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in law, the formal admission of criminal guilt, usually obtained in the course of examination by the police or prosecutor or at trial. For a confession to be admissible as evidenceevidence,
in law, material submitted to a judge or a judicial body to resolve disputed questions of fact. The rules discussed in this article were developed in England for use in jury trials.
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 against an accused individual, it generally must have been procured voluntarily after the person was informed of his or her right to remain silent and right to consult an attorney (see Miranda v. ArizonaMiranda v. Arizona,
U.S. Supreme Court case (1966) in the area of due process of law (see Fourteenth Amendment). The decision reversed an Arizona court's conviction of Ernesto Miranda on kidnapping and rape charges.
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). If a confession is obtained through torture, threats, prolonged interrogation, or false promises of immunity from prosecution, it is inadmissible, but law enforcement officials may and do use psychological pressure, which can lead to false confessions. A signed confession is presumed to be voluntary, and the accused must introduce proof that it was extorted in order to prevent its introduction at the trial. In 1981 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that murder defendants should be informed of their right to remain silent during interviews with psychologists, who might later testify for the prosecution that the client was "dangerous" and thus deserving of a stiff penalty. A 1986 ruling stated that a criminal defendant entering a plea of "not guilty" had the right to describe to the court how his confession was obtained by police. The ideal of a voluntary confession was upset recently, however, in the case of Arizona v. Fulminante (1991). There, the Supreme Court ruled that coerced confessions do not invariably nullify a conviction, but can be regarded merely as "harmless errors"—at least where additional incriminating evidence is available. Usually, a person who does not plead guilty cannot be convicted solely on the basis of his confession.


See P. Brooks, Troubling Confessions: Speaking Guilt in Law and Literature (2000).

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Confessional inside the Cathedral of St. Pol-de-Leon, Brittany, France. Fortean Picture Library.


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

A Christian "confession" carries with it the meaning of agreeing to a particular statement of faith. For example, the minister sometimes invites a congregation to read the Apostles' Creed (see Gnosticism) by saying, "Let us together make our confession of faith." But perhaps the most familiar meaning of the word refers to the Catholic tradition of confessing ad auriculam, "into the ear of" a priest. The practice began in the medieval church. The Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 declared confession had to be at least an annual event if the confessor wanted to receive the host during Eucharist. In the sixteenth century, in order to provide privacy and a more substantial ritual, confessional stalls began to be used. It has always been the law of the land that anything said to a priest was absolutely confidential. The priest took a holy vow that he was bound not to reveal anything told him in the confessional. But recently, as a result of child-abuse scandals in the Catholic church, state legislatures are beginning to question the practice of excusing priests and ministers from lists of people, such as doctors and social workers, who are required to report instances of child abuse. In May 2002 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, for example, eliminated from the list of exceptions ministers of denominations who did not use confessionals by tradition.

Terrorist threats raised more questions. If a terrorist, seeking to save his soul after committing murder, confesses to a priest bound by the power of the confessional, is the priest obligated to remain silent?

It remains to be seen how long the Church will be able to hold out from social pressure requiring, for the public good, at least some confidentiality to be discarded.

confession, confessio

1.The tomb of a martyr or confessor; if an altar was erected over the grave, the name was also extended to the altar and to the subterranean chamber in which it stood; in later times a basilica was sometimes erected over the chamber and the entire building was known as a confession.
2. The space immediately below, or in front of, the primary altar of a church.


1. Christianity Chiefly RC Church the act of a penitent accusing himself of his sins
2. confession of faith a formal public avowal of religious beliefs
3. a religious denomination or sect united by a common system of beliefs
References in periodicals archive ?
Confessione e dichiarazione delle parti nella giurisprudenza della Rota, en S.
In chapter four, entitled "The Body and the Book," she analyzes Confessiones more closely.
158: 'viri claustrum vel officinas et oratorium Sororum nunquam ingrediantur, nisi sacerdos propter infirmas in confessione audiendas et communicandas et inungendas, aut et medicus et architectus, quando opera eorum fuerit necessaria.
Si tratta di quegli stessi monaci che introdussero il Penitenziale e la confessione privata in luogo di quella pubblica.
Como ya nos proponia el pasaje citado de las Confessiones, la delectacion sensible puede desviarnos del camino, quedandose en la belleza fragil y pobre de las cosas que cambian, o bien, a partir de la consideracion de esa belleza, ser elevada a lo superior, que es aun mas bello por encontrarse fuera del tiempo y ser inmutable.
These 13 essays, contributed by scholars writing from the perspective of Augustine, Heidegger, or both, detail Heidegger's sources and themes as they relate to Augustine, in particularly as Heidegger interpreted Confessiones X, his thought on hermeneutic phenomenology and gnosticism, the two men's convergence and dissimilarity on desire and questioning, and the what related work of Jonas, Arendt, Gadamer and Eckhart has to say about what was a productive if sometimes adversarial relationship.
Pase a mandar a mis vasallos los espanoles a que creyessen que era guerra de Religion la que se hacia, porque, si desenganados reconociessen mi engano, seria mi total mina; y para esto, sabiendo que veneran a los eclesiasticos y que, una vez imprisionados [sic] en un error que aprehenden como verdad clara, es dificil el apartados del, mande que en los pulpitos, confessiones y en editos del Santo Tribunal se siguiesse mi partido, temiendo mi mina, consiguiendo por este medio la destruicion suya antes que la mia, si bien reconozco ser ambas ciertas".
Thus, according to Borges, the prophetic origin of modern universalism is found in a certain passage from Snorri's Heimskringla ("El pudor de la historia"); the primal scene of silent reading has been registered in a chapter of Augustine's Confessiones ("El culto de los libros"); the transition from allegory to novel occurs in a line from Chaucer's translation of Boccaccio's Teseida ("De las alegorias a las novelas'); etc.
Agustin de Tagaste, en Confessiones, desvela su reconditez y su silencio interiores.
Book Info:SAINT AUGUSTINE'S MEMORY Confessiones Book Two Augustine; Garry Wills (translator) Publisher:New York: Viking Press, 2002 240 pp.
Templi magni angulos omnes plusquam ducenti aut trecenti sacrificuli diobalares, qui ex pagis confluxerant audituri confessiones, occupabant.
Thus we move swiftly through Augustine's various commentaries on Genesis (Contra Manichaeos, Imperfectus, Ad Litteram, and Confessiones XI-XIII), the Contra epistulam Manichaei quam uocant Fundamenti, the De Natura Boni, and the Contra Faustum.