Thursday, May 31, 2007

Online "Confession" OK

Websites that allow people to confess their shame may help people get comfort from sharing their problems with others but the practice should not be abused, Brisbane priest Fr James Spence says.

The Courier-Mail reports that not even the Catholic Church, once the sole domain for confessions, is totally against the growing practice of internet confession.

Fr Spence was referring to online confessions, anonymous forums where people admit their transgressions, desires or something they want to get off their chests and share with an ever-growing and similarly anonymous audience.

A number of these forums have been created by US evangelical churches. A Florida church created the site as part of a 10-week series on ways people can stuff up their lives “ in marriage, parenting, finances and more. More people read the confessions than post them: gets about 1000 hits a day, and about 200 online admissions.Fr Spence told the Courier-Mail that the Catholic Church has "no problem with the practice as long as it is not abused".

"As far as a sacrament is concerned we wouldn't recognise it as a sacrament but as far as it being helpful, it may very well be that people get some sense of comfort from being able to share their problems with someone else," says Father James Spence, Chancellor of the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

"Psychiatrists often tell people to write down their problems. It's a bit like the old anonymous phone calls. People are able to confront themselves about what they may have done by speaking to someone anonymously. And that can be very helpful to people to share something about themselves," he said.

But in the Catholic sacrament of confession, "the sins, in the name of the Lord, are forgiven", Fr Spence concluded.


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