Author Topic: 2 questions on contrition  (Read 525 times)

Offline Iamchristian

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2 questions on contrition
« on: September 20, 2020, 09:55:32 AM »
I have heard a lot about how perfect contrition can give you forgiveness outside of the Sacrament of Confession. Do any of the official writings of the Church state this?

I have heard that in the Sacrament of Confession you can even be forgiven if you only have imperfect contrition. To me this seems to say that this Sacrament does not require a lot from the penitent. It's like there is some magic going on. I have always thought that this Sacrament helped people have perfect contrition. That would be the real reason why this Sacrament helped people Confess and be forgiven. What does the official teaching of the Church say about this?
 

Offline Maximilian

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Re: 2 questions on contrition
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2020, 11:48:48 AM »

https://www.catholicity.com/baltimore-catechism/lesson30.html

Contrition
Lesson 30 from the Baltimore Cathechism

388. What is contrition?
Contrition is sincere sorrow for having offended God, and hatred for the sins we have committed, with a firm purpose of sinning no more.

Let the wicked man forsake his way and the unjust man his thoughts, and let him return to the Lord; and he will have mercy on him. (Isaiah 55:7)

389. Will God forgive us any sin unless we have true contrition for it?
God will not forgive us any sin, whether mortal or venial, unless we have true contrition for it.

Now therefore saith the Lord: "Be converted to me with all your heart, in fasting and in weeping and in mourning. And rend your hearts and not your garments. (Joel 2:12-13)

390. When is sorrow for sin true contrition?
Sorrow for sin is true contrition when it is interior, supernatural supreme, and universal.

Create a pure heart for me, O God, and renew in me a steadfast spirit. (Psalm 50:12)

391. When is our sorrow interior?
Our sorrow is interior when it comes from our heart, and not merely from our lips.

My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a contrite and humbled heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. (Psalm 50:19)

392. When is our sorrow supernatural?
Our sorrow is supernatural when, with the help of God's grace, it arises from motives which spring from faith and not merely from natural motives.

393. When is our sorrow supreme?
Our sorrow is supreme when we hate sin above every other evil, and are willing to endure any suffering rather than offend God in the future by sin.

394. When is our sorrow universal?
Our sorrow is universal when we are sorry for every mortal sin which we may have had the misfortune to commit.

Turn thy face away from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. (Psalm 50:11)

395. Should we always try to have sorrow for all our venial sins when receiving the sacrament of Penance?
We should try to have sorrow for all our venial sins when receiving the sacrament of Penance, and, when we have only venial sins to confess, we must have sorrow for at least one of them or for some sin of our past life which we confess.

396. Why should we have contrition for mortal sin?
We should have contrition for mortal sin because it is the greatest of all evils, gravely offends God, keeps us out of heaven, and condemns us forever to hell.

If anyone does not abide in me, he shall be cast outside as the branch and wither; and they shall gather them up and cast them into the fire, and they shall burn. (John 15:6)

397. Why should we have contrition for venial sin?
We should have contrition for venial sin because it is displeasing to God, merits temporal punishment, and may lead to mortal sin.

398. How many kinds of contrition are there?
There are two kinds of contrition: perfect contrition and imperfect contrition.

399. When is our contrition perfect?
Our contrition is perfect when we are sorry for our sins because sin offends God, whom we love above all things for His own sake.

Create a pure heart for me, O God, and renew in me a steadfast spirit. (Psalm 50:12)

400. When is our contrition imperfect?
Our contrition is imperfect when we are sorry for our sins because they are hateful in themselves or because we fear God's punishment.

And the children of Israel said to the Lord, "We have sinned. Do thou unto us whatsoever pleaseth thee, only deliver us this time." (Judges 10:15)

401. To receive the sacrament of Penance worthily, what kind of contrition is sufficient?
To receive the sacrament of Penance worthily, imperfect contrition is sufficient.

402. Should we always try to have perfect contrition in the sacrament of Penance?
We should always try to have perfect contrition in the sacrament of Penance because perfect contrition is more pleasing to God, and because with His help we can always have it.

403. How can a person in mortal sin regain the state of grace before receiving the sacrament of Penance?
A person in mortal sin can regain the state of grace before receiving the sacrament of Penance by making an act of perfect contrition with the sincere purpose of going to confession.

404. What should we do if we have the misfortune to commit a mortal sin?
If we have the misfortune to commit a mortal sin, we should ask God's pardon and grace at once, make an act of perfect contrition, and go to confession as soon as we can.

