Is ‘online confession’ approved by the church?

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Sunday, August 17, 2014


Dear Cindy,

I’m an overseas Filipino worker in a country whose population is mainly non-Christians and I feel bad because there’s a shortage of priests here that I could go for counseling or confession. They are not as accessible as the priests back there in Cebu.

I’ve been here for more than a year now and it has been my concern ever since. Then I came across this online confession while surfing the Internet. I’m hesitant to talk to anyone in the online confession without knowing if the church approves of this or not.

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I would like to know if you have any idea about this and would really appreciate it if you could share them with me.

Gwen

Dear Gwen,

Working and living in a country with majority of the citizens are non-Christians can be frustrating because, as you stated, priests are not as available as in your home country. And so it looks very convenient when online confession is offered in the Internet.

Gwen, the church made it clear that this cannot be considered as a sacrament. In other words, for a real confession with absolution, one has to meet a priest face to face. Make sure first who is behind the online confession. You can probably use it for counseling.

When it comes to your daily sins, make a daily examination of conscience and ask the Lord to forgive you when you detect you did something wrong. As soon as you are able to meet a priest, approach him and make a good confession. I believe that the Lord understands your situation very well. He knows your desire to go to confession and so He will surely not leave you in sins.

The sacraments are, of course, very important. But even without sacraments, due to certain circumstances, you can remain close to God and deepen your faith. Japanese Christians survived during the time of prosecution for 200 years without a priest. And a lively community was discovered in China which flourished and grew for 50 years without a priest. I am convinced that God gives extra grace in such cases. Trust in Him.

God Bless,

Cindy

Easy-going girl now easily gets irritated

Dear Dr. Dana,

I always considered myself an easy-going type of person; that is, I usually get along with the people I mingle with. But nowadays, one of my personal struggles is I easily get irritated.

I’ve been irritated with an officemate and I can’t explain why. At home, I tend to be short-tempered and easily lose my patience with my husband and our kids at the slightest provocation. Our own children have become intolerable, too.

This happens a lot to me and every time that it does, I feel bad and frustrated. It seems that it is very difficult for me to find reasons to be happy nowadays.

Nikka

Dear Nikka,

Finding reasons to be happy in your life is easier than you might think. It is the process of enjoying each moment to its fullest potential. What puts a smile on your face every time you think about it? Who do you enjoy being with? What makes you laugh? Make a point of looking for these moments in your life. Don’t just wait around for the to fall into your lap.

Every healthy relationship experiences conflict that can lead to arguments and angry outbursts. No relationship is more susceptible to anger than one between a parent and child. It’s normal for both parents and children to be angry at times. In order to express our anger properly and to handle conflicts with our children objectively, we must first seek to understand the role of anger in the parent-child relationship.

Find out what causes your child’s anger and why you react the way you do to his or her behavior. Take a close look at your anger.

Chances are our children mimic the way we vent our anger. Our culture, family history and the way we relate to people around us are factors that affect our behavior especially the way we express our anger.

Because anger is an effective way of letting others know there’s something wrong and needs to be corrected, it is important to familiarize ourselves with the different ways anger is expresses. People who have difficulty identifying and sharing their emotions resort be indirect and passive in expressing their anger. Handling anger in this way can also lead to psychological and emotional problems.

There are also people who want to be in control express their anger in an aggressive and reactionary way. They get mad at just about anything so it’s quite difficult to reason and talk things out with them.

As for me, the best way for people to express anger is in an assertive and appropriate way. The focus of the anger is not at the character of the person at fault but the wrong behavior. Being assertive allows you to express how you feel without blaming others.

Very truly yours,

Dr. Dana R. Sesante

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 17, 2014.

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