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Question For Ex-catholics


smellincoffee
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I don't know much about Confession, just what I've seen in movies in such. I always imagined that people sat in a little booth, the priest on the other side of the screen, and relayed their every misdeed to the priest, who then told them how many "Hail Mary"s and "Our Fathers" to say in penance. Does it really work like that? How do you feel about some of the stuff you've told those not-so-holy men now that you're an ex-believer?

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Gah, I wish I could answer this. I grew up in such a predominantly Catholic area that I feel comfortable with discussing most of their traditions and such, but I never experienced confession myself.

 

From what I understand, you don't tell all of your sins, just recent ones. They also, as far as I know, counsel you to stop repeated sinful behaviors in a compassionate way. It's supposed to be anonymous, but there's a decent chance the priest will be able to recognize your voice if you are a member of that parish. It's therapeutic to divulge percieved wrongs, and I'm sure a living person is a lot more therapeutic to talk to than an imaginary being. Like I said, I can't be certain that this is how it feels but that's how I imagine it.

 

It also probably also differs from parish to parish, as certain areas are sticter than others. I grew up around liberal Catholics, Catholics in the south might have a worse time with confession.

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When I began taking my Catholicism seriously, I jumped head-first into Confession. I made myself learn to like it, when in my heart, I didn't really care to tell anyone anything I did. But, Big Momma Church siad I had to in order to get to Heaven, so I made myself like the whole thing.

 

Callyn, one must confess all sins to a priest that one is aware of. That's how the Church teaches it. They take that tripe about confessing sins in the Babble pretty seriously, especially in conjunction with the crap that their priests are representatives of Jebus on earth :rolleyes:

 

As for me, again, I made myself like it, and made myself listen to the psychobabble from sources like EWTN about how Confession is sooo theraputic and wonderful. I was supposed to feel like the world was lifted off my shoulders, because now I am clear to go to Heaven and am in total conformity with Big Momma's rules. Of course, sometimes I felt like this and sometimes not, but I didn't want to accept that religion is a subjective thing altogether, hence I kept lying to myself.

 

Once I finally got fed up with Xianity, I was very glad to rid myself of the need to confess, either to Jebus in prayer by myself or to a priest in a box. Rituals like that are precisely what I expect from cults that are wound up with pleasing a god to gain its favor, since that's all Confession boils down to - kissing Jebus' ass.

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Never confessed in one of the boxes, and I confessed a lot in a lot of strange places.

 

You have to confess all mortal (serious) sins and the number of times you've done them since your last confession. You're meant to try to confess patterns of venial (lesser) sins too.

 

The penance was extremely rarely Hail Marys or Our Fathers. It was generally something like "take a moment to be thankful for friendship" or "say a prayer for the poor". But then my old parish priest is like one of the coolest people in the world. Yeah, I know it sounds weird, but seriously, he rocks. :woohoo:

 

Anyway, most priests are really compassionate and hardly ever condemn...those few that do are, in my experience, the odd weirdo uptight ones that nobody likes.

 

I hated the actual confessing, but the feeling afterwards was great...not just like a durg...it was a drug.

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Confession really freaked me out as a kid. After grade school, where we HAD to go to confession, I never went again. One girl in 6th grade was told after making her confession that she was "a VERY bad girl!" That was the last time I went.

 

I'm pretty sure that the only reason you feel better and cleansed after confession is because of all the stressing that proceeds it. It's more of a feeling of relief that it's over rather than the feeling of a freshly washed soul.

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Keep in mind that I haven't practiced catholicism since I was 12, and that wasn't the flavor of xianity I deconverted from, but yeah, that's pretty much how I remember it (at least you'd confess your sins since your last confession). Being a goody-two-shoes kid before puberty, I didn't have anything very exciting to confess. I'd tend to stress a little before confession trying to figure out what sins I had committed that I needed to confess. I even made something up once. :blink:

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I don't know much about Confession, just what I've seen in movies in such. I always imagined that people sat in a little booth, the priest on the other side of the screen, and relayed their every misdeed to the priest, who then told them how many "Hail Mary"s and "Our Fathers" to say in penance. Does it really work like that? How do you feel about some of the stuff you've told those not-so-holy men now that you're an ex-believer?

