/keuhn fesh"euhn/, n.1. acknowledgment; avowal; admission: a confession of incompetence.2. acknowledgment or disclosure of sin or sinfulness, esp. to a priest to obtain absolution.3. something that is confessed.4. a formal, usually written, acknowledgment of guilt by a person accused of a crime.5. Also called confession of faith. a formal profession of belief and acceptance of doctrines, as before being admitted to church membership.6. the tomb of a martyr or confessor or the altar or shrine connected with it.[1350-1400; < L confession- (s. of confessio), equiv. to confess- (see CONFESS) + -ion- -ION; r. ME confessioun < AF]
* * *In the Judeo-Christian tradition, acknowledgment of sinfulness, in public or private, regarded as necessary for divine forgiveness.In the Temple period, Yom Kippur included a collective expression of sinfulness, and the day continues in Judaism as one of prayer, fasting, and confession. The early Christian Church followed John the Baptist's practice of confession before baptism, but soon instituted confession and penance for the forgiveness of sins committed after baptism. The fourth Lateran Council (1215) required annual confession. The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches consider penance a sacrament, but most Protestant churches do not.
* * *▪ lawin criminal law, a voluntary statement made by a person charged with a crime in which he acknowledges that he is guilty of committing that crime. The statement may be made in court in the course of legal proceedings, or it may be made out of court to any person, either an official or a nonofficial.A confession admits the entire criminal charge, whereas an admission covers only particular facts in the charge. Although a confession is competent evidence of guilt, it is not necessarily sufficient evidence of guilt. It must usually be corroborated by other competent evidence. And most important, the circumstances under which the confession was given may negate its value by making it inadmissible as evidence. See also interrogation.in literature, an autobiography, either real or fictitious, in which intimate and hidden details of the subject's life are revealed. The first outstanding example of the genre was the Confessions of St. Augustine (Augustine, Saint) (c. AD 400), a painstaking examination of Augustine's progress from juvenile sinfulness and youthful debauchery to conversion to Christianity and the triumph of the spirit over the flesh. Others include the Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1822), by Thomas De Quincey (De Quincey, Thomas), focusing on the writer's early life and his gradual addiction to drug taking, and Confessions (1782–89), the intimate autobiography of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. André Gide used the form to great effect in such works as Si le grain ne meurt (1920 and 1924; If It Die...), an account of his life from birth to marriage.Such 20th-century poets as John Berryman, Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, and Anne Sexton wrote poetry in the confessional vein, revealing intensely personal, often painful perceptions and feelings.Also in the tradition are the “confession magazines,” collections of sensational and usually purely fictional autobiographical tales popular in the mid-20th century.▪ religionin the Judeo-Christian tradition, the acknowledgment of sinfulness in public or private, regarded as necessary to obtain divine forgiveness. The need for confession is frequently stressed in the Bible. The mission of the Old Testament (Judaism) prophets was to awaken in the people a sense of sinfulness and an acknowledgment of their guilt, both personal and collective. Before the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem (AD 70), the sin offerings on the Day of Atonement ( Yom Kippur) were prefaced by a collective expression of sinfulness (Lev. 16:21), and, since the destruction of the Temple, the Day of Atonement has continued in Judaism as a day of prayer, fasting, and confession.In the New Testament the public ministry of Jesus was prepared for by John the Baptist, who baptized the people; the Baptism was accompanied by a public confession of sins (Matt. 3:6). The necessity of confession is discussed in many places in the New Testament, although there is no direct evidence that confession had to be specific or detailed or that it had to be made to a priest.A detailed confession to a bishop or priest, however, appeared early in the church's history. In the 5th-century discipline of the Roman Church (Roman Catholicism), the practice was to hear confessions at the beginning of Lent and to reconcile the penitents on Holy Thursday. Gradually, however, the practice of reconciling, or absolving (absolution), sinners immediately after confession and before fulfillment of penance was introduced. By the end of the 11th century, only notorious sinners were reconciled on Holy Thursday. Often, those guilty of serious sins put off penance until death approached. To correct this abuse, the fourth Lateran Council (1215) established the rule that every Christian should confess to a priest at least once a year.In modern times the Roman Catholic Church teaches that penance is a sacrament, instituted by Christ, in which a confession of all serious sins committed after Baptism is necessary. The doctrine of the Eastern Orthodox churches (Eastern Orthodoxy) concerning confession agrees with that of the Roman Catholic Church.During the Reformation the Church of England (England, Church of) resisted attempts to have all references to private confession and absolution removed from the prayer book. In the 19th century, the Oxford movement encouraged a revival of private confession, and it was accepted by some Anglo-Catholics. Many Anglicans (Anglicanism), however, favour the general confession and absolution of the Communion service.Most Protestants (Protestantism) regard the general confession and absolution of the Communion service as sufficient preparation for the Lord's Supper. Among Lutherans (Lutheranism), private confession and absolution survived the Reformation for a time but were eventually given up by most members. John Calvin (Calvin, John) also recognized the value of private confession and absolution for those troubled in conscience, but he denied that such confession was a sacrament or that it was necessary for the forgiveness of sins. In some Pentecostal (Pentecostalism) and Fundamentalist (fundamentalism, Christian) churches, confession of sins is an important part of the worship service.Most Protestants consider auricular or private confession to be unbiblical and consider confession viewed as a sacrament to be equally unbiblical. These Protestants stress that God alone can forgive sins.
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