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Lecture 4

POLI 2403 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Spiritual Direction, Grace (Style), Retributive Justice

Political Science
Course Code
POLI 2403

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7. February 2017
(first portion of the class was watching flips of the film Don Jon
“Car wash” confession -- same confession, same penance time after time with no real
effort on the part of the priest to engage the penitent in a discussion that could lead to
Potential questions that could get out of the rut:
“What would you like to change in the next 2 months?” -- 2 days / weeks too
short for real change; more than 2 months is too nebulous for most people
“What could you realistically change in 2 months?”
Historical Development of the Sacrament -- Bretzke’s notes in Pages -> Study Guides ->
Bretzke’s Notes on History & Theology of Sacrament of Reconciliation
Broad overview:
Developed over time
Their understanding (the penitent’s) is a snapshot of one moment in time, but
there are other models -- so if you get someone stuck with one vision, you could
explain the progression and potentially move them into a “healthier” vision that
could foster conversion
Useful when someone has been away a long time & feels doubly guilty
Not going is not a sin!!!!
Reassure that the early model was once a lifetime, so between once a
lifetime and weekly is within acceptable norms
Came out of baptism, where a person’s sins were forgiven and they were born
At the start, once a lifetime and only for serious sin -> public confession and
penance -> penance was long (months to longer?) -> community would then
ritually go out to welcome the penitent who usually was sitting at the door or
outside in specific clothing back into the assembly
Next step: spiritual direction developed in Ireland
People would confess to their director not only the big sins but also the
smaller ones
Development of penitentials
Retributive justice on an economic model → tarif penances
Confessor: judge + jury + enforcer
pre-Vat II:
Long lines on Saturday afternoon so that people could receive
communion Sunday morning
Still true in parts of the world (though none that Bretzke has experience
of), but rumors of it in Kenya (and somewhere else I missed…)
Vat II:
Turn to sources of faith → biblical models as the soul of faith & model
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