By Ken Sehested
Concealment makes the soul a swamp. Confession is how you drain it.
—Charles M. Blow
Except in a few traditional religious settings, penitence is a relatively unknown word. While its more common synonyms—confession, apology, contrition, and repentance—are standard parts of many church liturgies, the images they convey have generally fallen out of favor. There are good reasons why this is so. The primary definition of penance is “voluntary self-punishment inflicted as an outward expression of repentance for having done wrong.” A web search for penance reveals more than a few pictures of people whipping themselves. Continue reading