Catholic confessions??

Confession: goign into a little booth and exposing sins to a preist that can’t be seen so he could tell how sorry one should be and what God wnated to atone. Confession seems illogical to me. If I needed an intermerdiary between me and God, why bother to pray, unless that same invisible preist was around to pass messages back and forth? And if God loves each of us equall, why would He pay more attention to this preist asking forgiveness on my behalf than He would to me asking Him directly?

Feel free to reply…

God wants us to confess to one another (ie another human being) and to Him. That is how I view confession. Can anyone else expand on this?

‘and forgive us our debts as we have also forgiven our debtors’ (Matt. 6:12)

As we have forgiven debtors…

Seneca the younger used to recite the good and the bad things that he had done at the end of each day. I’m not sure that this is similiar to confession, but it probably helped him to monitor himself. There have to be some acute psychological reasons for confession. For my own part it smells too keenly of original sin, a concept i loath.

If you confess alone to god you are less likely to feel guilty for your sin as your mind can cover up the importance of what you have done wrong and excuse your sins.

Wouldn’t it be a better idea to understand how sin negatively affects the lives of those around us instead of asking for forgiveness? Wouldn’t God (whatever that is) appreciate it more if we actually treated people better instead of constantly sinning and then asking for forgiveness?

While i am not one to get in between a conversation between a wise old atheist and an impressionable catholic youth, marshall’s point peaked my interest:

the connection with seneca is an intersting one. surely there are rather strong influences from the stoic school to catholicisim. i would actually argue that the reformation was structured largely to return to these ‘roots’ of the catholic church (NOT that seneca was catholic, but that the catholics were, for a time, senca-like ----------> this transformation occured around boethius who was able to make the leap).

seneca’s confessions are intersting because they were to himself. he was admitting all his faults to himself. this was important. the great assumption of stoicism is that what goes on in the spirit can occur without the ‘permission’/connection to the intellecut – we can unknowningly do wrong be feeling something at the inapproproate time. seneca did not feel the need to tell anyone else these sins, and if he did it would go against stoicism. to be stoic, afterall, is to depend on nobody but oneself. to entrust one’s flaws in another being would be erronous.

catholic confessions are therefore intersting in that they break from this radical form of egoism, or independence. they are a procedure that operates on the assumption that while humans can do something that they know is wrong, they will do this anyway. the answer is not in trying to surpress this but to embrace it and chalk it up to being human. then, according to catholicism, who makes us human? God. confessions are then performed to allow man to say, this is what i did because i’m human, you (God) made me this way and i stumbled – even though i know i should be this way.

i’m actually rather sympathetic to confessions. i think that it is a rather logically step if you believe in things like God and creationism. if you don’t, the reason for conducting confessions is greatly weakened – in my mind.

Marcus Aurelius, to my mind, seems the most Christian-like of all of the Stoics. Christianity certainly used the pillar of Stoicism almost as much as it leaned on Plato. There are passages of Plato where one can clearly see Christianity just waiting to come out. But i doubt if most confessions are Platonic. :smiley:

Trix. I claim to be Atheist, I may be old, but i doubt that i am wise. Have you read a lot of Boethius. I have his “the consolation of philosophy” on my shelf. What will i learn from it?

To my mind confessions seem to bring the sin to light more. Which may explain why some Catholics rarely go to confession. Any ideas here?


parts of plato. not all of his complete works were made available until after most of christianity was solilified. marcus, i think, was made to appear the most christian like through the middle ages. he’s more sever, though. there is an optimisim to seneca that i think resonates in christian thinking (i.e. marcus: “just die already” seneca: “so you die, it’s all good, if you’re a stoic, only the best can happen”)

i didn’t mean old as in age, i meant old as in cool/mature. :smiley:

AHHHH!! boethius!!! i love love love love love him! my favourite prior to meeting heraclitus. oh honey, if you like heraclitus you’ll love boethius. also, have you heard of shakespear? well my dear, that little consolutation of philosophy was perhaps the MOST influencial piece of writing in western philosophy up until the renassiance. chaucer made copies and copies of it, shakespear was profoundly influence by ideas such as the fortune and free will presented in the work, and christianity borrowed heavily from it. the book is AMAZING!!! boethius wrote it in his jail cell before his execution, with nothing but his memory to rely on passages from ancient philosophical texts. what results is a heavily crafted peice of art that is thick with stucture that carries meaning that not only synthesises ALL of the major philosophies of the ancient world, but boethius is able to carry them forward to the middle ages. it is remarkable. highly recommended. if you read it, we can talk about it, perhaps on a thread on through pm’s.

