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Author Topic: Young children receive Holy Communion  (Read 1640 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #90 on: October 28, 2013, 10:27:01 AM »

I suppose what bothers me about this discussion is I can’t imagine a three-year-old drawing the conclusion they need to go to confession for a specific wrongdoing without having the idea implanted in their head by suggestion — even the children of pious parents.
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« Reply #91 on: October 28, 2013, 10:44:25 AM »

I have difficulty understanding why it is thought of as inappropriate, or even wrong, that a three year old go for Confession. Obviously, a three year old hasn't the mental capacity to sin, as do older children, however, I don't find anything wrong with getting any child that age to feel 'comfortable' about expressing themselves to a priest. I think that's the main idea. My assumption is that the mother/father would be present as well (though they really don't need to be,) and maybe guide the child to express themselves honestly and more comfortably.

Truth is, we can all assume for the most part, that this is not practical - three, four, five year olds confessing. Again, though, I do not see it as a terrible thing. I would like to get a priest's opinion on this.
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« Reply #92 on: October 28, 2013, 10:49:33 AM »

why it is thought of as inappropriate, or even wrong, that a three year old go for Confession

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Obviously, a three year old hasn't the mental capacity to sin, as do older children
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« Reply #93 on: October 28, 2013, 10:54:39 AM »

Very young kids can commune without confession until about age 7. I once stood in line for confession nearly a half hour as a young boy, maybe about 8 years old, gave a looooooooooooooong confession. It was so sweet.
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« Reply #94 on: October 28, 2013, 12:02:23 PM »

why it is thought of as inappropriate, or even wrong, that a three year old go for Confession

Quote
Obviously, a three year old hasn't the mental capacity to sin, as do older children

Agreed. However, do you find it wrong to instill this kind of discipline? This what I don't understand. Especially, in today's society, children's behavior is down right despicable. They are behaving like monsters - and who's fault is that is for another thread (not this one Smiley ) I still think it would be nice to familiarize them with morals and like-behaviors, according to what we Orthodox stand for. I believe Confession has this ability to do so starting at about the age range in question.
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« Reply #95 on: October 28, 2013, 12:04:07 PM »

If you fail at parenting so that your children behave badly do not expect the priest to solve your failures.
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« Reply #96 on: October 28, 2013, 12:09:20 PM »

If you fail at parenting so that your children behave badly do not expect the priest to solve your failures.

You will sing a different tune after you have children. Smiley
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« Reply #97 on: October 28, 2013, 12:10:53 PM »

If you fail at parenting so that your children behave badly do not expect the priest to solve your failures.

Fail? From age 3, 4, 5? When you are just starting to embrace your role as a parent?  In what respect? What parent has not 'failed' parenting at that age?
And why do you say the priest won't solve a parent's failures? The parents can and must look to the priests for help!!
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« Reply #98 on: October 28, 2013, 12:12:08 PM »

And Confession provides the option to BE helped!!! Hello!!!
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« Reply #99 on: October 28, 2013, 12:28:37 PM »

Maybe an actual meeting between you, the mother, and the priest would be prudent.
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« Reply #100 on: October 28, 2013, 12:34:50 PM »

For the record, I don't have children. I'm basing my theory on personal assumption - not experience.
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« Reply #101 on: October 28, 2013, 12:36:10 PM »

For the record, I don't have children. I'm basing my theory on personal assumption - not experience.

That's actually pretty common here.
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« Reply #102 on: October 28, 2013, 12:37:12 PM »

For the record, I don't have children. I'm basing my theory on personal assumption - not experience.

That's actually pretty common here.


It can be effective sometimes!! Don't knock it Smiley Smiley
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« Reply #103 on: October 28, 2013, 01:46:55 PM »

There are some of us, like myself, who believe that children are innocent, and incapable of sinning.

There are some, like I believe Mor is professing, that there are other methods of forgiveness than a sacramental confession, Holy Communion being one of them.

Then there are those, like yourself Maria, that say that children are capable of evil, and as such, need confession.

I don't know if I believe that children are "incapable" of sinning, but I also don't believe that this "sin" would render them less "innocent".  

