The Confutatio Pontificia:

In Reference to the Matters Presented To His Imperial Majesty by the Elector Of Saxony and Some Princes and States of the Holy Roman Empire, On the Subject and Concerning Causes Pertaining to the Christian Orthodox Faith, the Following Christian Reply Can Be Given

August 3, 1530

Edited by J. M. Reu.
Published in
The Augsburg Confession, A Collection of Sources
Ft. Wayne, IN: Concordia Theological Seminary Press),
pp. 349-383.

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To Article XI

[cf. Augsburg Confession]

The eleventh article their acknowledgment that private absolution with confession should be retained in the Church is accepted as catholic and in harmony with our faith, because absolution is supported by the word of Christ. For Christ says to his apostles, John 20:23: "Whosoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them."

Nevertheless, two things must here be required of them: one, that they compel an annual confession to be observed by their subjects, according to the constitution, canon Omnis Utriusque, concerning penance and remission and the custom of the Church universal.

Another that through their preachers they cause their subjects to be faithfully admonished when they are about to confess that although they cannot state all their sins individually, nevertheless, a diligent examination of their conscience being made, they make an entire confession of their offences - viz. of all which occur to their memory in such investigation. But in regard to the rest that have been forgotten and have escaped our mind it is lawful to make a general confession, and to say with the Psalmist, Ps. 19:17: "Cleanse me, Lord, from secret faults."

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Rev. Robert E. Smith
Walther Library
Concordia Theological Seminary.

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