Freedom and Forgiveness: A Fresh Look at he Sacrament of Reconciliation
Freedom and Forgiveness: A Fresh Look at he Sacrament of Reconciliation  -     By: Paul Farren, Jean Vanier, Catherine Dooley
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Freedom and Forgiveness: A Fresh Look at he Sacrament of Reconciliation

Paraclete Press / Paperback

Expected to ship on or about 10/21/17.
Stock No: WW614984


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Freedom and Forgiveness by Father Paul Farren is for anyone who is hesitant about Confession. "Our understanding of the sacrament reveals our image of God. If our image of God is one of an uncompromising judge, then the sacrament can fill us with dread," Father Paul begins. Instead of coming to Confession to avoid judgment and hellfire, Farren paints a picture of the sacrament that has a loving God behind it who longs for a restored relationship with his children. There are two who confess: God and the penitent. In fact, God is the primary confessor when he confesses his forgiveness for and trust in the one who is celebrating the sacrament. Confession is about God's great love for us!

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 112
Vendor: Paraclete Press
Dimensions: 7.00 X 4.50 (inches)
ISBN: 1612614981
ISBN-13: 9781612614984

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Author Bio

Fr. Paul Farren, a native of Ireland, was ordained a priest in 1997. He studied in St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, and The Catholic University of America in Washington DC. He is currently Administrator of St. Eugene’s Cathedral and Long Tower Church, Templemore Parish, Diocesan Advisor in Post Primary Education, and Director of their Catechetical Centre.
 

Editorial Reviews

In "Freedom & Forgiveness: A Fresh Look at the Sacrament of Reconciliation", Father Farren examines the history of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the ways it brings us into a deeper experience of God. Totaling just 85 pages, this little book is simple, easy to read, and deeply prayerful. Father Paul’s Irish storytelling background comes to the forefront as he articulates simply but effectively the history of confession with a fresh look to the sacraments which profoundly centers a tone of New Evangelization.

Confession is somewhat daunting for many of us; yet Farren argues, "Our understanding of the sacrament reveals our image of God. If our image of God is one of an uncompromising judge, then the sacrament can fill us with dread." Instead of coming to confession to avoid judgment and hellfire, Father Farren paints a picture of the Sacrament of Reconciliation which presents a loving God who longs for a restored relationship with His children. It is an inspirational picture and one that is presented compellingly.

In Father Farren’s short book, he explores how confession brings us into the realm of freedom and forgiveness, reveals the nature of God and of ourselves, and produces in us a proper sorrow for our sins. Father Farren also gives practical instruction for those who wish to enter deeper into the practice of Confession, both in its formal parish celebration and in the preparation for it.

—The Most Reverend David L. Ricken, DD, JCL, Bishop of Green Bay

Bishop Garcia of Monterey, CA, asked me to review this book...I am not even done with it--will finish soon--but can already tell you it is one of the best I have seen of its genre.... Thank you for making the book attractive, easy to read, 'in touch' with current culture but not enslaved, and encouraging not only the sacrament but the experience of forgiving.
—Fr Patrick Dooling, San Carlos Cathedral





