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EvenBob
EvenBob
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November 15th, 2011 at 8:56:21 PM permalink
I don't care enough to look it up again.
Knock yourself out..
"It's not enough to succeed, your friends must fail." Gore Vidal
FrGamble
FrGamble
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November 15th, 2011 at 8:57:35 PM permalink
Quote: EvenBob

I read it somewhere. Confession was around before the
Inquisition, but the present form, where they sit in a booth,
and the priest can take notes unseen by the confessor, comes
from the Inquisition era.



I'm sorry, I laughed out loud when I read this. The seal of confession is the most sacred responsibility of any priest and breaking the secrecy of confession in any way, including taking notes, is an automatic excommunication for any priest.

Allow me to give a brief history of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, aka Confession or Penance. From the very beginning it was clear that Christ gave the Church the power "to bind and loose" sins (Mt. 16:19; 18:18; Jn 20:21-23). This was based on the common practice in Jewish Synagogues which referred to an expulsion from the community in the hopes of leading to a change of heart and then a reunion of the converted back into the community.

The early second century document, The Didache, mentions that serious sins could be forgiven after a lengthy period of penance and separation from the community. Public and serious sins in the early Church needed to be publicly confessed and then followed an intense and often long period of public repentance leading to a joyful return to the community. In the middle of the fifth century the historian Hermias Sozomen gives a description of what happened, "[the penitents] with downcast eyes and mournful faces wailing and lamenting they throw themselves prostrate on the floor. The Church echoes with loud cries and the whole congregation is filled with tears. After this the bishop gets up and raises those who are prostrate, and after praying for the penitents in a befitting manner he dismisses them. Then each one on his own performs the difficult works for as long as the bishop has assigned, either fasting, or not bathing, or abstaining from meat, or doing other things which have been prescribed." (Door of the Sacred, J. Martos)

This practice of Confession was not very popular for many reasons you can probably guess at; besides the strange penance of not bathing is pretty gross, sometimes the period of penance was years or decades. Around this time before a potential penitent went to the bishop who would decide if his sin was serious enough for this drawn out public process they would often stop by and get the counsel of a priest or monk. This practice was especially important in missionary lands where the faith was new, sins frequent, and not many bishops around. The monks in Ireland for example began to give the new converts and penitents private counsel and private penances, which the clerics were used to because it was forbidden for a monk or priest to go through the public process of forgiveness lest the scandal be too great. This practice of private confession quickly spread to Europe and in 650 a local council in France declared confession to a priest, "medicine for the soul". By the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 the practice of private reconciliation had replaced the ancient public and involved ecclesiastical process.

This is a quick explanation, a more detailed account would go into some of the interesting questions the Church wrestled with through the years such as; Should there be some sins that can never be forgiven? How many times can someone be forgiven? In every instance the Church fell on the side of mercy and the unconditional love of God. In this one instance EvenBob is correct in that it is only God who can forgive sins.

Please note that all this development of the Sacrament of Confession happens before the first inquisitions in 1231, which were created to tamper the Albigensian crusade where mobs were brutally taking matters of heresy into their own hands and killing heretics and rioting. The infamous Spanish Inquisition began in the mid 15th century at the behest mainly of the government and had nothing to do with the development of the Sacrament.
TheNightfly
TheNightfly
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November 15th, 2011 at 9:22:10 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

I'm sorry, I laughed out loud when I read this. The seal of confession is the most sacred responsibility of any priest and breaking the secrecy of confession in any way, including taking notes, is an automatic excommunication for any priest.

Allow me to give a brief history of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, aka Confession or Penance.

That's easy for you to say... but did you READ it somewhere?
Happiness is underrated
FrGamble
FrGamble
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November 15th, 2011 at 10:05:16 PM permalink
Quote: TheNightfly

That's easy for you to say... but did you READ it somewhere?



