RE your article "Catholics on the Couch Lay Confession", (Catholic Herald, September II) the writer tells us that today more and more "guilty" Catholics choose to sec psychiatrists or counsellors in preference to the priest in confession.
We are all "guilty", anyway, and our "mistakes" inevitably produce feelings of guilt, depression, etc just as a flame produces heat.
The psychotherapists quoted in the article are obviously Freudians. Why anyone should seek help from a Freudian cannot understand.
Freud, at the end of his long, busy life ruefully admitted that his theories didn't work. He had tried them on himself for over 40 years and found himself still in a state of depression.
Freud boasted that he regarded himself as one of the most dangerous enemies of religion which, he claimed, was the cause of neurotic guilt, depression, fears, etc.
However, on reading his many books, we can perceive that he occasionally casts a wistful glance in the direction of God.
Freud was no doubt a genius and he argued his case brilliantly but from the wrong premises. He said that a fortune awaits the inventor of a contraceptive that did not cause neurosis. He should have asked himself why the use of contraceptives causes neurosis.
Professor Hans Eysenck declared that Freud never cured anyone. If there was an apparent cure, it was due to "spontaneous remission" (that is the trouble cleared up of its own accord just as a cold in the head will clear up without medication).
The Holy Father acknowledges that there is a human need to seek consolation in our troubles by unburdening ourselves to a friend or counsellor. But this is just a "sedative"; it will not bring the peace of mind the sufferer seeks.
To restore peace of mind is the work of the Divine Physician and we normally obtain this from Him in the confessional by a good confession.
But it would be an abuse of the sacrament to go to confession in order to obtain peace of mind.
C G Rothon Billericay, Essex