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IN THEORY:Are online confessionals valid?

September 08, 2007

Several online confessionals have popped up for sinners to admit transgressions anonymously. Do you approve of this confessional form or do should congregants do it traditionally — either face-to-face with a priest or anonymously through a confessional?

Admitting one’s mistakes is always healthy, even anonymously. The healing, however, takes place when people are willing to stop living in the emotional history of the mistake, make amends if necessary or possible, and forgive themselves. For many, mistakes are too easy to live in because they require no personal responsibility to heal and they allow you the luxury of feeling sorry for themselves . Only forgiveness will turn the page, and it would be a mistake not to turn the page.

Pastor Jim Turrell

Center For Spiritual Discovery

Costa Mesa

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The Protestant church does not rely on a formal priesthood, but follows the Apostle Peter’s teaching that all who follow Jesus are part of the royal priesthood. This means we can open our lives to another believer for ministry and prayer, and do not need to rely on a “holy” person. Anyone who has lived with guilt or shame and has been able to talk to someone about it knows how freeing it is. This can happen in cyberspace, but the missing part is the inability to have another believer pray for you to be made whole again. Cyber-confession can be one step to wholeness, but only the first one. The body of Christ (the Church) is the agent of healing as we pray for those who come in need.

Ric Olsen

Lead Pastor, The Beacon

In the Roman Catholic tradition, Confession (or the sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation) is the celebration of God’s merciful love, which grants a person the forgiveness of one’s sins through the death and resurrection of Christ, who, through the ministry of the Church, reconciles the penitent to God and to others.

The Catholic Church teaches that God forgives our sins when we repentantly approach the sacrament of confession, willed and instituted by Jesus Christ.

Consequently, confession is a happy occasion because it is a profoundly personal encounter with Jesus, not an anonymous cyberspace event.

The listener is not an e-mail addressee but Jesus Christ, Who loves and pardons us in response to our sorrow and His grace.

Our Lady Of Mount Carmel Church

Newport Beach

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