Is it my will that a sinner should die, saith the Lord God, and not that he should be converted from his ways and live? (Ezekiel 18:23)

405. May we receive Holy Communion after committing a mortal sin if we merely make an act of perfect contrition?
We may not receive Holy Communion after committing a mortal sin if we merely make an act of perfect contrition; one who has sinned grievously must go to confession before receiving Holy Communion.

Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. (I Corinthians 11:27)

406. What is the firm purpose of sinning no more?
The firm purpose of sinning no more is the sincere resolve not only to avoid sin but to avoid as far as possible the near occasions of sin.

Go thy way, and from now on sin no more. (John 8:11)

407. What purpose of amendment must a person have if he has only venial sins to confess?
If a person has only venial sins to confess, he must have the purpose of avoiding at least one of them.
 
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Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: 2 questions on contrition
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2020, 12:34:32 PM »
The Sacrament of Penance does give the penitent the grace of Perfect Contrition; but it remits sins without this Perfect Contrition, and gives the penitent the grace to avoid falling into sin again. Every good Confession apart from the forgiveness of sins, gives us an increase in Sanctifying Grace. 
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers
 

Offline Maximilian

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Re: 2 questions on contrition
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2020, 12:58:14 PM »
The Sacrament of Penance does give the penitent the grace of Perfect Contrition; but it remits sins without this Perfect Contrition,

It looks like there may be a typo in there.
 

Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: 2 questions on contrition
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2020, 01:02:45 PM »
The Sacrament of Penance does give the penitent the grace of Perfect Contrition; but it remits sins without this Perfect Contrition,

It looks like there may be a typo in there.
Yes, I wasn't very clear;  meant to say that the Sacrament of Penance gives the penitent the grace to attain Perfect contrition (but that doesn't mean that the penitent always attains it); but sins are remitted in the sacrament even with imperfect contrition.
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers
 

Offline Philip G.

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Re: 2 questions on contrition
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2020, 08:56:16 PM »
Pope aleander viii "errors of the jansenists" dz 1299 - "In truth he sins who hates sin merely because of its vileness and its inconsistency with nature, without any reference to the offense to God. 

Pope innocent xi "errors on various moral subjects" - dz 1207 - "It is probable that natural but honest imperfect sorrow for sins suffices".
C
The priest is inseparable from the ultimate end of contrition perfect and imperfect, which is Holy Communion. 
For the stone shall cry out of the wall; and the timber that is between the joints of the building, shall answer.  Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and prepareth a city by iniquity. - Habacuc 2,11-12
 

Offline Iamchristian

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Re: 2 questions on contrition
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2020, 03:58:32 AM »
I think my thoughts go like this:
If you say that imperfect contrition is ok in the Sacrament you say this: Two people die. Both die with imperfect contrition. One of them is Catholic and confessed to his Priest. The other is not religious and did not confess. The Catholic went to purgatory and the other person went to hell. This is, in my opinion, really sick Theology. Is really what the Church teaches? If this is so then I cannot become a Catholic (ie. I cannot convert if this is true or I will have to accept this teaching)
I cannot see how faithful Catholics would need less contrition in order to go to Heaven through purgatory. How can this be? Is this even true?


"388. What is contrition?
Contrition is sincere sorrow for having offended God, and hatred for the sins we have committed, with a firm purpose of sinning no more."
but 398 mentions imperfect contrition which is according to the CCC a sorrow that sins have consequences. The CCC says that in COnfession just wanting to avoid consequences is enough to recieve forgiveness. Is that really true?
« Last Edit: September 21, 2020, 04:08:31 AM by Iamchristian »
 

Offline truly-a-philosofan

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Re: 2 questions on contrition
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2020, 07:12:45 AM »
I think my thoughts go like this:
If you say that imperfect contrition is ok in the Sacrament you say this: Two people die. Both die with imperfect contrition. One of them is Catholic and confessed to his Priest. The other is not religious and did not confess. The Catholic went to purgatory and the other person went to hell. This is, in my opinion, really sick Theology. Is really what the Church teaches? If this is so then I cannot become a Catholic (ie. I cannot convert if this is true or I will have to accept this teaching)
I cannot see how faithful Catholics would need less contrition in order to go to Heaven through purgatory. How can this be? Is this even true?


