SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH MAY SHED LIGHT
ON WHY PEOPLE SHY AWAY FROM CONFESSION
You’ve all heard it at Mass: Father’s reminder that he’s available for confession at certain hours, or perhaps by appointment. Sometimes it’s tossed off in a breezy, just-came-to-mind manner. Sometimes there’s an edge of frustration after manning the reconciliation room for hours with no one coming in. During Lent his hints about confession — or attending the upcoming penance service — can contain the merest tinge of threat.
Priests often find it difficult to understand why people shy away from what’s regarded as the least-used sacrament. It’s no mystery to me. Ever since my first confession, upon becoming a Catholic, I’ve understood it clearly. Admitting your shortcomings, faults, and stupid actions is painful. Even humiliating.
Priests will emphasize the wonderful feeling of relief that can follow a good confession. And indeed, I’ve experienced that relief, on those occasions when I had been carrying a heavy burden of guilt or conflict and found the sacrament truly cleansing. But there have been other times when I’ve come away from confession not feeling cleansed at all and asking myself, “What was the point?” [Read more…] about Mea Culpa — NOT!