I was absolutely stunned on first reading Making Confession, Hearing Confession. Annemarie Kidder integrates the many expressions of the subject that honor the basic human need for disclosure, to respond to the hunger for forgiveness, ranging from confession to spiritual direction during these 2,000 years. She expertly discerns the common thread that keeps all these various ways recognizably coherent in their historical and theological underpinnings and their rootedness in the Gospel. I welcome this as a critical and timely gift for today's church—its congregations and pastors.
Eugene H. Peterson, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, B.C., Author of The Message
This engaging book on the practice of confession in the life of the church brings together historical and spiritual theology in a wonderful way. Annemarie Kidder shows how confession, rooted in the Scriptures and the great tradition of Christian faith through the ages, is still relevant for the life of faith today. Well researched and well written, we have here a welcomed resource for both academic theology and spiritual direction.
Timothy George, Founding Dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University, Senior Editor of Christianity Today
Kidder brings to life the monastic process of spiritual fathering and mothering that evolved into the sacrament of penance, illuminating the history of penitential practices with amazing detail. She amply demonstrates how Christian thinkers of all ages, whether Catholic or Protestant, have been concerned with moral conversion and spiritual development. In the process, she assembles a wealth of information on confession as a means of spiritual growth from the Middle Ages to the present, pointing the way to a renewal of the sacrament in the 21st century.
Joseph Martos, Author of The Sacraments: An Interdisciplinary and Interactive Study (Liturgical Press)
Community. Confession. Penitence. Reconciliation. Spiritual formation. Annemarie S. Kidder presents a meticulous historical study of these five strands, which have been interwoven and separated variously through Christian history. She supports the study with substantial theological reflection. Making Confession, Hearing Confession will be a valuable addition to the libraries of theological schools, graduate schools—and the bookshelves of reflective Christians.
Mary Ann Donovan, SC, PhD, Professor of Historical Theology and Spirituality, Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley
Nothing is more useful for reinvigorating the practices of Christian tradition than a thorough and penetrating knowledge of their history, pursued with ecumenical openness. By recognizing the relationship between personal confession of sins, charisms of spiritual discernment, offices of pastoral care, and public rituals bonding the church in its members, Kidder has achieved a historical tour de force demonstrating how confession—in various forms—is anything but moribund for present and future Christianity. With its combined theological, pastoral, and historical resources, this book has no peer in the English-language literature treating penance, reconciliation, and spiritual direction.
Bruce T. Morrill, SJ, Boston College
It is a delight when an all too familiar topic is explored with fresh eyes and a fresh perspective. I recommend this book to teachers, preachers, spiritual directors and all who note the ongoing need of people to be cured, and who search for ways to respond to them.
Kidder reflects on what these theological considerations could mean for the 21st-century practice of confession and offers advice on things such as choosing a confessor, what to confess, and how to examine one’s conscience. The book will broaden the way you think about acknowledging sin.
Review for Religious
Making Confession, Hearing Confession is a highly spiritual and thoughtful addition to any Christian studies collection.
The Midwest Book Review