catholic confession for kids today....

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chinadoll | 13:54 Mon 07th Mar 2005 | Parenting
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what is the current system for catholic kids who are going for their first confession still a situation where they go into the confessional and tell the priest about all their "sins" and the priest tells them to say prayers as penance.....has that died out? what is happening now in the uk


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The church has realised that the confessional can be intimidating for little ones, so most priests invite the children one at a time to sit with him at the alter, and quietly confess one sine, which the child will have memorised. This is done in full view of the cingregation, and is made a part of the Mass, so the children feel less intimidated.

In that case Andy, I'm not sure the church have got it right.... As a child I think I would have found talking to a priest in front of an audience much scarier than talking to him in private in the confessional !

I see what you are saying ursula, but because the children all do this together on their Confirmation Day, they don't appear to feel any pressure. My youngest daughter and friends, and grand-daughter and friends have all gone through this part of the ceremony, with no-one seeming to be overwhelmed or upset by it.
I find the whole idea of subjecting children, who have little say in what 'faith' is being imposed on them, to this kind of 'cough up your bad deeds to the man in the black suit or you'll go to the big burny place', absolutely disgusting.

Marge - I think your concept of confession is a little out of date. i am an atheist, but my wife, children and grandchildren are all Catholic. The chuch is certainly not in the business of frightening children into believing in God - most priests attatched to schools and involved in Confirmation are able to talk to children on their level - there is no mention at all of hell and damnation - the emphisis is on kindness and love - and they don;t talk to them wearing black suits either!

It's not my faith, but i think I Ihave a more balanced view on it - based on personal experience.

Sorry MargeB??? I'll have you know, I positively could not wait to have my first confession because it was a grown up thing to do!  I was certainly not frightened, proud rather.  If I was worried about anything it was not having done anything wrong.  I even made up a few "sins" so as to have something a bit more substantial to confess.
Hgrove, I am shocked and stunned by your answer.
Our local church had nice confessionals, made of brieze block with no roof on them. I noticed this, because it was the only way for the sound to get out. I noticed the sound was getting out because on the way home, my elder sister, much to my parents' chagrin and my substantial embarassment , pointed out that I confeess 'lies, disobedience, and gluttony' every week. That poor priest must have dispaired. And the effort I had to make to change my accent! lol. Those were the days. Cleansed once a week. Afterwards I used to walk across busy streets without fear, knowing that the only way was up!
MargeB - I dont understand. First you said that you think confession is disgusting, and then you seem to happily reminisce. I imagine you are being joking about walking home without fear, but did it really effect you that badly? I think its a lovely occasion, and have never seen children being either forced or upset by confession.
Interesting point, but for me it's to do with short term and long term consequences. Short term consequences? Not sure there are's not that you drag kids kicking and screaming into a little box and force them to cough up.
But ultimately, (and this is the long term effect), and *however the event is dressed up (called Sacrament of Reconciliation, Group Services, face to face)*, everyone knows that it's based on a doctrine which says:
-some guy and his missus really ****ed off God a few thousand years ago and he holds you, child, to some extent guilty
-you are going to do wrong things in your life, and some of them may be so bad that it may end up with you being cut off from God and everyone else for ever and ever (this is catholic DOCTRINE), but if you go and tell it to this guy, it will be magically wiped off your 'soul' (whatever that is). My main problem/anger is directed at the TRUTH/FALSITY question. Although I do believe that somehow humans have an element of responsibility, many many predispositions that result in actions that the church lists as 'sins' are just that: predispositions. I don't remember being around just before my parent's conceived me and said, "please, I'll have genes x y and z, but not b". They're not EVERYTHING, but these had an enormous part to play in the way my brain wires me to act. To then suggest to me that these things are all due to either my free acts or their interplay with the 'devil' is simply not true, and I know dozens of catholic scholars who know that it is not true, but STILL the church hangs on to them because that is the way things were thought to be, 500 years ago.

My guiding philosophy is this: the truth will set you free. I mean by this that I think you need to first establish what the truth is, and then develop appropriate practices. I know many individuals involved in the catholic education of the young who could not begin to explain what they really believe and the reasons behind it, but they are content to 'pass on their beliefs' to kids as though they were convinced this was the truth!

Just because a large chunk of society does something, or has done for years, does not mean it it right (cf Nazis). I'm furious that so many kids in this country are told that 'this is the way things are' before they have even developed the cognitive faculties to weigh up the evidence. This is actual brainwashing in action.
Because it turned out to be error, quite reasonably I had to reset some buttons and 'motivational structures' for myself when I came to realize I'd been fed a load of garbage. This doesn't mean I trash that part of my life though, I can still look back on the funnier side of the events.
Amazing to think that in a couple of years I won't be allowed to make this post. :-)
ps andyhughes, you're wanted over on a Body and Soul knee injury thread.

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