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The Catholic Priesthood and the English Reformation$
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Peter Marshall

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198204480

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198204480.001.0001

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The Priest as Confessor

The Priest as Confessor

(p.5) 1 The Priest as Confessor
The Catholic Priesthood and the English Reformation

Peter Marshall

Oxford University Press

The theory and practice of auricular confession clearly defines the distinction between layman and priest. This chapter first illustrates the practice of auricular confession. In the performance of such practice, the author elucidates two aspects that are particularly stressed by the practice. It also explores whether some parishioners tend to choose a confessor to go to despite the identical sacramental powers that each possessed. The sacrament was designed not only to provide the individual sinner with access to the infinite mercy of God, but to facilitate his reconciliation to Christ's Body, the Church, and its members. Ideally, confession was a focus for unity and social harmony, however, there were circumstances in which the confessor could divide and stress the community entrusted to his care. In this chapter, the functions and dysfunctions of confession are presented.

Keywords:   auricular confession, layman, priest, parishioners, confessor, infinite mercy of God, Christ's Body, Church

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