Religion: When to Confess

Anyone who grew up Roman Catholic can remember the opening formula: "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned." Many also remember anxious days as seven-year-olds, learning what to say after those words, when they would kneel in the blackness of a narrow cubicle and talk to a shadowy figure behind a grille. "I disobeyed my parents"; "1 told a lie"; "I said a bad word." The ritual was required. Without it one would not be permitted to reach the bright day of his first Holy Communion. Later, if one went on in parochial school, it became a schoolday habit: the herd...

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