Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Need for Confession

Hat tip: Tom

Well, if people can't go to the real thing, they sometimes try to make things up. Which is what these people (link above) are doing with confession. I always find is amusing when people say they'd be too embarrassed to confess to a priest, but the same people would have no trouble sending their deepest, darkest secrets to an anonymous blogger.

I'm not sure how Chesterton ties in with this, but I'll just say this: he converted.


  1. Sure, that's right! Here's the actual quote:

    When people ask me, or indeed anybody else, "Why did you join the Church of Rome?" the first essential answer, if it is partly an elliptical answer, is, "To get rid of my sins." For there is no other religious system that does really profess to get rid of people's sins. It is confirmed by the logic, which to many seems startling, by which the Church deduces that sin confessed and adequately repented is actually abolished; and that the sinner does really begin again as if he had never sinned.
    [GKC, Autobiography CW16:319]

  2. In either The Thing or The Catholic Church and Conversion, he also wrote about how the Reformation didn't really solve any of the abuses it purported to address, but rather actually adopted practices (or allowed for the adoption of practices) that mimicked or mirrored Catholic customs, sacraments, or whatever. On that note, he called physchoanalysis "confession without the safeguards of confession," or something like that. Not having the benefit of Amber at my fingertips, I probably got the quote wrong (and I hope Dr. Thursday will correct it if I got it wrong).

  3. You don't have AMBER? And The Thing is not yet available out here in the E-cosmos?

    Eh? You want to know about AMBER? Oh - AMBER is merely the ACS nickname for... well, let's just say if you need a Chesterton quote looked up, you should go over to the ACS web page and click on the Quotemeister.

    But the quote you seek is this:

    "Psycho-analysis is the Confessional without the safeguards of the Confessional..."

    It is from The Thing CW3:187.

  4. Thanks for clarifying, Dr. T. But you know I don't have Amber. I thought only Dale, a certain geezer known affectionally as Gramps, and you had the only copies.

    When WILL that be ready for marketing? ;-)

    My copy of Vol. 3 of the CW is so worn out and dog-eared that the cover finally fell off.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. It's funny, because I've always admired Catholicism (even before I got into GKC), and I was just thinking today that one of my biggest hang-ups about the Catholic way of doing things is the confessional.

    And here I log on to see an interesting article and a great GKC quote on the confessional--the Big Guy trying to tell me something, maybe.

  7. To continue the quote fest, I want to add that this article brings two GKC quotes to my mind:

    “The Church is the only thing that prevents a sin from being a secret.”

    “The Church is the only thing that frees a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age.”

    Our unconfessed sins destroy us. The popularity of this website points to the human need to release our secrets yet, sending in these postcards is confession without absolution, catharsis without healing.

    I have been on both sides of Catholicism now. In my “pagan” days some 8 years ago when I was on the outside looking in, a state I sometimes refer to as the “NPR side,” Confession made little sense to me and even seemed to be a power play on the part of the Church. Indeed, few of the sacraments made sense to me. Religion was me with God alone on the mountaintop. I therefore sought only to be moral and not burden my actions with what, at the time, seemed to be the vagaries of the Church. Like GKC’s morbid logician in Orthodoxy, I fought the heavens because I could not get them into my head.

    Now that I have embraced the Church and, as GKC would put it, only seek to get my head into the heavens, I find the sacraments absolutely essential to my conviction. The sacrament of Confession is powerful, beautiful, and wonderfully moving. It is one of many “mountaintops” the Church provides for me.

    I am grateful to the Catholic Church for remaining true to the traditions of Christ, for keeping the fire burning until I had sense enough to want to get warm.

    OK, so what is this Amber that will keep me from misquoting Chesterton?

  8. "...we have to go on using the Greek name of amber as the only name of electricity because we have no notion what is the real name or nature of electricity."

    -- Chesterton, The Common Man 170

  9. Greetings:

    I suppose the website referred to by Tom is the blog: Anyway, it is worth taking a look, as a telling prove of the basic human necessity of forgiving.


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