art by Anthony Freda
The Council of Trent made confession mandatory in 1541. It was used as a way to monitor heretical thoughts and actions by an establishment obsessed with defending ideological orthodoxy, controlling the narrative and punishing dissent.
It functioned as an intelligence operation for the inquisition. Dangerous information could be extracted with a little discreet and expert probing from the father confessor. It also became a vehicle for exposing the sins of your enemies as well as yourself through innuendo.
Is Facebook a digital confession booth? We expose our thoughts, bias, and actions to people behind a screen without a clear understanding of how our information can and will be used against us. Are we subconsciously looking for the forgiveness, punishment and promise of salvation penance provides?