We believe that we can commit involuntary sins but we still label them as sins, and yet there's a difference in the way one deals with involuntary sins and voluntary sins.  At such a young age, I might concede that the child can sin, but I don't know to what extent such sins are voluntary: you would need to determine how formed their conscience is, how they went about choosing the course of action they chose, why, etc.  I can't imagine a situation in which sacramental confession would be an equally valid or better option than the standard ways in which parents have been raising good Orthodox children for centuries.  

Talk to your children, teach them, correct them, love them, pray with them, bring them to the church and to Communion.  When did sacramental confession become the only way in which any sins at all can be forgiven?    
« Last Edit: October 28, 2013, 01:47:12 PM by Mor Ephrem » Logged

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« Reply #104 on: October 28, 2013, 01:49:43 PM »

Wut?

This.

Quote
Even an OCA priest said that children are not innocent, and that he has mixed feelings when celebrating a funeral for some small children who are self-willed, angry, and jealous. There are typical two year olds and there are absolutely terrible two year olds.

That's a situation bishop's staff might be handy. I suppose this BS can be beaten out of them.

But the bishop would have to know first.  
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« Reply #105 on: October 28, 2013, 01:53:16 PM »


OK. I tought this was another one example of some do not want to ban myself for posting Politics.
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« Reply #106 on: October 28, 2013, 01:57:10 PM »

The Church has stories of infants keeping the fasts, we commune infants every Sunday (in some instances almost forcing it in their mouths) and yet we are gonna get all worked up about little Johnny going and telling the priest that he was sorry about something he did and wants God to forgive him because that borders on child abuse?!?!

We're not getting worked up about children having a good and close relationship with their parish priest as if that was child abuse.  The actual topic is sensational enough without adding to it.  Nothing said above requires sacramental confession.  

I think using sacramental confession for this purpose with such young children borders on an abuse, certainly of the sacrament, if it is not also one or more forms of "child abuse".  
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« Reply #107 on: October 28, 2013, 01:58:25 PM »

I suppose what bothers me about this discussion is I can’t imagine a three-year-old drawing the conclusion they need to go to confession for a specific wrongdoing without having the idea implanted in their head by suggestion — even the children of pious parents.

Yours is a valid concern.
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« Reply #108 on: October 28, 2013, 02:04:15 PM »

I have difficulty understanding why it is thought of as inappropriate, or even wrong, that a three year old go for Confession. Obviously, a three year old hasn't the mental capacity to sin, as do older children...

Haven't you already answered your question?  What is a three year old confessing if he doesn't have the mental capacity to sin? 

Quote
...however, I don't find anything wrong with getting any child that age to feel 'comfortable' about expressing themselves to a priest. I think that's the main idea. My assumption is that the mother/father would be present as well (though they really don't need to be,) and maybe guide the child to express themselves honestly and more comfortably.

First of all, sacramental confession is not the way to get a child comfortable speaking to priests.  The sacraments are not activities that help us develop life skills. 

Second, you suggest that the parents don't need to be with their three year old child while he's confessing to the priest, but allow that they could be there to guide the child's confession.  Please see Agabus' post.  In such a situation, something fishy is going on, but it's not the kid that stinks. 
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« Reply #109 on: October 28, 2013, 02:09:26 PM »

However, do you find it wrong to instill this kind of discipline? This what I don't understand. Especially, in today's society, children's behavior is down right despicable. They are behaving like monsters - and who's fault is that is for another thread (not this one Smiley ) I still think it would be nice to familiarize them with morals and like-behaviors, according to what we Orthodox stand for. I believe Confession has this ability to do so starting at about the age range in question.

What I don't understand is at what point did sacramental confession became another tool in the parents' arsenal.  Children have been raised for generations by Orthodox parents loving them, teaching them, correcting them, challenging them, and it never required sacramental confession as a way of familiarising them with morals and virtuous behaviour.  For heaven's sake, at three, they've barely learned how to properly use a toilet. 
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« Reply #110 on: October 28, 2013, 03:09:00 PM »

This is the sorta thread that ought to make everyone weep.

Moreover than the RCs, I think this is one place where what I heard some Muslims say, made a lot sense regarding the reason for lack of moral culpability of children. Totally fit most of the studies done on the suggestibility of children and my experience having raised at least one and been around many more.
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« Reply #111 on: October 28, 2013, 04:17:51 PM »

However, do you find it wrong to instill this kind of discipline? This what I don't understand. Especially, in today's society, children's behavior is down right despicable. They are behaving like monsters - and who's fault is that is for another thread (not this one Smiley ) I still think it would be nice to familiarize them with morals and like-behaviors, according to what we Orthodox stand for. I believe Confession has this ability to do so starting at about the age range in question.