"388. What is contrition?
Contrition is sincere sorrow for having offended God, and hatred for the sins we have committed, with a firm purpose of sinning no more."
but 398 mentions imperfect contrition which is according to the CCC a sorrow that sins have consequences. The CCC says that in COnfession just wanting to avoid consequences is enough to recieve forgiveness. Is that really true?

God doesn’t owe us salvation. So yeah, a Catholic with an attrition and the sacrament will go to heaven whereas a non-Catholic with only an attrition will not.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2020, 07:47:19 AM by truly-a-philosofan »
For the evil of the soul, its own will takes the initiative; but for its good, the will of its Creator makes the first move; whether to make the soul which did not yet exist, or to recreate it when it had perished through its fall.

St. Augustine, City of God XIII:15
 

Offline Daniel

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Re: 2 questions on contrition
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2020, 08:31:07 AM »
I think my thoughts go like this:
If you say that imperfect contrition is ok in the Sacrament you say this: Two people die. Both die with imperfect contrition. One of them is Catholic and confessed to his Priest. The other is not religious and did not confess. The Catholic went to purgatory and the other person went to hell. This is, in my opinion, really sick Theology. Is really what the Church teaches? If this is so then I cannot become a Catholic (ie. I cannot convert if this is true or I will have to accept this teaching)
I cannot see how faithful Catholics would need less contrition in order to go to Heaven through purgatory. How can this be? Is this even true?


"388. What is contrition?
Contrition is sincere sorrow for having offended God, and hatred for the sins we have committed, with a firm purpose of sinning no more."
but 398 mentions imperfect contrition which is according to the CCC a sorrow that sins have consequences. The CCC says that in COnfession just wanting to avoid consequences is enough to recieve forgiveness. Is that really true?

Just to be clear, even "wanting to avoid consequences" is not always enough. Because we need to distinguish temporal consequences from eternal consequences. If you regret having committed e.g. murder solely because you are afraid of going to jail, this isn't contrition at all. If, however, you regret having committed murder because you are afraid of going to hell, then it's (imperfect) contrition.

But to answer your question, yes, it's true. But it's not so much a matter of contrition, but more of a matter of sanctifying grace. Nobody can go to heaven without sanctifying grace. And sanctifying grace is "grace", meaning, it's a gift from God that we cannot earn, regardless of our contrition. God ordinarily gives this grace only through the sacraments of Baptism and Confession. (That's just the way that God chose to do it; don't ask why.) So anybody who confesses his sins to a priest is guaranteed to leave the confessional with sanctifying grace, so long as the Confession was valid.... and imperfect confession does not invalidate the sacrament. So the person who has only imperfect contrition, and confesses to the priest, and dies afterwards, dies with sanctifying grace, and thereby goes to heaven (or, more probably, to purgatory). As for the person who dies with only imperfect confession, without confession: he never receives sanctifying grace, so he goes to hell. It's not the imperfect contrition that saves, but it's the sanctifying grace that saves. (Also note: the sanctifying grace is transformative. The two persons start out in the same position, but, after the confession, they are no longer in the same position. The one who went to Confession really has become holier.)

I am actually not sure why the Catechism teaches that perfect contrition is a means of attaining sanctifying grace. Not that I'm denying it... I'm just not sure where this idea comes from.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2020, 08:45:51 AM by Daniel »
 
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Offline Maximilian

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Re: 2 questions on contrition
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2020, 10:06:25 AM »
Earlier on the thread I posted the whole section on Contrition, which may have buried the part that answers the O.P. as well as some of the side debates occurring.

Here is just the most relevant part:

389. Will God forgive us any sin unless we have true contrition for it?
God will NOT forgive us any sin, whether mortal or venial, unless we have true contrition for it.

390. When is sorrow for sin true contrition?
Sorrow for sin is true contrition when it is:
 - interior,
 - supernatural
 - supreme, and
 - universal.

391. When is our sorrow interior?
Our sorrow is interior when it comes from our heart, and not merely from our lips.

392. When is our sorrow supernatural?
Our sorrow is supernatural when, with the help of God's grace, it arises from motives which spring from faith and not merely from natural motives.

393. When is our sorrow supreme?
Our sorrow is supreme when we hate sin above every other evil, and are willing to endure any suffering rather than offend God in the future by sin.

394. When is our sorrow universal?
Our sorrow is universal when we are sorry for every mortal sin which we may have had the misfortune to commit.
 
