The Abusive ‘Sacrament’ of Confession

 No parent allowed. 

Having been raised Catholic and afterwards, becoming an Orthodox Christian, I have found that the sacrament of confession, as it is practiced in certain liturgical Christian Churches is highly inappropriate.

Having to confess ones sins to the priest is one of the main ways the Church maintains control over the people. I also feel it is abusive when little 7 year old girls have to confess their sins to a male priest. It is also abusive when any female of any age has to confess her intimate sins to a male priest who were often strangers to them.

The Church thinks it has the right to do this based upon one single verse in the bible, whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. John 20:23, KJV.

Pre-Vatican II, we would enter the confessional and the priest would be behind a screen. So, that was bad enough that you had to go into a dark box as a little girl and tell all of your innocent secrets to a strange man. (My father was in the military, so we never really got to know the priests, personally.) Nowadays, a seven or eight year old little boy or girl has to go into a room by themselves and face the strange man…by themselves. Nowadays, who in their right mind should be allowing their children to do this?

 A modern day ‘reconciliation’ room where you can either face the priest or go behind the screen. Can you imagine a young child in there? There are no parents present. The child is alone with the priest. Read what this parent  who was a victim of abuse was told by the priest about this matter. (Read to the end.) These priests have no rights over your children. This is not what Jesus had in mind. A lot of sexual abuse has occurred in the confessional.

In the Orthodox Church, the practice is even more bizarre. The priest stands at the front of the Church (where everyone can see you) and covers you with his stole, like a tent while you confess your sins.

I think the Protestants have the right idea about what Jesus meant in John 20: 23. Other than that, there are liturgical churches where the priest offers a general forgiveness during the liturgy. This would be the most correct manner, in my point of view, of offering the sacrament.

Penance is another form of abuse although in these latter times, rather than the severe penances of centuries gone by, modern penance usually takes on the form of extra prayers in the Catholic Church or an overload of extra prayers and a banning from communion in the Orthodox Church. I remember one time my 10 year old son was banned from communion for six weeks in a Russian Church (not RCOR) because he had listened to a rock and roll tape.

There was another woman in this Church who had been banned for three years from communion. I could not imagine what that poor, obviously faithful and pious woman could have done to deserve such treatment. This was not the Mercy of God that Jesus had promised. This was extreme control and abuse.

A story was told of a canonized saint had appealed to the priest in the confessional that her husband was physically abusing her only to have the priest tell her that she must stay with her husband and that through her suffering and piety, her husband would be converted. This is the reason this woman was canonized, because she stay with an abusive husband. (Canonized married women, in the RCC, are extremely rare.)

The confessional, whether Traditional, where the person at least has some privacy from the priest, or what is even worse, the modern where the penitent has to face the priest, is a place of fear, anxiety for the penitent and extreme over-reach on the part of clergy. They have no right to know the intimate details of a person’s life, especially not those of a member of the opposite sex. Nor do they have the right to listen to the ‘sins’ of little children.

This dangerous and abusive practice must stop,