What I don't understand is at what point did sacramental confession became another tool in the parents' arsenal.  Children have been raised for generations by Orthodox parents loving them, teaching them, correcting them, challenging them, and it never required sacramental confession as a way of familiarising them with morals and virtuous behaviour.  For heaven's sake, at three, they've barely learned how to properly use a toilet.  

Excuse me, it wasn't me who took this thread into a whole other direction. I just went with the flow of the thread. I simply reiterated my question by answering it, yes. Only to state a point! Having someone mention the ripe age of 3 and Confession, my two-cents is, and was, that it would NOT be a terrible thing SHOULD any child meet with a priest and speak at that age and thereafter. I also simply stated an example of bullying, and went on to say that,  if I were to be a mother of a child who's accused of bullying (God forbid) yes, I would think it would be appropriate to bring him to our priest and seek his help. And with regards to a parent staying with the child OR not, in Confession or what have you, I said I don't think it's wrong to either be present (if my child wants me to) or not be present (if my priests tells me so.) Once again, my opinion is that it would not be out of the ordinary for a preschooler to speak to a priest. Period. Again, I do want a priest's opinion regarding this matter, for better understanding - not to change my mind.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2013, 04:19:53 PM by Faith2545 » Logged
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« Reply #112 on: October 28, 2013, 04:42:27 PM »

How does a 3 year old child get the idea that he is bad or terrible?  Wouldn't Mom and Dad have to be telling the child what a bad or terrible kid the child is?  If that is the case, the parents need to take a parenting class or go to the priest for tips to raise their child.  Again, a child is not a little aduit who know what right and wrong is.
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« Reply #113 on: October 28, 2013, 04:56:13 PM »

Excuse me, it wasn't me who took this thread into a whole other direction. I just went with the flow of the thread.

So was I...apologies if you perceived my remark as some sort of personal criticism.  It was directed more to the idea. 
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« Reply #114 on: October 28, 2013, 04:57:13 PM »

Moreover than the RCs, I think this is one place where what I heard some Muslims say, made a lot sense regarding the reason for lack of moral culpability of children. Totally fit most of the studies done on the suggestibility of children and my experience having raised at least one and been around many more.

What do the Muslims say? 
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« Reply #115 on: October 28, 2013, 05:21:30 PM »

Quote
I looked up at his mother and she said to leave him alone, or he'll get upset, and won't come to church.

There is the crux of the problem. ISTM that the kid is allowed to get away with anything at home, so any attempt to discipline or teach the child by people other than the parents won't work. Either that, or the kid has a diagnosable disorder of some sort, which needs to be managed by a professional.

Some kids are inherently docile and co-operative. Others are not, and will buck at any opportunity. They need to be shown from a VERY early age that some lines should not be crossed, and if they are, that there are consequences. Parents love their children, but should also be figures of authority, and that authority needs to be consistent.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2013, 05:23:04 PM by LBK » Logged
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« Reply #116 on: October 28, 2013, 05:28:54 PM »

I agree LBK, maybe the parents need to talk to the priest and get some parenting advice (especially if the priest is a parent) or go to some parenting classes.  It seems to me that this could be the real problem.  I would also be concerned if a 3 year old "knew" that he or she is a bad or terrible child.  Kids don't usually know that instinctively unless parents (or some other adult that they look up to) is telling them that.  As others have said, if I was a priest, I'd be having a serious discussion with the parents to get to the bottom of what is going on.
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« Reply #117 on: October 28, 2013, 05:33:36 PM »

I am so glad that women cannot be ordained to the Priesthood.
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« Reply #118 on: October 28, 2013, 05:33:47 PM »

OK. I tought this was another one example of some do not want to ban myself for posting Politics.

You've piqued my interest...I have no idea what you're talking about.  Smiley
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« Reply #119 on: October 28, 2013, 05:37:07 PM »

I am so glad that women cannot be ordained to the Priesthood.

May I ask what has this to do with the matter being discussed?  Huh

I'm also waiting for an answer to your "preaching to the choir" comment.
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« Reply #120 on: October 28, 2013, 05:38:45 PM »

OK. I tought this was another one example of some do not want to ban myself for posting Politics.

