Sacrament of Reconciliation an Existential Approach

Author: Perrin, David


“. . . Professor Perrin has contributed to our appreciation of the role and necessity of symbol in our understanding of the sacraments, especially the sacrament of renovatio and reconciliation. . . . re-examines the traditional symbols of stole, words, hands, cross, and place in the ceremony of reconciliation in light of his appropriation of the in-depth work of Mircea Eliade on symbols, their function and their power. Professor Perrin’s lucid and careful study does two things. It gives us a clearer description of how symbols have traditionally functioned to help us appreciate the reality of sin and healing which are at the core of the celebration of the sacrament of Reconciliation. Second, his work demonstrates that we have much to gain by a careful understanding of the psychology of healing and reparation in human relationships, especially as described by humanists and relational psychologists.” – Michael J. Garanzini, S. J.

“Using Mircea Eliade’s studies on symbolism and the archaic rites of renewal as its hermeneutic framework, this book presents the sacrament of reconciliation as a process where a ‘return to the beginnings is gracefully offered to the Christian believer. Rather than committing himself to a dogmatic or historical analysis of this sacrament, Perrin focuses directly on it symbolic and existential meaning for the individual believer in search for healing and for the Christian community of persons reconciled in love. Indeed, .by its capacity to maintain the diametrically opposed realities of good and evil in a creative tension, this sacrament of ‘new beginnings’ teaches and challenges us to confront and to negotiate the irreconcilable aspects of human life and history in our endless search for transcendence. This book is a fine contribution to the current reflections on reconciliation.” – Achiel Peelman

“Perrin’s methodic and calculated use of Mircea Eliade’s research on symbolism makes a notable contribution to the ambitious task of recovering and discovering anew the symbolic world in which we all live. His journey-line is clear and convincing: renewal of the sacrament of Reconciliation depends on a deeper renewal of Christian symbolism, symbolic leaving, and sacramentality in general.” – Enda McDonagh

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
1. Symbolic Life – the Nature of the Human Condition (Hierophany; the Dialectic of the Sacred; Tending Toward the Universal; Symbol in Relationship to the Profane Environment; Personal Transformation Offered by the Symbol; Unifying and Integrating Function of Symbols; Coincidentia oppositorum; Secularisation and Infantilism of Symbols; Logic of symbols; Symbolism of the Center)
2. Symbols in the Christian World (The Christian Inheritance; Christianity and the Symbol of the Cosmic Tree; Newness of Christian Symbolism; Jesus Christ – the Centre of All Symbols for the Christian; Christian Sacraments; Christianity and the Periodical Recovery of the Beginnings)
3. The Symbol of Reconciliation (An Historical Survey of the Christian Sacrament of Reconciliation from the First to the 20th centuries, including Vatican II to the present; In the Tradition of New Beginnings; What is Sin? A Model of the Healing process; symbols for Healing; Some Practical Pastoral Suggestions.)