Confession pages are sprouting up in a hype-ish viral way which seems to taken up the attention of everyone.
ok i shall try to make a description of confession pages in case this trend disappears in the unforeseeable future:
“You submit a writing or sorts to a url which the page moderator reads and post it. This is subject to what the moderator thinks is acceptable material; names are removed to avoid identifying people.”
The writings may be funny, touching or bitchy. Readers may become sympathetic, infuriated or indifferent. Some can closely identify themselves with the confessor directly or indirectly. Some of these “confessions” may be to draw political support or to fling mud. Either way, reading these confessions, likes, sharings and associated comments can make one feel that you’ve been through a coffee shop talk.
Catholics should be able to draw a close comparison to these secular confessions and catholic confessions ( which may take place in a confessional or not). There is even a greater sense of anonymity for the confessor, since some can attest to being identified by the priests. Although it’s possible that your ip address can be traced or the intelligent guessing can be used to identify you, chances there are smaller. The end effect might be the same: letting whatever it is off your chest.
Being in the season of lent which is a time of repentance which should traditionally involve making a (catholic) confession or several. A catholic confession by principle, is by making a confession, you acknowledge your sins and ask forgiveness from God. Forgiveness from the Father allows one to be in the state to receive graces to grow and eventually overcome your sins. In repentance, you seek to grow closer to God like that of a prodigal son.
Hopefully you find your peace in God.
Confessions should remain personal. I’m not talking about privacy in this respect. You should still be able to relate to it even long after you made your confession, though as a different person that has grown. In the cyberspace you might find it necessary to divorce yourself from the confession due to the attention it is/was getting.
Why make your confession to the priest when confession can be to God in prayer? (Some other christians, especially those without an ordained priesthood, make their confessions to God in private.) Our sins do affect other people, whether it’s a “private” sin or not. It affects the way we think, perceive of others, ourselves and events and how we feel. We become what we think slowly but surely, sometimes overnight. It’s hard to keep anything private. Hence repentance calls us not only to grow closer in the like of Christ, but also closer in communion with the Church. Hence the priest bit. Also, it’s a bit hard to convince ourselves that we are forgiven without the human touch of God in the vessel of a priest.
Hence before you ‘like’ or comment on a ‘confession’ or submit your confession to one of those pages, take some time to think how is that going to affect others and yourself. By sharing to a (large) group of people in person, you place a face and a person behind those statements, in witness of God. Sharing your brokenness in a way such that others may relate and grow from your sharings rather than use it in some psychological war.
By the way, let’s hope no one gets too affected by those pages and commits suicide or do something else. It’s easy to be disillusioned by the support the confessor tries to garner for him/herself. It may seem a lot, may seem too little, may seem fake. It’s hard to find any tangible support on the web. Know the well you draw from.
I’m not advocating losing down of these confession pages. Just be a little mindful.