Saturday, July 25, 2009

Unscientific Thoughts on Confession

I'm telling you up front, this isn't a scientifically verifiable observation or even anything remotely like it - just something that struck me:
The Sacrament of Reconciliation, or Confession, is a sacrament that has fallen into general disuse over the past 40 years - almost simultaneously with the loss of stigma surrounding seeking help from a counselor/therapist. Why is it that we American Catholics will "bear our souls" in therapy but not in the confessional? It's interesting to me. The other thing that strikes me is that when I watch the news, it seems like our society is struggling with more and more dysfunction, like we're "upping the ante" every year. Granted, there are obviously a myriad of other factors that went into making today's society. But one of are most frequent solutions to human behavior today is to recommend therapy. Well, we've got more therapy...but simultaneously more dysfunction. Less Confession, more dysfunction.

What is it that Confession brings to the table that therapy doesn't? (And I'm not knocking counseling/therapy - valid discipline, good tools - I highly recommend it.) But Faith tells me that at root, humanity's problem is spiritual. And while therapy can be good, it's not a sacrament - it can't cut through feelings and thought patterns to make a change directly in the soul. Applying only natural means, in the hopes of curing a supernatural problem, has to end in futility. Confession requires that we recognize that there is such a thing as sin...does the world know what that is anymore?

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