Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A couple of more questions being pondered

Some things I'm trying to mentally sort through. I don't have an answer to these. Anyone who has suggestions as to their answers or a source for more information is appreciated.

First: in the church (including Old Testament times), was confession ever only made to God? In other words, was it ever (I mean until recently; I know most all of us do it now) kosher to simply, privately, and maybe silently confess to God sins that are troubling the believer? Or was private confession (that is, to a priest/pastor) usually a follow-up to the believer's daily (meaning, silently to God) confession?

What I'm particularly intrigued by is what a solely-private confession does to our concept of the church. Does it individualize us even further? And does the practice of private confession to a priest/pastor reinforce in our minds and praxis the corporality of the church? (I'm especially concerned for us American Christians who usually -- no matter our public affiliation -- view our faith as a matter of "just you and me, Lord.")

Secondly, in the early church (this is related to my pondering Werner Elert's Eucharist and Church Fellowship in the First Four Centuries) did the regula fidei (the creeds) also include the church's liturgies? In other words, did a subscription to the creed assume and encompass a faith-full use of the liturgy? Or was the creed ever separated from the liturgy, meaning that one could in theory subscribe to the creed, and not use the liturgy in the Mass?

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