 

Well, I was told that the priest would know if I lied, and that I should be honest and tell him everything I'd done wrong, so that God could truly absolve me of my dirtyness, and I would come out clean and dandy. You know, like a spiritual shower.

 

I lied my ass off. I couldn't help it, I wanted to see god's magic truth powers manefest in the priest. Instead I was given a small section of the rosary to say. I noticed a divide between myself and the priest. He was hidden behind a curtain like the wizard of Oz, no doubt frowning on my for my dirty lies. Surely he would bury me with hours and hours of prayer and reflection.

 

I was a bit surprised to find he seemed none the wiser, and left feeling rather free. Hey, I can be evil if I want, and these jerks will never know! It's awesome.

 

Well, not really. I didn't feel bad, the let down of God's magic overlordness not appearing kind of got to me. I was not yet an unbeliever, but I was well on my way. It took a few more lies to break me, they start this when you're pretty young.

 

I had to hang around and pretend to pray, while the giant creepy tortured italian guy stared at me. Seeming to say, hey, a bandaid would be kind of nice. Which is, of course, the entire point of hanging him there that way. So you feel guilty and depressed while you pretend to wallow in love and happiness. I had taken a position kneeling at the back row, and could hear others going by behind me as I kneeled there staring down at the back of the seat in front of me. I had never liked church, you had to sit still and remain quiet, while going through a rigirous and strict doctorin of standing, kneeling, and sitting through long boring speeches, each started with a verse you'd heard for years, in a continual cycle of unchanging, unyeilding sameness. It was a tremendously strong psychological push, [though I didn't know it at the time] and I didn't like it. Though I was forced to unwillingly tollerate it.

 

Other children came out after me. All seemed more cheerful, a couple were in tears, moved by the holy wizard behind the curtain to tears. I could see they were just embarrassed, but they didn't say that when asked. "Yeah. I'm filled with tho holy spirit! Isn't it great?"

 

There were some who honestly believed it, they came out acting like it was wonderful, freeing. Most came out irate with the amount of prayers they had to recite. All of the adults were subdued and reserved as they moved into the seats to say their pennance. Almost all of the parents who had brought children went in to see the priest as well. They came out acting like they'd just gone to the bathroom during service.

 

"Maybe I did it wrong?" I wondered, realizing the seeming euphoric state of some of the others.

 

I was honest the next time I went to confession. The priest even laughed a little when I explained why I'd lied.

He told me it wasn't true, and that he didn't have magical powers. That struck me as odd, considering what supposedly happened on the altar. I kept my mouth shut and moved on, more because of my nerves than my brain. I'd like to think I was smart enough not to ask that question just then. It was disconcerting, I'd expected a little more irritation. He told me if I was honest, God would absolve me. I still couldn't see him, he was still hidden behind a veil. I fold him about every sin I could remember. It didn't take very long, I don't, and never did, spend too much time worrying about whether or not I was sinning like some kind of sick spiritual accountant.

 

After I'd left, doing everything I was supposed too in the process, I did the same thing I did as always. I wasn't really eavesdropping, as I'd only overhear they as they moved by behind me. I knew some of the people from school, and continued to sit and wait on my mother, and grandmother to finish.

 

I'd done my pennance, and I still felt pretty much the same. No emotional breakthrough, no rays of light only I could see filling me with the holy spirit. It was an intangible nothing, and the feeling I'd just told someone how many times I'd jerked off in the last month. Madonna was still hot, and I had cable. He'd given me a bit more the second time around. I finished quickly, as Catholic School does wonders for speeding up saying that many prayers in a row.

