Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Confession is more of counseling

Catholic Church used to be the supreme authority and the church had its influence in all walks of life weather it be science, medicine or politics. There was an excess influence of the church and no one could really get rid of it. Formerly, we did not have any formalized counseling centers to cater to the psychological needs of the people. Only in the later period we had different schools specialized coming up in different arena catering to the specific needs of common man; like clinical psychology and counseling.
The then authorities of the church understood that root cause for all the diseases is mere psychological and psychological approach like counseling would prevent diseases to an extent and with that objective, confession was introduced in catholic church.

Confession has more psychological dimensions than spiritual. If confession has to get a more scientific approach and name it shall be better called counseling in psychology. Confession is more like psychological counseling. By telling (confessing) the mistakes committed to someone, the offender gets mental relief and piece of mind.

No one freely opens up and tells to someone that these are the mistakes (sins) one has committed however close the two are. Even if the married couple is so intimate and so understanding I don’t think they would confess each other their sins. In this situation sacrament of confession opens up a forum to confess the mistakes to priest and thereby one gets mental relief and a mind free of tension and prick of conscience and his mind would remain healthy and focused.

Even though we have psychologists and counseling centers I don’t think the sacrament of confession has lost its complete significance. Catholics still go for confession rather than going to counseling centers, because formal counseling and psychologists sound clinical and people making a visit to those places are being looked down as mentally challenged whereas confession remains more like religious activity so it is freely accessible and does not cost anything at all.  

The sacrament of confession is also helpful for priests to know the ‘trend’ of the sins committed by the believers and accordingly the priests could fine tune their sermon and deliver it in the church. When a number of believers confess their sins, the priest would understand what the evil of the time is and advise the believers accordingly. 

Recently the Catholic Church has added destroying nature and cutting down trees unnecessarily to the list of sins and believers need to confess if they have done anything of that sort. Now it throws up so many questions like what is sin? What is the parameter to decide whether an act is sinful? Only Catholic Church has the sacrament of confession, so is the salvation limited within Catholic Church and what about the other denominations within the church? Only confessing our sins to a priest, our sins are being forgiven?

(Photo courtesy: Google image)  

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