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Offline Maximilian

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Re: 2 questions on contrition
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2020, 10:49:14 AM »
I think my thoughts go like this:
If you say that imperfect contrition is ok in the Sacrament you say this: Two people die. Both die with imperfect contrition.

I think the word "imperfect" has deceived you. "Imperfect" simply means not yet complete. But it still has to be "true contrition" which is:
 - Interior
 - Supernatural
 - Supreme
 - Universal.

So the imperfect contrition of a practicing Catholic is still a marvelous, miraculous thing. It is unlikely that some random pagan can achieve the same thing.

One of them is Catholic and confessed to his Priest.

Stop right there. This is enormous. This is the difference between spiritual life and spiritual death.

The other is not religious and did not confess.

Mistake. Huge mistake. Fatal error.

Your example is just like saying, "Two men were in a car accident and were severely injured. One went to the doctor and was healed, and he lived. The other man did not believe in medicine' so he did not go to a doctor, he was not healed, and he died. I think this is unfair. God should have made the world differently such that neither man died."

The Catholic went to purgatory and the other person went to hell. This is, in my opinion, really sick Theology.

Here is the root of the problem: "My opinion." You are completely ignorant, malformed in the Faith, and yet you believe you are entitled to "My opinion." You think it is your right to judge God. Your only hope of salvation lies in suppressing that evil instinct.

Is really what the Church teaches? If this is so then I cannot become a Catholic (ie. I cannot convert if this is true or I will have to accept this teaching)

Don't make the mistake of thinking that you are doing anyone any favors by joining the Catholic Church. You are standing on the brink of hell with need of someone to throw you a rope. Who are you to judge and criticize the quality of the rope?

It's just like someone from the Titanic who is clinging onto a scrap of refuse in the cold waters of the North Atlantic when a lifeboat comes by to pick him up, but first he demands to examine it for cleanliness, check the safety certificate to see if it is up to date, interview the other occupants to decide whether he likes them or not, etc.

I cannot see how faithful Catholics would need less contrition in order to go to Heaven through purgatory.

Why should those who go to a hospital and are cured need less health than someone else who dies by the side of the road? The Catholic priest is the doctor of the soul. Those who do not avail themselves of his assistance do not receive his life-saving aid.
 
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Offline Iamchristian

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Re: 2 questions on contrition
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2020, 03:40:18 PM »
I think my thoughts go like this:
If you say that imperfect contrition is ok in the Sacrament you say this: Two people die. Both die with imperfect contrition. One of them is Catholic and confessed to his Priest. The other is not religious and did not confess. The Catholic went to purgatory and the other person went to hell. This is, in my opinion, really sick Theology. Is really what the Church teaches? If this is so then I cannot become a Catholic (ie. I cannot convert if this is true or I will have to accept this teaching)
I cannot see how faithful Catholics would need less contrition in order to go to Heaven through purgatory. How can this be? Is this even true?


"388. What is contrition?
Contrition is sincere sorrow for having offended God, and hatred for the sins we have committed, with a firm purpose of sinning no more."
but 398 mentions imperfect contrition which is according to the CCC a sorrow that sins have consequences. The CCC says that in COnfession just wanting to avoid consequences is enough to recieve forgiveness. Is that really true?

Just to be clear, even "wanting to avoid consequences" is not always enough. Because we need to distinguish temporal consequences from eternal consequences. If you regret having committed e.g. murder solely because you are afraid of going to jail, this isn't contrition at all. If, however, you regret having committed murder because you are afraid of going to hell, then it's (imperfect) contrition.

But to answer your question, yes, it's true. But it's not so much a matter of contrition, but more of a matter of sanctifying grace. Nobody can go to heaven without sanctifying grace. And sanctifying grace is "grace", meaning, it's a gift from God that we cannot earn, regardless of our contrition. God ordinarily gives this grace only through the sacraments of Baptism and Confession. (That's just the way that God chose to do it; don't ask why.) So anybody who confesses his sins to a priest is guaranteed to leave the confessional with sanctifying grace, so long as the Confession was valid.... and imperfect confession does not invalidate the sacrament. So the person who has only imperfect contrition, and confesses to the priest, and dies afterwards, dies with sanctifying grace, and thereby goes to heaven (or, more probably, to purgatory). As for the person who dies with only imperfect confession, without confession: he never receives sanctifying grace, so he goes to hell. It's not the imperfect contrition that saves, but it's the sanctifying grace that saves. (Also note: the sanctifying grace is transformative. The two persons start out in the same position, but, after the confession, they are no longer in the same position. The one who went to Confession really has become holier.)