 

In the end, I actually felt as though I'd lost something in the whole process. It was more a case of, man, how often am I expected to do this? Thinking about what a jerk I've been really sucks.

 

Then I went home and played Doom for four hours while listening to Black Sabbath, and AC/DC. I don't understand why Christians hate this game so much. You're killing the army of Hell itself in the game. At any rate, I felt less guilty about it because the very next week, God would forget about all those imaginary murders anyway.

 

I continued this right with regularity, thanks to my Grandmother's devotion. As it went on, I noticed the initial emotional reactions of the other kids was wearing off. I didn't put that complex of an idea on it at the time, but I'd notice they came out just like their parents did now. Looking like they'd missed half of God's holy pit stop because they'd gotten the runs in the middle of the most glorious moment of all. The thinly veiled cannibalism preperation ritual.

 

I'd realized that I was also doing it, from my very first time it seemed. The odd thing was, it almost felt the same, like everyone was looking at you, even though no one really was.

 

I felt silly, embarrassed, and confused by it all. Wasn't it supposed to feel good? Every time I did it, I'd feel bad for a half hour, and then return to normal. I wanted it to feel good, to be filled with the Holy Spirit and have an epileptic seisure. A very rare occurance in a Roman Catholic church.

 

I went on for a few years, my brain didn't catch on to how dishonest, dishonest could be at that point, but in the end, after a few years of other crap, I felt better when I lied.

 

The real straw that broke the camels back was being a Boy Scout. Some of the crap I had to watch and put up with scared the hell out of me. I was naiive enough to believe that no one from 'MY' church was going to start ranting about Queers. I had to stay until I was an Eagle Scout, and I've since mailed all my badges back to the Young Fashist of America Orginization. We were catholic, we were supposed to be loving and tollerant, so we could help them find Jesus. This is where I first confronted 'The Pepsi can argument'. I used to hate christan faith videos, it was like they were all produced by the stupidest people in the church with a home video camera.

 

Now, I truly understand.

 

So what's it come down to? Just another lie, another weight to remind us of how dirty and evil we all are. Just a session of sitting under Mario on a stick Jesus, and let him stare at us sadly, while we prostrate and cry over his suffering, and how just golly darn awful we've been. We should be ashaimed, and have a donut on the way out, there being served with punch in the comunity hall across the way!

 

If you feed them, they will come.

 

Being catholic is basically being trained to be disapointed, you get used to it, and believe harder in a vain attempt to make it better.

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[quote name='smellincoffee' post='273053' date='Apr 23 2007, 12:04

 

I always hated confession. The guilt if you hid a sin. The "you have to be truly sorry" for your sins or your not forgiven. Once a priest told me that" you gave up what you were taught some time ago". I left thinking, "your fuckin right! That was the end for me. Since, I am a growing atheist regarding religion as being irrelevant. I sinned, blasphmed and comitted a sacrilege by receiving for social reasons without confession. Guess what? Life goes on! Telling sins that produce feelings of guilt and humiliation. Wow great religion.

After over 40 years of this crap I guess the holy spirit gave up on me because I always HATED this practice which I forced myself to do.

If their is a god, which I doubt, he can accept me as I am,sinner and all. After all he created me. Didn't he know how I will turn out even with fuckin free will? Any similiar experiences?

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I went to a Catholic grade school, and every three months the entire school piled into our church for confession. It was great! I got out of school for an hour or two. I'd shoot funny faces at my sister and brothers from across the church. It was a relief to be out of class. The actual confession was kind of a pain in the ass, but not because I had to recall all the bad things. I had to think of something that was likely to get me a very light penance. After all, I wanted to spend what little time I had outside of class goofing off, not praying.

 

The only time confession was sacred to me was when we all did it for the first time. I really tried hard to think about all the bad things I could tell the priest. Thinking back on it now, I find it fucked up that the church wants 7 year old children to pause and think about just how bad they are. It's just wrong. I can remember thinking that I have to make up a clean confession, because I could not tell that hack the truth. At 7, I felt like my sins were worse than everyone else's sins. They were nothing though. Just regular kid stuff.

