The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0956  Friday, 5 April 2002

From:           Bill Arnold <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 4 Apr 2002 09:34:03 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 13.0929 Re: Shakespeare and Catholicism
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0929 Re: Shakespeare and Catholicism

John Mahon writes, "David Lindley's point about the introduction of
confessionals in the sixteenth century is worth investigating further,
perhaps in "Stripping the Altars" or some similar work.  As I wrote
about the very visible confession-box in Branagh's "Hamlet," I realized
that I don't know the history of the confessional, or even of the form
that sacramental confession took at this period."

Perhaps, _Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable_ might assist, with:
"Seal of Confession: Confession is a collective term for the whole
administration of the R. C. sacrament of penance.  The priest who bears
the penitent's confession is bound under the most binding vows not to
divulge anything he hears in the confessional, nor can he be forced to
reveal in the witness-box of a court of law any information he may have
thus obtained."


"Under the rose (Lat. _sub rosa_).  In strict confidence.  The origin of
the phrase is wrapped in obscurity, but the story is that Cupid gave
Harpocrates (the god of silence) a rose, to bribe him not to betray the
amours of Venus.  Hence the flower became the emblem of silence, and was
scupltured on the ceilings of banquet-rooms, to remind the guests that
what was spoken _sub vino_ was not to be uttered _sub divo_.  In 1526 it
was placed over confessionals."

Bill Arnold

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