within the Lutheran community.
David,At my parish, private absolution is offered before the Saturday Divine Service from 5 to 5:30. Additionally, it is available by appointment. We have a number of folk who receive this holy gift regularly. It is worth noting that its normative character is witnessed by the fact that orders for private confession and absolution have appeared in the last two official service books of both ELCA and LCMS. While its use in the LCMS still is not wide-spread by any means, I would not be surprised if more North American Lutherans are availing themselves of it at the present than at any time in the past.
One of the things that saddens me is that more LCMS churches do not offer a regular time for private absolution. Why do some Pastors think that if they offered a regular time for private absolution that would be binding people's consciences?
Steven,Did a pastor actually say that? If so, shame on him! There's absolutely zero "binding of conscience" by offering private absolution at a set time.The reason, I suspect, so few pastors offer it, is that a great many pastors do not practice it. It's hard to recommend something you've not done before yourself. A great pity, that.
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