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I don't know much about Confession, just what I've seen in movies in such. I always imagined that people sat in a little booth, the priest on the other side of the screen, and relayed their every misdeed to the priest, who then told them how many "Hail Mary"s and "Our Fathers" to say in penance. Does it really work like that? How do you feel about some of the stuff you've told those not-so-holy men now that you're an ex-believer?

 

Here are the particulars of how it works.

 

Contrary to popular belief, Confessions are a scheduled event, usually taking up an early afternoon or morning of a particular priest. You can't just show up, and expect to confess at [most] churches. If you're really desperate for some reason, you could probably arrange it without too much trouble.

 

Seperation from the priest is optional, there are places where you can sit across from him and have a conversation if you're so inclined, and the booths usually have a small door the priest can open to speak with the confessor if so inclined.

 

At any rate, there is a divide of some kind between you and the priest when you start.

 

You don't tell the priest who you are. You kneel or sit on the other side of whatever divide is there and say "Forgive me father for I have sinned." This is a very rigid and practiced cerimony. "It has been [insert number of days, weeks, months] since my last confession.

 

The priest has a few lines here, mostly to let you know he's actually sitting there. He does his little prayer, and you start running your mouth about how 'bad' you've been.

 

After you've finished, the priest will give you a number of prayers, worse behaviour begot more prayers, supposedly. I usually got a rosary or a few sections of one. After he'd doled out your pennance, he would then say a prayer over you that always ended with "I absolve you of your sins in the name of the father, the son, and the Holy-spirit."

 

[Fun fact: Saying the 'trinity' that way will cause christians to make the sign of the cross. It doesn't matter where they are, if a 'true believer' hears it, they will react, just like Pavlov's Dogs.]

 

After this, you are free to be on your way. You can say your pennance as you walk to your car if you wish. Most christians will hang around in the church and do it. It's kind of fun to watch, because some will kneel down, hang their heads, and look up at whatever the biggest Jesus in the building is, in over dramatic cycles. They also tend to squeeze their eyes shut way too hard and mutter under their breath whatever it is they're praying while shaking their head about.

 

[Note: Not normal praying behaviour. Roman Catholics usually pray like zombies. The service is reserved, dry, and boring. Even the music is quiet, slow, and bland.]

 

Church can be a fun place to watch people with sick perceptions of reality. I'm suffering more for jesus than you! Just look how humble and pious I am! Sad, but entertainging anyway, in that car crash by the roadside kind of way.

 

Here's an explination from another website:

 

http://www.wf-f.org/Confession-Penance.html

 

 

The Ritual of Confession

The Sacrament of Penance is a liturgical action instituted by the Church for the reconciliation of sinners to communion with God and with the Church. Catholics are obliged to go to confession to receive the sacrament of penance at least once a year -- usually during the Easter season (it used to be called "Easter duty") -- or whenever they are conscious of serious sin. Receiving this sacrament is encouraged at other times, as a means of restoring full unity with God and His Church, and for spiritual growth.

 

The sacrament consists basically of four acts of the penitent and the priest:

 

Contrition: First the penitent (the repentant sinner -- the root word in "penitentiary"), must be aware of his sinfulness and must be truly sorry (contrite) for his sins. Another word for repentance is "contrition". He must repent his sins, and seek the sacrament of penance -- that is, to go to confession to a priest.

 

Confession: The penitent confesses to a priest all the sins he can recall -- after examining his conscience -- that he has not confessed before. The confession is entirely private -- the priest-confessor never reveals anything the penitent confesses. Traditionally confession takes place in the "confessional", a small room where the priest and penitent are separated by a screen to assure complete privacy and anonymity. It is also permissible, if both the priest and penitent agree, to administer and receive the sacrament of penance "face to face" in another room in the church reserved for this purpose. The sacrament can take place elsewhere, in an emergency.