I've read about the history of the Sacrament of Penance many times and have heard many lectures about it as well. The history and development of the Sacraments and their theology is obviously a big part of our seminary studies. Here are two books I remember and have found helpful. The first is more famous and more available. As you can see from my post I quoted the historian Herminas from 'Doors to the Sacred'.

Doors to the Sacred: A Historical Introduction to Sacraments in the Catholic Church
By: Joseph Martos

The Sacramental Mystery
By: Paul Haffner
EvenBob
EvenBob
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November 15th, 2011 at 11:28:18 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

The seal of confession is the most sacred responsibility of any priest and breaking the secrecy of confession in any way, including taking notes, is an automatic excommunication for any priest.



Thats true now, but it certainly wasn't that way always. You
want us to believe the same Church who burned midwives
and witches and heretics at the stake, who murdered thousands of
people thru torture, who forced conversions on hundreds
of thousands, mostly Jews, by any means
necessary, you want us to believe this same ruthless
Church balked at violating confession? Are you serious?

Why do you think confession was started in the first place?
What a perfect way to weed out the trouble makers and
the malcontents than to get them to voluntarily give up
information, and make them feel guilty if they don't.
"It's not enough to succeed, your friends must fail." Gore Vidal
NowTheSerpent
NowTheSerpent
Joined: Sep 30, 2011
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November 16th, 2011 at 6:40:24 AM permalink
Quote: odiousgambit

A statement like that needs to be backed up.



Agreed!
NowTheSerpent
NowTheSerpent
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November 16th, 2011 at 6:43:54 AM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

I've read about the history of the Sacrament of Penance many times and have heard many lectures about it as well. The history and development of the Sacraments and their theology is obviously a big part of our seminary studies. Here are two books I remember and have found helpful. The first is more famous and more available. As you can see from my post I quoted the historian Herminas from 'Doors to the Sacred'.

Doors to the Sacred: A Historical Introduction to Sacraments in the Catholic Church
By: Joseph Martos

The Sacramental Mystery
By: Paul Haffner



I think TheNightFly was being a bit sarcastic on account of EvenBob, but thanks for the book title.
Nareed
Nareed
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November 16th, 2011 at 6:44:41 AM permalink
If confession were a good means of thought control and wholesale management of the populace, then the secular religions, like Communism and Nazism, would have adopted it as well.
Donald Trump is a fucking criminal
Garnabby
Garnabby
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November 16th, 2011 at 7:08:21 AM permalink
Quote: EvenBob

This is the same defense the German's used after WWII. Hey,
don't blame us, it was those wascally Nazi's that did all the
damage, we had no idea what was going on.



You're required to produce a counter-example (of any time when a group of "leaderless" persons revolt against the leader(s)). I doubt there are any, in which case that sort of free will just isn't available (to the masses). Otherwise, your analogy seems simplistic. Like trying to put something down w/o first admitting to some of its genuine goodness.
Why bet at all, if you can be sure? Anyway, what constitutes a "good bet"? - The best slots-game in town; a sucker's edge; or some gray-area blackjack-stunts? (P.S. God doesn't even have to exist to be God.)
thecesspit
thecesspit
Joined: Apr 19, 2010
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November 16th, 2011 at 10:31:59 AM permalink
Quote: Nareed

If confession were a good means of thought control and wholesale management of the populace, then the secular religions, like Communism and Nazism, would have adopted it as well.



I may be missing sarcasm on the internet here but...

Communism (at least Maoist and Cambodian versions) did have "confession". I forget the exact term for it, but cadres were encourage to not only look out for counter-revolutionary behaviour in others, but also admit and correct their own failings. These confessions were always useful if they wanted to perform a purge later.

The Nazi's and Russian Commies seemed to be much more keen on shopping your neighbour and exhorting each other to be "better" members of the party. That's a pretty good technique too.
"Then you can admire the real gambler, who has neither eaten, slept, thought nor lived, he has so smarted under the scourge of his martingale, so suffered on the rack of his desire for a coup at trente-et-quarante" - Honore de Balzac, 1829

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