Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.
Confessing or telling one's sins to a lay person. It was prevalent during the Middle Ages as an exercise in humility or, when a person was dying, no priest was available. It was never regarded by the Church as having the sacramental efficacy of confession to a priest or as giving the lay "confessor" the right to confer absolution.