i am not one to question the pactices of other catholics – i was arguing that confessions are logical if the basic tenants of the religion are accepts.

to fear the bringing to light on’es own sins is a phenomena that occurs regardless of religion – people to not want the 'fess up, they are cowrads, not honorable, as you might say.

i guess making confessions make people act honorably, make them take responsibilty. this is the most difficult thing a human can learn – my prof was saying that this is the last stage in child development, and most common defect. i would suspect its an element of human nature, not to take moral responsibilty.

There is definitely an optimism to Seneca (the stoic with whom i am most familiar). The church even tried to fake some epistles between Seneca and Saint Paul which were considered spurious even in antiquity. I was unaware that the middle ages did not have access to some of Plato’s works.

Being cool and mature has been one of my personal challenges. I just wish that the impressionable Catholic youth would stick around so we could all increase our understanding. I will definitely read the consolations of philosophy by Boethius.

Moral responsibility is a hard thing for a lot of people to learn. There are still people that still need fear, whether it be fear of God, fear of the law, etc. in order to be moral. most people never find that moral compass within, i’m afraid.

I like catholic confession (reconciliation). It means i can go about and kill anyone on this board and as long as im sorry for it I get to hang out in heaven for ever and ever and ever and…

One more way religions adapt to fit the needs of man not the “desires” of God.

PS your right it is all crap, you should talk to god not the nosy priest. Maybe the booth was for the boys?

Last of course I thought up about priest having sex. They need to in order for the Catholic Church to survive. They need to offspring kids as interested as priest hood as they would. As off right now isn’t the Catholic Church putting itself to extinction?

Inonothing said:

Maybe you can tell me what the desires of God are?

I thought this was a ‘I love philosophy’ forum? An appeal to spite is not critical thinking as far as I’m concerned.

With at least a billion professing Catholics, it’s obvious this isn’t the case. Again, critical thinking is lacking here.

We don’t know what they are; we used our imagination to create them.

Criticizing could be my way of getting my point across.

Humor, it sounds like you’re a fundamentalist catholic attacking me because I don’t like the idea of a catholic confession. And a billion, I wouldn’t say a billion. Out of the million or so that are might be in existence how many of there kids are really willing to be priest? Its ok, there is no god to be afraid of, there never was. Sorry.
But if it makes you feel better get on your knees and do about 100 hail Maries and some how you will live for eternity in a great paradise. To good to be true…

for the average catholic it is a. accepting their guilt and b. an easy way of overcoming their guilt

some of the advice/problems are typically pretty ****ing stupid/pointless in my opinion and are a result of the catholics dependency on the accpetance of their God and his priest

Yes, my friend, a billion. Nevertehless, even if I were a fundamentalist Catholic, what does that have to do with the truth or falisty of a thing?

Nevertheless, as the old adage goes, if one wants to fly with the eagles, then one must first roost with the chicks. It seems you are making assumptions in algebra without first studying addition. Likewise, learn epistemological truths before making ontological conclusions. Either one, it is obvious, you know nothing about .

Hi…I just registered to respond to this topic. This thread came up in a google search I was doing on the sacrament of reconciliation…

I just wanted to add my opinion on Catholic confession. I am a Catholic…or I was raised one all my life, attended only Catholic schools, etc. Recently, I had such a horrible experience in the confessional (although it was a face to face confession in a small room, not a traditional booth with the little screen) that I’ve been questioning my faith in the Church (not God) ever since.

I went to confession and was refused absolution. I was told I was removed from the sight of God. The priest dismissed me in a matter of minutes with no explanation, no questioning, no discussion - nothing. He used his own VERY human, VERY prejudiced personal attitudes to pass judgement on me and then try to pass it off as the permanent judgement of God.

I’m thinkin’ he’s gonna be in some deep shite come Judgement Day himself…

Others have told me to go see another priest. Well, yes. I could do this. Odds are I’d find a decent enough fellow who’d probably hear my confession and be happy to reconcile me to the Church, but what does this mean? What meaning could the sacrament really have if I can get two opposite reactions from two different priests on the same issue?

