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Salvation: Just click and confess
Miami Herald ^ | April 29, 2007 | JENNIFER LEBOVICH

Posted on 04/30/2007 6:55:31 AM PDT by NYer

A woman kept her secret for nearly two decades.

Finally ready to confess, she turned not to a minister, but to her computer.

''I am sorry God for not keeping that baby,'' her anonymous confession reads. ``I had an abortion and had kept that secret for over 18 years. I feel so ashamed. Please forgive me!''

The confession appears at ivescrewedup.com, a website launched by the Flamingo Road Church in Cooper City. It's one of a growing number of such sites across the country -- some secular and others church-sponsored -- that offer a place to spill out ugly secrets or just make peccadilloes public.

''I think it helps people understand . . . that we're not here to point out people's screw-ups, that we're here to help them,'' said lead Pastor Troy Gramling, whose nondenominational church launched the site on Easter weekend. ``The church is made of skin and flesh and people that have made mistakes.''

The 6,500-member church created the site as part of a 10-week series on the ways people mess up -- in marriage, parenting, finances and more. The goal of the series is to help congregants learn from their mistakes.

1,000 HITS A DAY

So far, more people are reading the confessions than posting them. The site gets about 1,000 hits a day, with about 200 online admissions.

Lust, pornography and a litany of sexual transgressions top the sinners' hit parade. Theft, lying and alcohol abuse also make frequent appearances.

One person confesses: ''I have done enough drugs to make Keith Richards envious!!!!!'' Another admits wishing death on her enemies.

The posts are poignant and heartbreaking and occasionally frightening, like the accounts of teenagers ravaged by eating disorders and others who have contemplated suicide.

A 23-year-old man who posted on the site told a reporter in a telephone interview that he was struck by how many people wanted to spill their ``dirty little secret.''

''I think there's a feeling that you're not the only one that's out there that has messed up before and there's other people,'' said the man, who declined to reveal anything about himself or his confession.

The Miami Herald contacted the church, seeking confessors, but found none willing to be identified in print.

The 23-year-old who gave the interview said he is a Protestant who doesn't belong to the church but was turned on to the website by a friend who is a member. ''It was very cathartic,'' he said.

The anonymity of the site is key to its appeal. He said he hadn't turned to anyone in his church about the confession he posted and wasn't sure whether he would feel comfortable.

''When you don't know someone, you can't trust them; it takes time,'' he said.

Online confessionals are a natural outgrowth of Internet chat rooms ''where people have this habit of telling secrets to strangers,'' as well as blogs and MySpace pages, said Janet Sternberg, associate chairwoman of the Department of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University in New York.

''Online was made for this stuff,'' Sternberg said. ``It's the perfect environment for people telling secrets anonymously.''

LifeChurch.tv, an evangelical church that broadcasts services to 11 locations, including one in Palm Beach County, started the site mysecret.tv nearly a year ago.

More than 6,000 people have posted confessions and millions more have logged on to read the stories, said Bobby Gruenewald, pastor and innovation leader at LifeChurch.tv.

`A CATALYST'

The church has received some criticism, Gruenewald said, from people who think that ``we're trying to encourage people to confess to a computer instead of God. We just believe it is a catalyst to have people open up to family and friends and God. I think sometimes it can be misunderstood.''

A recent redesign gave readers the option to post prayers or responses to the confessions.

The Catholic Church is among those who reject the idea of confessing online.

Confession is ''the opportunity to confess sins to someone ordained as a priest who is a representative of Christ,'' said Mary Ross Agosta, a spokeswoman for the Miami Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church.

The websites, with their voyeuristic appeal, may fulfill people's need to feel better about their own behavior or moral values.

'What makes it so popular is not so much the people confessing but people going to read all these things, saying, `My life's not so bad,' '' said Greg Fox, who runs the site dailyconfession.com.

``It's kind of the car wreck you're driving by. You can't help but watch. It's kind of the car wreck of life.''

Fox started the site in 2000 while he was working as a writer, producer and director for The Walt Disney Co. The launch was ''my therapy,'' he said.

''Everything was pixie dust and fun and nice and nothing bad ever happens,'' he said. The site, which averages about 1.3 million hits a day, was ''my way of getting back in touch with reality,'' he said.

People have written on the site about contemplating suicide and abusive relationships, and Fox said he has tried to give those people the resources to get help. Others have threatened the president, prompting Fox to call the U.S. Secret Service.

He reviews all of the posts before they make it to cyberspace and has a backlog of about 4,000 confessions. Fox said the confessions are completely anonymous and that he has no way of tracing them.

