CATECHISM AND ORDER OF PRIVATE CONFESSION UNTO THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY ABSOLUTION
Why do I address my pastor as Rev. Fr.?
The appellation “Father” is of ancient and catholic custom in the church, whether in the Orthodox, the Roman, the Anglican, or the Lutheran communions. As Elisha called Elijah “father” (2 Kings 2:12), so Melanchthon references Luther in his funeral sermon. More specifically “Father” is descriptive of your relation toward your pastor. As Christ’s minister of word and sacrament in the congregation, the Pastor is your spiritual father and responsible to God as such. The Pastoral Office continues the church’s Apostolic Office which is Christ’s Office by which he is present with his people in word and sacrament. St. Paul refers to himself as “father” begetting the congregation of Corinth “through the gospel” (1 Cor. 4:15) (cf. Philemon v. 10). Such is the power of the Word (cf. parable of the Sower, Mt. 13) which the Pastor is called to preach and to teach. The Pastor of a congregation is also obligated in the fatherly responsibility of protecting the congregation by preserving the church’s orthodox doctrine against all external heresy. Thus pastors are traditionally called “Father”.
Does Jesus forbid calling pastors, “father” (Mt. 23:8-10)?
Why doesn’t my Fr. Confessor first greet me?
Is there more to this “proceed” than merely to continue talking?
Penitent: I am a poor sinner and confess before God that I am guilty of all sins; especially in the station God has placed me as (husband/wife, father/mother, child, employer/employee, Christian brother/sister, etc.).
My sins which especially burden me are:
I am sorry for all my sins.
I am without excuse.
I pray for Grace.
I want to do better.
What does it mean to be a “poor” sinner?
What does it mean that “I am guilty of all sins”?
Is a general confession of sin (not mentioning specific sins) appropriate to private confession?
Confessor: God be merciful to you and strengthen your faith. Do you believe that my forgiveness is God’s forgiveness?
Must I believe that my Fr. Confessor forgives me?
Confessor: As you believe, so be it done unto you. By the command of our Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all of your sins, in the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Ghost. Go in peace.
Will the Fr. Confessor speak further with me?