I doubt I will ever be able to build up enough trust to seek Catholic reconciliation again. Supposedly, I’m now condemned to hell, anyway, so I don’t see much point in bothering (what you bind on earth is bound in heaven, yaddayadda…).

OTOH, I don’t believe a priest can send me to hell. So, again, what’s the bloody point of confession?

This isn’t much of a response, but I just thought I’d add my experience to the conversation and see what Catholics and non-Catholics alike make of it…

Well then welcome. I’m sorry if you are concerned about judgment day, you shouldn’t be. Do you really think this life should have much of an effect on how you live eternity? First of all, 80 or so years shouldn’t even be considered a fraction of the time of eternity, because it isn’t. Are you really afraid you will spend all of eternity burning in a place called hell because you stole something? In the long run, does it even matter?

God said do not kill, yet he set up nature where the only way you can survive is to kill. It’s a good god that’s evil; you just don’t see it that way because you’re on top of the food chain. He isn’t as loving as you portray him to be.

Finally, wtf did you do for a priest to practically damn you?

What did I do? Well, that’s personal, but suffice it to say it falls into the category of mortal sin, although I’m beginning to see that Catholic categorization of sin as faulty at best…I consider what I did a symptom (a terrible one, but a symptom nonetheless) of what are considered smaller, or venial, sins…sin is more insideous than just a set of lists, IMO. Also, I just don’t think priests have the training to see the big picture. They’re used to the laundry-list-in-and-out-in-three-minutes-next-please confession format and it just doesn’t serve well. They just don’t want to be bothered with anything more complicated like an actual discussion. I think, actually, that my greatest crime in this priest’s eyes was being female. Plus, he was Opus Dei, which adds a whole new level of psychotic to his personality.

I’m not really worried that I’ve really been sent to hell, although the guilt thing is what the Church does best, so it’s hard to shake all that off entirely. I do believe in a loving God, and I certainly don’t believe any God worth His salt is waiting on some mere human to give Him permission to forgive another human - that’s a pretty pansy-assed God, if you ask me.

The reality is priests are human, many are seriously misogynistic, all of them bring their own set of personal issues and flaws to the priesthood, and the Catholic Church has erroneously set them on a pedestal, and all of this creates a priesthood that really doesn’t want to sully it’s hands with sinners. They just want to get their asses kissed by submissive little saints, never do a lick of work, and live off someone else’s dime. I’m sure there are good priests out there, but they’re few and far between, and that’s sad.

Sounds like you had an abortion to me, if that’s the case then according to the catholic church the baby is in a better place….if this has nothing to do with abortion then I just made my self look like and ass, but does it really matter? In ten years will I be pondering over this issue? Nope……good day maim

Actually, I’m a hit-woman for the mob… :unamused: :unamused: :unamused:

Guessing is never cool. Abortion isn’t the only ‘mortal’ sin. Actually, lack of Christian charity (kindness) is a mortal sin, only most people don’t know that.

Anyway, my points were about the confessional. If priests are coming from a place of personal animosity when addressing parishioners, or if parishioners can get two different answers to the same confession, just how valid is the Catholic sacrament of confession? The Church itself teaches that forgiveness comes from God and is available to all who seek it. It gets a little sketchier when they talk about absolution in the sacramental sense. On the one hand, the Church wants the power - it wants the fear and guilt and submissiveness of it’s followers - hence face-to-face confession (which hasn’t got very strong scriptural foundation at all, and wasn’t even always practiced in the early Church). On the other hand, even they know they can’t out and out say God won’t forgive you, 'cause Jesus has some pretty harsh words about that, too. So they come up with this hazy, sketchy idea that you get ‘extra Grace’ through sacramental confession, or that you can’t be really sure you’re forgiven (playing on natural doubt and fear again) unless you confess to a priest.

How flawed is this if priests are exercising personal prejudices and making calls based on personal beliefs? And how flawed is the concept in general - it actually implies that Jesus’ word wasn’t good enough. That I have a BIG problem with.

I prefer the Episcopalian take on confession - it’s available, it’s probably a good idea if you’ve got something weighing on your mind you need to work out, but it’s not at all ‘required’ for forgiveness. I agree - sometimes it’s good to discuss mistakes you’ve made and how you got to a place where you were able to consider doing something wrong as a viable option, and so on. That’s great - that’s spiritual conselling at it’s best, mostly because it’s voluntary and there’s no imbalance of power going on. But in the Catholic Church, it’s all about the power and the legalism.