You've piqued my interest...I have no idea what you're talking about.  Smiley

I think I do. ISTM MIchal saw the graphic of the red flags and took it as a reference to something political, not as a visual version of the phrase "red flag".
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« Reply #121 on: October 28, 2013, 05:42:49 PM »

I am so glad that women cannot be ordained to the Priesthood.

May I ask what has this to do with the matter being discussed?  Huh

I'm also waiting for an answer to your "preaching to the choir" comment.

It is sad to see women disagree with a priest's decision.
And in this thread, some women pontificate as if they were priests.
Lord have mercy.

Thankfully, mothers have enough common sense to listen to their children, who come up with them to learn about Holy Confession. Let me explain how this happened.

First a mother would step up to the confessional area to confess, leaving her children on the bench. Then she would wiggle her hand, and her little one would join her holding onto her leg. The priest would ask a few questions of the toddler, then the priest would place his stole over the heads of the mother and son.

That was it! Simple, sweet, and so innocent. Those of us who witnessed this had tears of joy in our eyes.
This little boy was the best behaved child in Preschool religion classes.
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« Reply #122 on: October 28, 2013, 05:48:00 PM »


It is sad to see women disagree with a priest's decision.
And in this thread, they pontificate as if they were priests.
Lord have mercy.

Last time I checked, Mor Ephrem, Michal Kalina, and Agabus were males.  police
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« Reply #123 on: October 28, 2013, 05:49:32 PM »


It is sad to see women disagree with a priest's decision.
And in this thread, they pontificate as if they were priests.
Lord have mercy.

Last time I checked, Mor Ephrem, Michal Kalina, and Agabus were males.  police

 Roll Eyes of course I know that they are males.

Edit: added a smilie
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« Reply #124 on: October 28, 2013, 05:52:26 PM »


It is sad to see women disagree with a priest's decision.
And in this thread, they pontificate as if they were priests.
Lord have mercy.

Last time I checked, Mor Ephrem, Michal Kalina, and Agabus were males.  police

duh, of course I know that they are males.

They have disagreed with, or, to use your words, "pontificated on"  the actions of the priest in question. So what is your point? That only males may give their opinion on this matter? Or is it something else?
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« Reply #125 on: October 28, 2013, 05:57:29 PM »


It is sad to see women disagree with a priest's decision.
And in this thread, they pontificate as if they were priests.
Lord have mercy.

Last time I checked, Mor Ephrem, Michal Kalina, and Agabus were males.  police

duh, of course I know that they are males.

They have disagreed with, or, to use your words, "pontificated on"  the actions of the priest in question. So what is your point? That only males may give their opinion on this matter? Or is it something else?

What I find odd and troubling is the bolded.

Does having a penis give you more or less standing to disagree with a priest?

EDIT: Try not to make your post a punch line. Just try.
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« Reply #126 on: October 28, 2013, 06:18:34 PM »

Excuse me, it wasn't me who took this thread into a whole other direction. I just went with the flow of the thread.

So was I...apologies if you perceived my remark as some sort of personal criticism.  It was directed more to the idea. 

My apologies as well. I hate when a thread gets soo out of control!! We all have our own belief system based on a core foundation - our Orthodoxy!
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« Reply #127 on: October 28, 2013, 06:52:00 PM »

I earlier posted these selections from the funeral service for infants and young children:

You have taken to Yourself, O Savior, this spotless child, before he (she) had been tempted by earthly pleasures, bestowing upon him (her) Your eternal good things, in Your love for mankind.

O Lord, make this most pure child a partaker of heavenly mansions, and of radiant rest, and of the holy Choir of the Saints, whom You have called to Yourself, O Savior, in Your good pleasure.

Furthermore we pray for the repose of this blessed child, N, and that, according to His word, He will graciously grant to him (her) His heavenly kingdom.

He who summoned you from the earth shall make you a citizen of Paradise, O truly blessed child, numbering you with the company of the Saints.


For those who see nothing wrong with sacramental confession of a three-year-old, how is it that priests pray such things about them at their funerals, but then entertain the concept of confessing them at that age for the most minor of infractions? Do you not see the glaring inconsistency?
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« Reply #128 on: October 28, 2013, 07:07:04 PM »

For my part, I would never criticize how a priest handles the sacraments in his own parish unless it was clearly against the teachings of the Church.  None of us have all the info that the priest has.  If he felt that confessing was in the best spiritual interest of the child, who are we to condemn him?

