Q. 1. What is the Catholic Church position on the matter of "Generational sin?" There are priests who support this belief and offer liturgical services to free Catholics from the "generational sin."
A. 1. "Generational Sin/Healing" promotes the belief that there is a necessity to heal the family tree based on the alleged "too many cases" where recurring problems such as divorce, alcoholism, financial problems, accidents, run in families. When a person dies, it is believed that his/her spirits who caused such problems or natural spiritual tendencies or inclinations are passed on to the descendants. In other words, it is believed that children are adversely affected by the sins of their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, who were also affected by the sins of their ancestors.
In support of this belief, reference is frequently made to the Book of Exodus where it states:
"The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children and the children's children, to the third and fourth generation." [Ex. 34:6-7]"
There is nothing in Catholic teachings to support "Generational Sin/Healing." In fact, there is plenty to support that this belief is nothing more than a "wishful magic formula" that inter-mingles Catholic Church Liturgy such as the Holy Mass and the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist to give credibility to its movement. In its process, "Generational Sin/Healing" rejects the Catholic teachings regarding the Sacraments of Baptism and Confession. Allow me to explain!
During the Sacrament of Baptism of an infant, the priest says two prayers of Exorcism. During the first prayer, after the reading of the Gospel, the Priest commands any impure spirits who might be present to depart from the person to be baptized. This process is to purify the physical body of the believer. The second prayer of Exorcism is called "Ephpheta." (Ephpheta means 'Be opened') After the prayer, the Priest touches the ears and mouth of the infant with his thumb. He then says, "The Lord Jesus made the deaf hear and the dumb speak. May He soon touch your ears to receive His Word, and your mouth to proclaim His faith, to the praise and glory of God the Father."
Catholic doctrine further teaches that until such time as the infant has reached the age of reason (8), he/she is a new creation and in an immaculate state. Should he/she die before reaching the age of reason, he/she would immediately go to Heaven because of the immaculate state.
If we are to accept that "Generational Sin/Healing" is necessary because the evil spirits of the ancestors are passed on to their descendants, then we must reject the Sacrament of Baptism as administered in the Catholic Church. We must reject the claimed power of the Exorcisms that take place during the Sacrament of Baptism. Either the baptized believer is freed from all evil spirits, be they "generational" or not, through the administered Exorcisms during the Sacrament of Baptism or he is not! Both beliefs cannot be true and upheld by the same person because they oppose one another, "Generational Sin/Healing" opposes the Sacrament of Baptism!
To accept "Generational Sin/Healing" as being truthful, it is a claim that man does not enjoy a free will. If a person is possessed by evil spirits because of the sins of his ancestors, logically, he cannot be held accountable for the actions of his sinful nature. In other words, "the devil made him do it."
Since he can no longer be responsible for his sins because of the alleged generational possessions, then he no longer needs the Sacrament of Confession. In order for one to be guilty of a sin, he must have the free will to do evil. In the case of possession, one does not have control of his actions, therefore, he does not have a free will.
As an example, let us suppose that evil spirits possessed five generations, these evil spirits having been passed on from generation to generation. If this was to be true, the question would be, "Where was Jesus during the last 4 generations? Did He not free every soul from sin and possession during the Sacrament of Baptism as the Catholic Church teaches?"
If Jesus failed to save those souls from sin and possession during the Sacrament of Baptism, then it must be claimed that those who fall under the curse of generational possession are eternally damned before they are born. They have no living hope of ever being saved. The Sacrament of Baptism would be useless for them. The Sacrament of Confession would also be useless since these souls would not be guilty of their sins, therefore not being required to confess them.
In other words, such a person would be born in sin, cursed for life, would not have a living hope of escaping the curse through the Sacrament of Baptism and could not make use of the Sacrament of Confession because it would be useless. Surely, this is not Catholic Teaching! Yet, this is what "Generational Sin/Healing" claims.
The Catholic Church teaches that each of us bears individual responsibility for our own sins!