Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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Does the Holy Spirit come into the heart of the confession father during the sacrament of confession to:

  1. Prevent him from saying or making ANY mistakes?

  2. Prepare him to receive the confession, and guide him to give the right instructions only?

Choosing your spiritual and confessor father is a critical decision in your spiritual life. Cooperative learning is better than a passive one, and humble compliance, which is accompanied by understanding, needs to be differentiated from reactive and emotional blind conformity. The role of the Holy Spirit is manifold: Comforter, Guide, Defender, and the Spirit of Truth. The Holy Spirit, through the priest, guides the confessor. All of the holy sacraments are officiated and confirmed by the priest with or without his righteousness. Therefore, a sinner is absolved by the authority of priesthood, and his confession is accepted because of his contrite heart, faith, and sincerity. Thus, the priest and penitent form a relationship, whereby the priest disciples the confessor, and establishes a path to help guide the remorseful sinner to his eternal life, "lead us throughout the way into Your kingdom". If at anytime, the confessor becomes uncomfortable with the direction his confessor father is taking him or the relationship becomes strained; he is responsible to discuss the situation with his current confessor or spiritual father, seek an alternate confessor father, or request the advice of the presiding bishop. In the tradition of our church, not every priest was granted the responsibility of hearing confessions (Paradise of the Spirit). As we ask our priests to pray for us, we ought also to pray for them, that our merciful God will bestow wisdom upon them so that they may guide us to the sound faith and acceptable worship.     
"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual" (1 Corinthians 2:12,13).
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