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Abstract

Not unlike confessional role-playing among seminarians or pre-sacramental practice sessions between parents and children, cinematic confession scenes re-present Penance as a traditional performance, making a teachable cultural moment out of a rite which, when performed in solemnity, cannot be observed or examined directly by a third party. For this reason, movies can be a useful tool for introducing Catholic penitential belief and practice to students in the secular education classrooms, as the author discovered in working with Catholic and non-Catholic students at the University of Toledo. Confession scenes from six films can be related to themes in medieval exempla, church teachings, and folklore related to the Sacrament of Penance.

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