'What I hear is it's a lot easier to tell the `truth' in complete anonymity. You can get feedback and find out you're not so weird. You're not the only one who feels that way or has this phobia.''


TOPICS: Evangelical Christian; Ministry/Outreach; Moral Issues
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 04/30/2007 6:55:31 AM PDT by NYer
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To: Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...
How many people desperately seek forgiveness for their sins! What a blessing that we have the Sacrament of Reconciliation. There are no words more beautiful than these: 'I absolve you of your sins - in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen'

Reconciliation: The Sacrament of Conversion

2 posted on 04/30/2007 6:57:38 AM PDT by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: Froufrou

Interesting idea ping


3 posted on 04/30/2007 7:03:45 AM PDT by JamesP81 (Eph 6:12)
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To: NYer

Dear cyberpriest,

These kind of things never happen to me, but the other day ....


4 posted on 04/30/2007 7:09:54 AM PDT by VRWCmember (Go Rudy Go! (And take McCain with you!))
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To: NYer

Jesus, the Divine Physician, knows our wants, needs and desires far better than we know them ourselves. He truly knows what is in our hearts. It is our innate need to unburden ourselves of the guilt of sin that He had in mind when he granted the Apostles and their successors the power to forgive sins in God’s Name in John 20:23. This way of forgiveness is normative, and it’s such a shame that millions of self-professed Christians, out of ignorance or willfullness, disavow God’s healing Sacrament of forgiveness for such a poor substitute as this and other similarly ineffective means. They seek certainty but find only vague comfort shifting for themselves like this, even when true reconciliation with God can be found - absolutely free! - at any Catholic Church.


5 posted on 04/30/2007 7:11:33 AM PDT by magisterium
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To: NYer
I've known this guy for over 30 yrs and since I became Catholic he has jokingly called me little Mother Superior. We see each other every week but rarely get a chance to talk alone. One day we did, he started teasing about confession and before you know it, it turned into a serious discussion about confession. By the time we finished, he was almost in tears and wanting to know if he could go to confession w/o being Catholic. I had to tell him no, but that he could still make an inventory and tell it directly to God. But by then he understood the priest's role in confession and knew he was going for the 2nd best solution.

It isn't pride in the Church, or pride in MY Catholicism, I actually hurt that there are people out there who are suffering because they have no recourse to the Sacraments. This guy didn't even know what he was missing like the Pharisees he wasn't even looking or acknowledging his sin and he was missing out on God's Mercy. God gave an opportunity to plant a seed though.

6 posted on 04/30/2007 8:16:53 AM PDT by tiki
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To: tiki

I have always heard that a person can go and speak to a priest in the Confessional even if they are not Catholic.:) Obviously, they cannot receive the Sacrament. All I know is that even if I were not Catholic, I would still go to Confession.


7 posted on 04/30/2007 9:31:45 AM PDT by GinaLolaB
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To: NYer
I tried online confession and got this.


8 posted on 04/30/2007 9:39:26 AM PDT by Larry Lucido (Duncan Hunter 2008 (or Fred Thompson if he ever makes up his mind))
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To: GinaLolaB

Hmm, I never thought of telling him that, I was thinking in terms of Sacrament. I’ll tell him.


9 posted on 04/30/2007 11:10:48 AM PDT by tiki
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To: NYer

Can you believe I came up with this idea about 5 years ago and never followed through with it. Please don`t tell me this website is making a million a year.


10 posted on 04/30/2007 12:08:57 PM PDT by Screamname (The only reason time exists is so everything doesn`t happen all at once - Albert Einstein)
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To: NYer

Check this out.. Iraq vet maybe? It`s about the 23rd one down, by someone from miami florida, 23 years old:

“I have killed four people. One of them was a 17 year old boy. He died for his religion, his beliefs and his country. I killed him only because he shot at me first. The worst was when I buried my K-Bar all the way to the hilt in this guy\’s throat. I looked into his eyes and as the adrenaline went away, I found myself whispering, \”I\’m sorry\” as the life escaped from his eyes.”


11 posted on 04/30/2007 12:18:23 PM PDT by Screamname (The only reason time exists is so everything doesn`t happen all at once - Albert Einstein)
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To: NYer

Oh yeah, here is the link.......

http://ivescrewedup.com/

(hit “enter” a few times till you get to the confessions)


12 posted on 04/30/2007 12:20:27 PM PDT by Screamname (The only reason time exists is so everything doesn`t happen all at once - Albert Einstein)
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To: NYer
grouphug
13 posted on 04/30/2007 12:24:20 PM PDT by GraniteStateConservative (...He had committed no crime against America so I did not bring him here...-- Worst.President.Ever.)
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To: tiki
This guy didn't even know what he was missing like the Pharisees he wasn't even looking or acknowledging his sin and he was missing out on God's Mercy. God gave an opportunity to plant a seed though.