Two very simple words yet profound in their implications, freedom and forgiveness offer the human race a way forward in dealing with the problems and conundrums of life on Earth.  Father Paul Farren in his book, Freedom and Forgiveness takes a hard look at the Sacrament of Reconciliation and looks at from the angle as God the Confessor.  He writes, "What does God confess?  He confesses his love, his forgiveness, his gratitude, his confidence, his trust, and his belief in us" (1).   We often go around seeing God as unyielding judge who can’t wait to tally up our rights and wrongs, but fail to see the pursuing God of love for his creation.
Father Farren brings to the forefront a concept of beliefs surrounding God’s love that is worth mentioning, especially for myself, steeped in Reformational Protestant theology.  Farren writes,
"Do many of us really believe that we are terrific?  What is mean to be terrific?  Does it mean that be perfect and able to do anything?  Does it mean to have no weakness?  I don’t think so.  Are we not terrific when we accept that we are originally good and also that we have original sin?  Our beauty comes from the whole truth about ourselves.  That whole truth involves all that is good in us and all that is broken in us.  We are a mixture of both.  However, the power of our brokenness decreases when we realize that we are the beloved of God" (20).
We err on the side of condemnation when we focus on the brokenness and not speak of the children of God that we are, and yet when we fail to mention the brokenness of our hearts and minds we miss part of the truth about ourselves.
Seeking forgiveness is a difficult matter altogether.  Farren mentions that forgiveness frees that other person from the paralyzing force of anger and violence, seeing the other person as a wound to be healed and not as an enemy (32).  And yet, as Jean Vanier point out, forgiveness is never a one-time deal where we seek reconciliation and go on our merry way.  No, forgiveness is a process, sometimes life-long that is always moving from hurt, hate, and rejection towards acceptance, love, and forgiveness.
I cannot say how much this book was a blessing that points myself and others towards God and others in forgiveness.  The foundation of forgiveness is God’s love for his children, even in the death and resurrection of his Son.  This book will surely challenge you to see forgiveness through the lens of God’s love and move you toward a life of forgiveness.
—Spencer Cummins, For All it’s Worth

[This book] is about the sacrament of reconciliation, which we commonly describe as, "going to confession"... I seem to have had a lot to do with sacramental confession, both before ordination and after. This is because I am both a very great sinner and also much used as a confessor. Fr Paul Farren's book is a complete gem, encouraging people to go to confession and to allow that to be a significant way of growing towards God. It is not a particularly technical book, but focuses mainly on the nature of God, to whom we confess our sins, and of confession, an encounter with love. The wonder of this book is that it does not emphasise the centrality of our sinfulness, but emphasises that God confesses his love and his trust in us. God is drawn to us, and waits for our response. A beautiful way to end God's wait is to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation. We are encouraged to look into the eyes of God to realise the ways we may grow closer to the Divine. Towards the end of the book, the writer uses the story of the rich young man to encourage us in self-examination, and, with questions based on that Gospel story, leads us to ask whether we want God to be the God of our lives and Jesus to be welcomed into them. He also emphasises that real contrition changes our lives as it draws us closer to Jesus and his love. This is a Roman Catholic book, and refers to the new Roman Rite of Reconciliation, which is not used by many Anglicans.Anglican Times- William Scott, an Anglican priest who serves as Domestic Chaplain to the Queen at Buckingham Palace
July 2013


Jean Vanier writes in the foreward to Freedom and Forgiveness that the sacrament of reconciliation has become the forgotten sacrament, perhaps because the conceptual meaning of reconciliation may be taken as more like a "tribunal" than "an encounter of friendship."Father Paul Farren helps guide readers to a place where they want to re-examine this neglected sacrament so it becomes the mode of deeper relationship with God. In this precise book, he discusses this sacrament by looking more closely at the gift of freedom; who is God; who am I; forgiveness; sin; the sacrament; and celebrating the sacrament. His style is gentle yet persuasive as he invites Christ-followers to come closer to the God they love through introspection and outward lifestyle change.Catholic readers will find Farren's work helpful, as they are knowledgeable of the terms and phrases he uses.Michele Howe, CBA Retailers and Resources
May 2014

