Mid-Day Dialogue: Confession

Yesterday, Mark Olser and I engaged in another of our “Mid-Dialogues,” lunchtime programs where we take some issue as to which Catholics and Protestants have varying thoughts and talk about them. Our subject for yesterday was Confession.

“Confession is good for the soul,” says a Scottish proverb from the mid-1600s. Most religions would agree. Verses from the Torah, the Bible and the Quran speak of the importance of confessing our sins and receiving forgiveness from a God who is merciful. But there are differences among different faith traditions in what that means. Does it require confession to a priest? Do all sins have to be confessed? Does it have to be done publicly? What happens if you don’t confess?

I opened the program by talking about the Catholic sacrament of Reconciliation and why I believe there is value to the practice of individual confession to a priest. Mark then talked about confession in the Protestant tradition and about the humbling aspect of confession. After our two presentations, we opened it up for lively discussion with the participants. As is always the case, Mark and I found much we agree on, but enough difference in how we think about things to encourage each of us to further reflection on the subject.

You can access a recording of Mark and my presentations here or stream it from the icon below. The podcast runs for 40:25. (As I usually do, I recorded only our comments, not the dialogue with participants that followed.)