Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Confession, in an ecclesiastical sense, signifies the avowal of sin, sometimes, as in early times, to the congregation at large, and sometimes to the priest, who is looked on as the vehicle of forgiveness. No ecclesiastical question has more heated men's blood, and it still forms an ecclesiastical "red rag." Private confession seems first to have become habitual about the fifth century; the Lateran Council of 1215 made it optional; the Council of Trent made it obligatory, or nearly so. Auguste Comte (q.v.) has strongly commended it.