That's how it begins. If properly nurtured, that seed will sprout. No matter how many millions he makes off his 'click and confess' idea, nothing will ever truly absolve him of his sins except to embrace the Catholic faith.

14 posted on 04/30/2007 12:27:25 PM PDT by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: NYer

I wonder what would happen if someone confessed online to a serious crime such as robbery. I assume that no expectation of confidentiality is warranted. If someone reported the post to law enforcement would the site’s owners would then have to reveal the name and contact information for the poster? If the site does not notify law enforcement of certain posts such as confessions to child molestation, can the owners be held liable in anyway?
Just curious.


15 posted on 04/30/2007 2:36:25 PM PDT by lastchance (Hug your babies.)
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To: Screamname

Pretty sure the guy is full of it. Maybe someone with military experience can say if what he says has a ring of truth. I don’t think it does and I call “ liar, liar, pants on fire”.

And I am going to display my ignorance of matters military but I have to wonder why would you get close enough to someone who has been shooting at you so that you can stab them? Wouldn’t you shoot back first? Only using a knife once the other person was disarmed and the site secured? And where the heck was everyone else while this was going on?

I would appreciate some of you with military experience letting me know if the scenario is likely.


16 posted on 04/30/2007 2:45:01 PM PDT by lastchance (Hug your babies.)
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To: lastchance; tiki
If the site does not notify law enforcement of certain posts such as confessions to child molestation, can the owners be held liable in anyway?

You make an excellent point. I doubt, however, that there is any accountability by this individual.

17 posted on 04/30/2007 4:23:28 PM PDT by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: NYer

No thank you. LOL! I have to laugh at the title of that as it pertains to my screename!


18 posted on 04/30/2007 4:33:34 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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To: Larry Lucido

LOL!


19 posted on 04/30/2007 4:34:25 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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To: NYer
Try real life Confession -- the Sacrament of Reconciliation gives a person so many added graces! Examination of Conscience

A Guide for Confession

How To Make a Good Confession (especially if you haven't gone in years)

Why Go to Confession? (Part 1) - Pastoral Letter of Archbishop Bruno Forte

Why Go to Confession? (Part 2) - Pastoral Letter of Archbishop Bruno Forte

Why Go to Confession? (Part 3) - Pastoral Letter of Archbishop Bruno Forte

Pulling Sin up by the Roots: The Need for Mortification

Reasons for Confession [Sacrament of Reconciliation]

Cardinal Stafford's Homily at Penitential Liturgy With an Examination of Conscience

How to Go to Confession

Fr. Z’s 20 Tips For Making A Good Confession

Learning to Confess

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- What happened to confession – Changing mores reflective of use

Confession Comeback

Repentance and Confession - Introduction [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]

The Spiritual and Psychological Value of Frequent Confession

Pick a sin, any sin (Confession gone awry)

The Early Church Fathers on Confession / Reconciliation - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus

Catholics called from the idiot box to confession

20 posted on 04/30/2007 4:36:22 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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To: NYer
In the Sacrament of Reconciliation you hear with your own ears that GOD has forgiven you. No wondering about it!!

 
enter the Table of Contents of the Catechism of the Catholic Church here
1449 The formula of absolution used in the Latin Church expresses the essential elements of this sacrament: the Father of mercies is the source of all forgiveness. He effects the reconciliation of sinners through the Passover of his Son and the gift of his Spirit, through the prayer and ministry of the Church:
God, the Father of mercies,
through the death and the resurrection of his Son
has reconciled the world to himself
and sent the Holy Spirit among us
for the forgiveness of sins;
through the ministry of the Church
may God give you pardon and peace,
and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.


21 posted on 04/30/2007 4:39:53 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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To: GinaLolaB

**I have always heard that a person can go and speak to a priest in the Confessional even if they are not Catholic.:) Obviously, they cannot receive the Sacrament. All I know is that even if I were not Catholic, I would still go to Confession.**

Absolutely true. I have witnessed this happening at a retreat. The people who were non-Catholic were so moved by the process.


22 posted on 04/30/2007 4:41:24 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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To: NYer

It is a state law in most states that child molestation be reported. I had just thought of the same question.

I bet this disclaimer will shut them down.


23 posted on 04/30/2007 4:43:40 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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To: tiki
I've known this guy for over 30 yrs and since I became Catholic he has jokingly called me little Mother Superior. We see each other every week but rarely get a chance to talk alone. One day we did, he started teasing about confession and before you know it, it turned into a serious discussion about confession.

