Confession, specifically the practice of confessing one's sins to a priest, is a quite common practice in the Catholic Church. When and how did this sacrament first originate and become codified as standard Catholic practice?
The "ear confession" as we know it today is an invention of Irish monks (some 6th century? I'm not sure). Before that time, only heavy sins (especially renouncing Christ) were confessed in front of whole congregation. Private confession allowed to confess all sins. This practice spread with Irish missionaries quickly. It was codified as mandatory (at least once a year) on IVth Lateran council (1215).
EDIT: wikipedia on the Sacrament of Penance (Catholic Church) focuses on penance, so the beginning of the practice of confession is bit obscured, but it gives further details and approves the codification in 1215.
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To begin with, I am a Roman Catholic. During a similar conversation with a group of priests, I was told this story. It was the monks who started the private confessions. People in near by proximity to a monastery would bring the monks food. They would go to a wall and place the items in small windows that would slide open and the monks would take the food and absolve those giving of their sins. This became so popular that people would make pilgrimages to the monastery to be absolved of sins. The church tried to stop this practice which only made it more popular. So to control the situation confessions were adopted into practice. I wish I was told the truth on many issues as a child going to a Catholic school. The fairy tales we were told then is causing me to question some of my Catholic teachings. If you read some posts by the devout Catholics, they'll quote saints and scripture on confessions, which I agree. However, let's be truthful about the church wanting to keep control over it's followers.
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protected by Caleb♦ Jan 29 at 10:02
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