[Books & Culture, September-October 2003]
Does being a Christian mean always having to say you're sorry? When outsiders look at the Roman Catholic rite of confession (now more often termed "reconciliation"), they suspect it is driven by feelings of masochistic self-hatred, and sustained by claims of sacerdotal magic. Why should we have to spend this life groveling over sins, if Jesus already paid for them on the Cross? Why should we speak sins out loud to another person, when it could remain between us and the bedpost? And why should we believe that a priest stands between us and God, forgiving or retaining our debts as he chooses?
Two new books from Roman Catholic authors