Bless me, Father, for I have sinned : Catholics speak out about confession /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Donoghue, Quentin
Imprint:New York : D.I. Fine, c1984.
Description:303 p. ; 24 cm.
Subject:Catholic Church -- Doctrines
Catholic Church.
Theology, Doctrinal.
Format: Print Book
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Hidden Bibliographic Details
Other authors / contributors:Shapiro, Linda
ISBN:0917657020 (alk. paper) : $17.95
Notes:Bibliography: p. 299-303.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A pleasant, rambling, inconclusive survey. Donoghue and Shapiro are friends and business associates who stumbled onto the subject of confession; did some basic research; and wrapped it around scores of reminiscences by Catholics--some practicing, some lapsed--who have had inspiring/traumatic/trivial/unforgettable, etc. experiences in the confessional. The first quarter of their book is devoted to a casual history of the sacrament, highlighting the fierce penitential customs of the early Church (for some theologians, apostasy, murder, and fornication were simply unforgivable, for others they could be confessed only once and had to be expiated by years of mortification and humiliation); the ""Irish years"" (500-1300), when the elaborately developed Irish penitentials, with their meticulous lists of sins and condign penances (fasting on bread and water, reciting of psalms or prayers), set the standard in Christian Europe; the reforms of the Council of Trent (1545-1563) and St. Charles Borromeo (d. 1584), who introduced the familiar confessional box; and finally the post-Vatican II ceremony of Reconciliation or general absolution, scorned by conservatives as a wishy-washy substitute for the real thing. Then we get the testimonies, an agreeable collage of quotations from penitents who were consoled for tragic losses or blasted for premarital sex (causing quite a few to drop their religion altogether) or relieved of their guilt or sent on horrible guilt trips or whatever. One useful chapter looks at confession from the priest's standpoint--or sitting point, in airless confinement, listening for hours to a grim litany of mediocrity and meanness. This dissonant chorus of believers and ex-believers suggests some obvious conclusions: e.g., the hunger for forgiveness is immense; confessors, like psychiatrists, have great power to heal and harm. But Donoghue and Shapiro are long on anecdote, short on analysis. Relaxed (too relaxed) journalism. Copyright ┬ęKirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Review by Kirkus Book Review