 

Act of Penance: The priest-confessor proposes certain actions -- penance -- for the penitent to perform. This may be saying certain prayers and/or performing some other fitting action. The person who performs this penance thus shows his sorrow for his sinful acts. This helps him to overcome his faults, and the harm his sins have caused others -- to be reconciled with them and with the Church, and to return to behavior consistent with being a disciple of Christ.

 

Absolution: After the penitent accepts the acts of penance, the priest, by the authority that the Church has given him (see the quote from John 20:22, 23 above), absolves the sinner; that is, he grants God's pardon for the sins.

 

Structure of Confession/ Absolution Rite

The normal practice for administration of the Sacrament of Penance is in private -- with only the penitent and the priest present. On occasion, as during penitential seasons, a parish may hold a "communal penance service", where the congregation may pray and reflect together with the priest before each person individually goes to confession. (Only in extreme cases of emergency, such as on a battlefield, may a priest give "general absolution" to all at the same time; and that with the stipulation that the individual penitents go to confession individually as soon as possible.)

 

To begin, the penitent kneels and, by custom, says: "Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned", and may add, "It has been [time] since my last confession." The priest greets the penitent. Then crossing himself, the penitent says "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" and begins his confession.

 

The priest may help the penitent with an examination of conscience, perhaps by asking questions. During the confession, the priest may read Scripture passages and offer spiritual counsel.

 

After hearing the confession, the priest assigns a penance, and the penitent accepts the penance with the following prayer:

 

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended thee, and I detest all my sins because of thy just punishment, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Actus contritionis (Latin)

Deus meus, ex toto corde pænitet me ómnium meórum peccatórum, éaque detéstor, quia peccándo, non solum pœnas a te iuste statútas proméritus sum, sed præsértim quia offéndi te, summum bonum, ac dignum qui super ómnia diligáris. Ídeo fírmiter propóno, adiuvánte grátia tua, de cétero me non peccatúrum peccandíque occasiónes próximas fugitúrum. Amen.

 

 

The priest then extends his hands in blessing over the penitent, and prays the prayer of absolution:

 

Prayer of Absolution

God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of His Son

has reconciled the world to Himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us

for the forgiveness of sins;

Through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace,

and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

 

That should be just about as good as you're going to find as far as explination about the particulars short of trying it yourself. It's not as much fun as it sounds, and that's saying something.

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You can arrange a time to confess, though I believe that, generally, it's for when there's an emergency of some sort. I for one called up my parish or the nearest other one regularly when I couldn't make it to the scheduled confession time. Not unlike a junkie who will call up a drug dealer to beg for his next fix. :twitch:

 

It's quite hard to really remember how that felt now, but I was a completely different person between committing a mortal sin and going to confession than I was between confession and committing a mortal sin. It was like putting my life on hold. Nothing mattered any more, and there was nothing of any value whatsoever that I could do. All I did was feel depressed, act like a complete twat, and try to get my fill of sinfulness before my next spiritual clean-up.

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So, there's an old priest and a young priest

The old priest is going on vacation all week and asks the young priest to fill in for him on Sunday to do confession.

Well, the young priest says, but I've never done confession before. What do I do?

The old priest says, don't worry. There's a chart to go by inside the booth.

So, come Sunday the young priest is a little nervous.

The first person comes in and says, Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. I'm jealous of my neighbour's new car.

He looks at the chart, finds envy, and says, Say 3 hail Mary's. Go with God.

The next person comes in and says, Forgive me Father for I have sinned. I cursed my mother out.

Again he looks at the chart and says, Say 4 hail Mary's and 2 Our Father's. Go with God. Now he's a little more confident in his abilities.

The third person comes in and says, Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. I gave my boss a blow job.

He looks and looks, but can't find blow job on the chart.

Finally, he sticks his head out of the curtain and summons one of the altar boys over to him.

Altar boy! What does Father give for a blow job?

Two snickers and a coke!

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