I am actually not sure why the Catechism teaches that perfect contrition is a means of attaining sanctifying grace. Not that I'm denying it... I'm just not sure where this idea comes from.
that's a good explanation. I kinda like it. People have never talked about it that way.
So we should never focus on our contrition but on God's Sactifying Grace? And if I understand it correctly even a non-Catholic can recieve sanctifying grace on a death bed, right? We do not know who goes to Hell and who goes to Heaven.
And are there really people who only have attrition without even some for om perfect contrition? It's not either or, right? You can have both at the same time if I am told correctly. no person, unless a saint I guess, have 100% perfect contrition.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2020, 03:45:10 PM by Iamchristian »
 

Offline Daniel

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Re: 2 questions on contrition
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2020, 04:33:27 PM »
that's a good explanation. I kinda like it. People have never talked about it that way.
So we should never focus on our contrition but on God's Sactifying Grace? And if I understand it correctly even a non-Catholic can recieve sanctifying grace on a death bed, right? We do not know who goes to Hell and who goes to Heaven.
And are there really people who only have attrition without even some for om perfect contrition? It's not either or, right? You can have both at the same time if I am told correctly. no person, unless a saint I guess, have 100% perfect contrition.

I didn't say we shouldn't focus on contrition. We should. All I was saying is that whether or not a person is saved ultimately depends on whether or not he has sanctifying grace. (But yes, we need contrition. Contrition is what disposes us to receive sanctifying grace. If you don't have contrition then you won't be able to receive sanctifying grace, and you will not be saved.)

I believe that we can have imperfect and perfect contrition at the same time, but I am not entirely sure. I think perfect contrition is extremely rare though, so maybe you can't.

As for a non-Catholic receiving sanctifying grace on his deathbed, no. But a non-Catholic can receive the grace of conversion on his deathbed. Conversion to the Catholic faith is necessary in order to be saved.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2020, 04:39:51 PM by Daniel »
 

Offline Iamchristian

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Re: 2 questions on contrition
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2020, 04:27:03 AM »
that's a good explanation. I kinda like it. People have never talked about it that way.
So we should never focus on our contrition but on God's Sactifying Grace? And if I understand it correctly even a non-Catholic can recieve sanctifying grace on a death bed, right? We do not know who goes to Hell and who goes to Heaven.
And are there really people who only have attrition without even some for om perfect contrition? It's not either or, right? You can have both at the same time if I am told correctly. no person, unless a saint I guess, have 100% perfect contrition.

I didn't say we shouldn't focus on contrition. We should. All I was saying is that whether or not a person is saved ultimately depends on whether or not he has sanctifying grace. (But yes, we need contrition. Contrition is what disposes us to receive sanctifying grace. If you don't have contrition then you won't be able to receive sanctifying grace, and you will not be saved.)

I believe that we can have imperfect and perfect contrition at the same time, but I am not entirely sure. I think perfect contrition is extremely rare though, so maybe you can't.

As for a non-Catholic receiving sanctifying grace on his deathbed, no. But a non-Catholic can receive the grace of conversion on his deathbed. Conversion to the Catholic faith is necessary in order to be saved.
Are you saying that one must have the cognitive faith in order to be saved?I have heard that the Church never taught that. Did the COuncil of Trent teach that?
 

Offline Daniel

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Re: 2 questions on contrition
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2020, 09:21:42 AM »
Are you saying that one must have the cognitive faith in order to be saved?I have heard that the Church never taught that. Did the COuncil of Trent teach that?

I don't know; I'm not familiar with the Council of Trent. Perhaps somebody more knowledgeable can answer this.

But what the Church teaches is that there's "no salvation outside the Church". Theologians debate what this entails exactly, but it certainly doesn't entail that "non-Catholics can be saved through membership in the Church without conversion" as the modernists want everyone to believe. None of the Fathers have ever taught this. It is a lie concocted by the devil, and popularized through obstinacy and human respect. People don't like to be wrong, and people don't like to tell other people that they're wrong, so instead of acknowledging the need of conversion they try to excuse themselves, saying that conversion isn't necessary and that they can believe whatever they want and still be saved.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2020, 09:46:08 PM by Daniel »
 
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