Essay on Confession

This essay has a total of 716 words and 3 pages.


"Forgive me Father, for I have sinned." This simple phrase from Roman Catholic dogma
conjures up images of famous Hollywood confessions and dramatizations, but the real root
of the phrase has a much more obscure past. Not only found in modern Catholicism, the
confession of sin, along with the confession of faith, can be seen in religious practices
throughout the world. The simplest definition Webster gave the confession of sin is "a
written or oral statement acknowledging guilt, made by one who has been accused or charged
with an offense" (Bookshelf). However, Webster also recognizes the less thought of
definition of the confession of faith as "an avowal of belief in the doctrines of a
particular faith; a creed" (Bookshelf).

The double-edged meaning of the word "can be partially explained by the etymology" (Eliade
1). The word confession derives from the Latin word confiteor which means to "confess a
sin or fault," but in a more general since the word can also mean "to acknowledge or
avow." Thus, with the understanding of the Latin root, one may speak of the sinner who
confesses his sin, or of the martyr who confesses his faith. Regardless of which usage is
being applied, the religious rules of the confession must be followed. It must take place
in front of a recipient, or one who hears the confession. "In many cases, it is preformed
in the interest not only of the one confessing but also of the community to which both the
confessing person and the recipient belong" (Eliade 1). With an understanding of the
underlying meanings of the confession one may begin to explore the development of the
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