By the time we finished, he was almost in tears and wanting to know if he could go to confession w/o being Catholic. I had to tell him no, but that he could still make an inventory and tell it directly to God. But by then he understood the priest's role in confession and knew he was going for the 2nd best solution.

I couldn't believe it when I read this...The 2nd best solution is going directly to God???

You may be responsible for this man's rejection of God and an eternity in Hell...You put your church above God...THAT is the Mother of All Heresies...

24 posted on 04/30/2007 6:29:58 PM PDT by Iscool (I'm Back...Now what were your other two wishes???)
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To: Iscool

Oh, BS! Save your hysteria for someone who doesn’t know who you are.


25 posted on 04/30/2007 6:37:57 PM PDT by tiki
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To: Salvation

“Try real life Confession”

Boy, would I like to. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to be able to run a priest to ground.


26 posted on 04/30/2007 7:02:08 PM PDT by dsc (There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men. Edmund Burke)
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To: dsc

dsc: I’ve seen you make that same lament before. The situation you are in is outrageous! If it is literally as bad as you make it out to be, you should write to your bishop and let him know what’s going on. I know Idaho is a pretty big state, but perhaps you could set up an appointment at the cathedral to have your confession heard. If your bishop will not accomodate you with either an order to his priests in your parish area to do their duty, or with confession being made available in his own cathedral, you *really* should write to Rome about your situation. Your bishop and a good number of his priests certainly could use a good thrashing from Rome to get them reacquainted with their “Sensus Catholicus.”


27 posted on 04/30/2007 7:48:07 PM PDT by magisterium
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I thought confessions were supposed to be kept confidential, not just anonymous.


28 posted on 04/30/2007 10:36:46 PM PDT by D-fendr
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To: magisterium

“you should write to your bishop “

If you google Michael Driscoll, I think you’ll see why I don’t.

“you *really* should write to Rome about your situation.”

Short of firing Driscoll and bringing in a bishop that makes Dirty Harry look like a wuss, nothing’s going to happen. These priests are actively hostile to any suggestion that there’s anything wrong...as one would expect from men who are hard-core leftists first and priests second, or maybe third.


29 posted on 05/01/2007 7:26:53 AM PDT by dsc (There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men. Edmund Burke)
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To: dsc
Prepare a letter to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Document the situation as best you can. Get multiple signatures on your letter. Inform your bishop that you are about to send the documentation to the CDW (thus fulfilling your end of Matthew 18’s requirements) unless you get immediate and lasting redress of your grievance. If nothing is forthcoming from him, send your package off to the CDW in Rome.

This is a serious matter. You and your fellow Catholics, as I understand the situation, are being deprived of your right to a Sacrament which restores sanctifying grace to those in mortal sin, strengthens those in venial sin, and is a prerequisite to the non-sacrilegious reception of the Eucharist and other Sacraments for those currently in serious sin. If you can document that this is a widespread situation in your diocese due to the spiritual malfeasance and misfeasance of your bishop, YOU BETTER BELIEVE that Rome will be *quite* interested in hearing about it!

Please undertake the necessary documentation. It sounds as though you owe it to yourself and only God knows how many others. In the meantime, it might be to your advantage if you could travel outside of the diocese and “take care of business.” If you are deprived of the other Sacraments because you can’t get to confession, it might be well worth a little traveling to remedy the situation.

30 posted on 05/01/2007 9:00:34 AM PDT by magisterium
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To: D-fendr

Individual confessions must be kept confidential. The circumstances under which confession is offered by a diocese are certainly open for public discussion or appeals for redress, especially when the situation in question is that the bishop is not doing his job by seeing to it that confession is obtainable in the first place.


31 posted on 05/01/2007 9:06:48 AM PDT by magisterium
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To: magisterium

Thanks for your encouragement.

The first two things to be dealt with, as I see it, are:

1. There are lots of poorly catechised sheeple in this diocese who are content because they don’t know any better.

2. I don’t know how I would get in touch with those who do know better.


32 posted on 05/01/2007 11:38:29 AM PDT by dsc (There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men. Edmund Burke)
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To: GinaLolaB; tiki

I saw an interview with priests at St. Pats in New York who said he has a couple of Jewish guys a week come in. That of course he couldn’t grant them absolution, but hey! The absolution comes from God not from the Priest, it’s just through the offices of the Priest that it is delivered.


33 posted on 05/01/2007 11:54:00 AM PDT by ichabod1 ("Liberals read Karl Marx. Conservatives UNDERSTAND Karl Marx." Ronald Reagan)
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To: ichabod1

That is a great story.


34 posted on 05/01/2007 2:37:57 PM PDT by GinaLolaB
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