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confession -- it's good for the soul


A while ago my husband printed an article for me to read from (I'm not much of a news junkie at all so he knows I never visit news websites. When he finds something interesting, he prints a copy for me and leaves it on the dining room table. Isn't he sweet? I'll wait for you to swallow the little bit of vomit that's now in your mouth.)

The article was about Catholic confession and how it is waning. No one seems to practice the art of penance anymore. For my non-Catholic friends out there I'll give you a quick run down.

You've got something weighing heavy on your mind so you either go to church on Saturday afternoon (which is when there is a standing appointment where you can just drop in) or you call your priest to make an appointment on a different day.

If you choose to drop-in on Saturday you have the option of giving confession the old-fashion way by hiding kneeling behind the screen or you can sit face-to-face with the priest. You start out, "Forgive me Father for I have sinned. It has been nine months since my last confession." You spill your guts. He gives you advice (discuss this with your husband/wife), absolves you and then tells you to say a Hail Mary and two Our Fathers.

You say your prayers and go on your way with a clear conscience.

But this article on Slate said that more and more people are turning to cyberspace as a way of performing virtual confession.

I have to say, I find both methods of confession have their benefits, but I prefer a face-to-face exchange. I know it's because of the way I was raised. However, I just can't imagine not confessing (the old fashioned way) on a regular basis. It's sort of like going to the dentist and getting your teeth cleaned. It's something I do regularly; I don't always look forward to it but I feel so much better once its done.

If you've never been, it's quite a humbling experience, bringing your baggage to a priest and looking him in the eyes as you share your failings. So different from looking at text on a computer screen.

I'm not trying to thump my bible or push my beliefs on anyone. I just find it interesting how both methods can provide comfort and relief but the paths there are almost diametrically opposed.


Willowfox added a comment saying it must feel great to be "completely absolved" and I feel I must throw in the following disclaimer. It does feel good to be absolved here on earth, HOWEVER, it is my belief and understanding that I will still work off the sin in Purgatory after I die. The concept of Purgatory is to cleanse one's soul before entering Heaven. So just because I went to confession on earth doesn't mean I have a pass straight to Heaven. At least, this is my own personal belief, backed up by the Catholic Church.


2007-01-09 at 8:30 a.m.

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