The Catholic Church says that Jesus gave the power to forgive sins to the priests and bishops. Contrary to his teachings about forgiveness being always available, Jesus supposedly gave them the power to keep people in their sins by retaining them. Retaining is an act. "I retain you in your sins". It is not a passive thing.

Anyway the Catholic Church thinks it means it can reserve or restrict forgiveness.

A reserved sin is a sin that a priest cannot forgive, you have to go to the bishop or even the pope. If the priest absolves anyway the absolution won’t work.

The Church says that if you go to an apostle or bishop for absolution you are going to be saying you are sorry whether you mean it or not so retaining sins in John 20:23 must mean more than just refusing absolution to the impenitent and must mean reserving sins.

There can be no doubt that if John 20:23 authorises the evil Catholic practice of retaining sins as reserved or having reserved sins then the Gospel should be excised from the New Testament.

The Church says that when Jesus said the apostles retain sins he wanted the bishop to reserve some sins to himself that nobody but a bishop could absolve and the pope reserves the sin of defiling the Holy Eucharist by tramping on the host deliberately and that to himself so only he can forgive it. This practice is wholly evil and contradicts the gospels where Jesus keeps saying come to me now and don’t delay.

In Ireland, the sin of poteen making used to be a reserved sin. In those days, men who committed this sin had to make the laborious, treacherous and expensive journey to be absolved by the bishop and the bishop was not an easy man to meet. I’m sure people were shot by highwaymen because of this and went to Hell. It is a vicious and distorted mentality that sees the likes of this as discipline! Keeping people in sin is not helping them or disciplining them. Discipline is about changing a person for the better as soon as possible and is as valuable if it lasts ten seconds or ten minutes as long as it has an effect.

The Bible says that Jesus told the disciples that if they forgive anybody’s sins they are forgiven and if they make anybody stay in their sins they will stay in them. That seems to defend the Catholic doctrine that Jesus gave priests and bishops the power to forgive sins. But Catholics deny they have the power to make a person stay unforgiven. A priest can refuse to forgive, but that cannot be equated with trying to keep a person in their sins. Thus the Catholics do not use Jesus to defend their doctrine - they manipulate him.   


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