A priest can be a confessor
granting absolution and also a spiritual director.
In this original and provocative study, Bilinkoff raises interesting questions about the relationships that emerged from the confessional between the female penitent in search of salvation and her male confessors
who listened and assigned penances.
Certainly some confessors
had personal ambitions, whether to demonstrate their prowess in spiritual direction or to claim enlightenment acquired in the company of a spiritually gifted penitent.
His evidence suggests that the relationship between these mystics and their confessors
do not yet reflect a system of discrete, separate spheres of power, for Ekbert controlled who had access to Elizabeth's visions, and Guibert--though Hildegard resisted this characterization--framed Hildegard's visions as a part of her monastic calling, shared by himself and, indeed, all religious.
used these texts to glorify their cities and their religious orders.
The author argues that individuals who hear confession often overgeneralize the concepts of sin and guilt and suggests that they attend more closely to the psychological experience of confessors
The first of the traditional wooden confessional boxes was created by the Archbishop of Milan in the 16th century; prior to which priest and confessor
would be visible to all, but separated by a grill.
When I read of persecution of people, whether for their faith or for other reasons, I recall how the Christian martyrs and confessors
endured and overcame.
The approach to penetrating the secrecy of confession is through an examination of exempla literature, manuals or instructions for confessors
, and William of Auvergne's treatises for literate laity.
Scholars such as Sharon Farmer and Thomas Head have focused in great detail on the social world of single cults; others such as Anne Clark and John Coakley have explored how far we can ever know a saint - hear his or her "own voice" - through the documents produced by confessors
are unsuitable to sharing the inmost thoughts of young people," he said.
This is subtly manifested in the intimate series of devotional tableaux entitled "Mes Petites Confesses" (My little confessors