September 22, 2021

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Thoughts of Sunday: who needs the Catholic confessional, when we have the Facebook church

Many of our Christian readers or even readers who understand Christian culture have heard of the concept of a Catholic confessional. If you are a Catholic, you probably know it well. For those who don’t, let’s briefly review this notion.

Catholic Confessional – Modern society has lost the sense of sin. Catholic followers of Christ must strive to recognize sin in their daily deeds, words and omissions. The Gospels show how important the forgiveness of our sins is. The lives of the saints show that the person who grows in holiness has a stronger sense of sin, sorrow for sins and a need for the Sacrament of Penance or Confession.

In practice, Catholic priests can help you by “accompanying” you through the steps to make a good Confession.

  1. Before confessing, you should do a personal review of mortal and venial sins from your last sacramental confession and express sorrow for sins, hatred for sins, and a firm resolution not to sin again.
  2. Begin your confession with the sign of the cross, “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. My last confession was _______ weeks (months, years) ago. ” Say the sins you remember. Start with the hardest one (s) to say. (To make a good confession, the faithful must confess all mortal sins, by species and number.) After confessing all the sins you remember after your last good confession, you can conclude by saying: “I’m sorry for these and all the sins of my past life.”
  3. At the end of the Confession with contrition. Listen to the words of absolution, of the sacramental forgiveness of the Church through the ordained priest. As you listen to the words of forgiveness, you can make the sign of the cross with the priest. If he concludes by saying: “Thank the Lord because he is good”, answer: “Because his mercy lasts forever”.
  4. Do the penance that has been assigned to you. Decide to return often to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Be truly sorry for your sins. The essential act of Penance is contrition, a clear and decisive rejection of the sin committed, together with the resolution not to commit it again, by the beloved who has for God and who is reborn with repentance.

Penance in the Catholic Church varies and is somewhat controversial. Generally speaking, this involves making a number of different prayers, but it can extend to specific physical acts that are often heard of during Lent. For example, fasting, putting pebbles in your shoes and taking cold showers – see here.

Watch a short video on the Catholic confessional here for more information.

The vast majority of the billions of people in the world practice some kind of religion, ranging from massive world churches to dark spiritual traditions and local sects. Religion is a way in which we humans establish a code of standards or what some would call morality. But it doesn’t have to be just religion. Atheists and other non-religious believers can establish morality through other philosophical methods.

The Catholic confessional is a rather interesting approach when thinking about dealing with infringements of a moral code – and its subsequent engineering for better adherence to that moral code. Critics of the Catholic confessional might think it’s a strange way to be a social engineer. But is it?

Do we see similar methods used today in our modern non-religious world?

Using the Catholic confessional as a model of social engineering and the new technological tools we have today, what steps have we seen to achieve these same goals? Consider the following:

  • People confess their life online every day via social media platforms. By posting pictures and stories of every aspect of their life, for better or for worse. Often, these posts are about their various indiscretions, outlandish beliefs, and worse yet, harmful attitudes and threats to others.
  • Then, on many of these same online social media platforms, we crowdsource discernment of their sins by allowing others to comment on and berate those who violate a believed code of ethics through online bullying and doxing.
  • The code of ethics, or often called terms of service, is determined by the monopoly of some social media platforms. The CEOs of these big tech companies can be considered new age Popes. In the modern world, productivity is the key: there is no need for an army of priests where artificial intelligence can be much more efficient and effective.

The Catholic Confessional appears to be eerily similar to the antics of many of our social media platforms such as Twitter, Google, and what we see in the Facebook Church. Who needs the Catholic confessional when we have Facebook.

The Facebook Church even implements a series of Penance to make society respect its moral code. Maybe “pebbles in your shoes” is problematic, but what online Penance could they come up with if infractions occur?

  • Banish the shadows.
  • Warning messages and click blocks.
  • Bans of three, seven or even thirty days.
  • If you commit the unforgivable sin, you will be excommunicated from the Facebook Church and your account will be permanently suspended.

If next time you find yourself under the control of Facebook and really care, just sing: “Father forgive me, for I have sinned. I accept my Penance from the artificial intelligence algorithms ordered by Pope Zuckerberg and I will no longer sin.

Find out more in this Sunday Thoughts series: click here.

Syndication source for the original RWR article.