The Dark Box Hardback

Confession in the Catholic Church

by John Cornwell;

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The Dark Box

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This is the sacred and profane history of confession, with a shocking new expose of its role in the child abuse scandals of the 20th century. Would you tell your deepest secrets to a relative stranger? And if you did, would you feel vulnerable? Cleansed? Or perhaps even worse than you did before? Confession has always performed a complex role in society, always created mixed feelings in its practitioners. As an acknowledgement of sinfulness and guilt, it can provide immense psychological relief; but while aiming to replace remorse with innocence, its history has become inextricably intertwined with eroticism, exploitation and shame. The Black Box is an erudite and personal history; John Cornwell draws on his own memories of Catholic boyhood, with its obsessive emphasis on sexual purity, and weaves it with the story of confession from its origins in the early church to the current day, where its enduring psychological potency is evidenced by everything from the Vatican's confession app' to Oprah Winfrey's talk shows.
Confession, he shows, has always fed an obsessive cycle of guilt and relief; since the 16th century, seclusion of two individuals in the intimate 'dark box', often discussing sexual actions and thoughts, has eroticised the experience of confession. When, in 1905, Pius X made confession a weekly, rather than yearly, ritual and lowered the age at which confession began to seven, the horrific cases of child abuse which have haunted the Catholic church in the 20th century became an inevitability.

The Dark Box by John Cornwell was published by Profile Books Ltd in February 2014 and is our 56850th best seller. The ISBN for The Dark Box is 9781781251089.

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Details for The Dark Box

Page last updated 21st October 2016
Author / Artist
Book FormatHardback
PublisherProfile Books Ltd (February 2014)
Number of Pages320
Thickness33 mm
Height222 mm
Width144 mm
Product Code4251094
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