Pope Francis made headlines when, during Lent, he stunned onlookers by received confession publicly at St. Peter’s Basilica before hearing the confession from the faithful. However, as radically different many find this pope, his theology and practice is consistent with Catholic teaching post-Vatican II. A new book from Father Paul Farren explores the practice, purpose and meaning behind the Sacrament of Reconciliation.In Freedom and Forgiveness: A Fresh Look at the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Farren examines the history of the sacrament and the ways it brings us into a deeper experience of God. Confession is somewhat daunting for many of us; yet Farren argues, "Our understanding of the sacrament reveals our image of God. If our image of God is one of an uncompromising judge, then the sacrament can fill us with dread. (1)" Instead of coming to confession to avoid judgement and hellfire, Farren paints a picture of the Sacrament of Reconciliation which has a loving God behind it who longs for a restored relationship with His children.In Farren’s short book he explores how confession brings us into the realm of freedom and forgiveness, reveals the nature of God and of ourselves, and produces in us a proper sorrow for our sins. Farren also give practical instruction for those who wish to enter deeper into the practice of Confession, both in its formal parish celebration and in preparation for it.This is a Catholic book which I read as a non-Catholic Christian. While my ecclesiastical membership is once removed from Rome, I think that this is one area we (protestants) can stand to learn from our Catholic brothers and sisters: Confession is good for the Soul. Bonhoeffer, the German Martyr, scholar and pastor discussed the importance of hearing words of absolution from another in his book Life Together. However many of us save confession for private prayers and yet are surprised when our religious experience becomes increasingly privatized.I think Farren issues a challenge for all Christians, though he writes primarily to Catholics and grounds his reasoning in Church dogma. However what he tells us about God’s character and the experience of freedom and forgiveness is a word appropriate for us all, even if work is to be done on how to fit these wise words into our own contexts. This is a short book (about 85 pages) but it is full of practical insights worth turning over. I recommend this book for all Christians longing for a greater experience of freedom from sin and a deeper relationship with God. I give this book four stars.Thank you to Paraclete Press for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.thoughts, prayers & songs: my journey from self-absorption to doxology
April 2014

Over the summer I have had the time to read and re-read Freedom and Forgiveness. What a gift! It has enriched my understanding and experience of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and offered new insight.
  • The sacrament of Reconciliation is primarily the sacred place and moment when God confesses. The primary confessor in the sacrament is God. What does God confesses? God confesses his love, his forgiveness, his gratitude, his confiedence, his trust and his belief in us. It is God's confession that enables us to confess. (p.1)
  • The sacrament of Reconciliation, then, is an intense moment of prayer - an intense moment of awareness that God is looking at me lovingly and humbly. This is an incredible reality about our God. (p.13)
  • Forgiveness then brings us peace and frees us to love. This is at the heart of of the sacrament of Reconciliation. It is a celebration of our freedom to love. (p. 16)
Throughout the book, Fr. Farren relates how this prayerful experience of God as confessor enables us to confess our sins, experience forgiveness, empowers us to face ourselves, and to reach out to others in love and compassion.Dan Pierson, Faith Alive Books
September 2014


Freedom and Forgiveness is an excellent resource for all those who teach the Sacrament of Reconciliation, for personal enrichment, and for small group and parish-wide presentations and discussions. Over the summer, I had the opportunity to read and re-read Freedom and Forgiveness. It has enriched my understanding and experience of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and offered new insight.eCatechist: Ideas, Inspiration, Resources
September 2014

In Freedom & Forgiveness: A Fresh Look at the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Father Farren examines the history of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the ways it brings us into a deeper experience of God. Totaling just 85 pages, this little book is simple, easy to read, and deeply prayerful. Father Paul’s Irish storytelling background comes to the forefront as he articulates simply but effectively the history of confession with a fresh look to the sacraments which profoundly centers a tone of New Evangelization. Confession is somewhat daunting for many of us; yet Farren argues, "Our understanding of the sacrament reveals our image of God. If our image of God is one of an uncompromising judge, then the sacrament can fill us with dread." Instead of coming to confession to avoid judgment and hellfire, Father Farren paints a picture of the Sacrament of Reconciliation which presents a loving God who longs for a restored relationship with His children. It is an inspirational picture and one that is presented compellingly. In Father Farren’s short book, he explores how confession brings us into the realm of freedom and forgiveness, reveals the nature of God and of ourselves, and produces in us a proper sorrow for our sins. Father Farren also gives practical instruction for those who wish to enter deeper into the practice of Confession, both in its formal parish celebration and in the preparation for it. —The Most Reverend David L. Ricken, DD, JCL, Bishop of Green Bay

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