The Dark Box: A Secret History of Confession

The Dark Box: A Secret History of Confession

John Cornwell


Confession is a vital ritual of the Catholic Church, providing absolution of sin and religious information to the trustworthy. but this old sacrament has additionally been a resource of controversy and oppression, culminating, as prize-winning historian John Cornwell finds in The darkish Box, with the scandal of clerical baby abuse. Drawing on wide ancient resources, modern stories, and first-hand debts, Cornwell takes a difficult examine the lengthy evolution of confession.

The papacy made annual, one-on-one confession compulsory for the 1st time within the thirteenth century. within the period that undefined, confession used to be a resource of religious comfort in addition to sexual and mercenary scandal. in the course of the sixteenth century, the Church brought the confession field to avoid sexual solicitation of girls, yet this deepest house gave upward push to new varieties of temptation, either for penitents and confessors. but no section within the tale of the sacrament has had such drastic effects as a ancient decree through Pope Pius X in 1910. In response to the religious perils of the hot century, Pius sought to protect the Catholic trustworthy by means of decreasing the age at which childrens made their first confession from their early adolescents to seven, whereas exhorting all Catholics to admit often rather than every year. This sweeping, inappropriately early imposition of the sacrament gave monks an unparalleled and privileged function within the lives of younger boys and girls—a position major quantity could make the most within the a long time that followed.

A much-needed account of confession’s fraught historical past, The darkish Box explores the assets of the sacrament’s damage and disgrace, whereas spotting its carrying on with strength to provide comfort and reconciliation.

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