Amen.
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« Reply #129 on: October 28, 2013, 07:09:29 PM »

The Church has stories of infants keeping the fasts, we commune infants every Sunday (in some instances almost forcing it in their mouths) and yet we are gonna get all worked up about little Johnny going and telling the priest that he was sorry about something he did and wants God to forgive him because that borders on child abuse?!?!



+1

That's what we do, though. Otherwise, why have such long threads?
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« Reply #130 on: October 28, 2013, 07:10:47 PM »

The Church has stories of infants keeping the fasts, we commune infants every Sunday (in some instances almost forcing it in their mouths) and yet we are gonna get all worked up about little Johnny going and telling the priest that he was sorry about something he did and wants God to forgive him because that borders on child abuse?!?!

Requiring fast from a 3-year-old would be equally insane. And neither fasting nor taking Eucharist can cause serious mental and  spiritual damage as confession.

IIRC, the priest was not requiring anything.
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« Reply #131 on: October 28, 2013, 07:13:02 PM »

The Church has stories of infants keeping the fasts, we commune infants every Sunday (in some instances almost forcing it in their mouths) and yet we are gonna get all worked up about little Johnny going and telling the priest that he was sorry about something he did and wants God to forgive him because that borders on child abuse?!?!

Requiring fast from a 3-year-old would be equally insane. And neither fasting nor taking Eucharist can cause serious mental and  spiritual damage as confession.
I agree.  Requiring it would be insane. I don't believe Maria ever said it was required. If a child desires to confess to a priest, should it be denied them? I will admit that I don't know of any 3 yr old that has that desire, but I suppose there could be some.

3-year-olds often demand some things and parents do not let them for their own sake.

If my three-year-old kept asking to go to confession, I wouldn't refuse. It's not akin to playing in the street.
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« Reply #132 on: October 28, 2013, 07:13:48 PM »

The Church has stories of infants keeping the fasts, we commune infants every Sunday (in some instances almost forcing it in their mouths) and yet we are gonna get all worked up about little Johnny going and telling the priest that he was sorry about something he did and wants God to forgive him because that borders on child abuse?!?!

Requiring fast from a 3-year-old would be equally insane. And neither fasting nor taking Eucharist can cause serious mental and  spiritual damage as confession.
I agree.  Requiring it would be insane. I don't believe Maria ever said it was required. If a child desires to confess to a priest, should it be denied them? I will admit that I don't know of any 3 yr old that has that desire, but I suppose there could be some.

3-year-olds often demand some things and parents do not let them for their own sake.
Sacraments?

Talking about serious personal issues with a stranger.

Oh, is that what confession is?
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« Reply #133 on: October 29, 2013, 08:37:40 AM »

There are some of us, like myself, who believe that children are innocent, and incapable of sinning.

There are some, like I believe Mor is professing, that there are other methods of forgiveness than a sacramental confession, Holy Communion being one of them.

Then there are those, like yourself Maria, that say that children are capable of evil, and as such, need confession.

I don't know if I believe that children are "incapable" of sinning, but I also don't believe that this "sin" would render them less "innocent".  

We believe that we can commit involuntary sins but we still label them as sins, and yet there's a difference in the way one deals with involuntary sins and voluntary sins.  At such a young age, I might concede that the child can sin, but I don't know to what extent such sins are voluntary: you would need to determine how formed their conscience is, how they went about choosing the course of action they chose, why, etc.  I can't imagine a situation in which sacramental confession would be an equally valid or better option than the standard ways in which parents have been raising good Orthodox children for centuries.  

Talk to your children, teach them, correct them, love them, pray with them, bring them to the church and to Communion.  When did sacramental confession become the only way in which any sins at all can be forgiven?    

I am unaware of any regular (or exceptional for that matter) practice of confessing young children by clergy of any of the mainstream Orthodox jurisdictions in America . I doubt that a graduate of any North American seminary under the canonical church would have been taught the basics of sacramental theology doctrine or practice at variance with that expressed by Mor as was taught at SVS or through the funeral hymnology as presented by LBK. What they offered here is what I was taught and is thoroughly consistent with my understanding of the position of The Church rather than that of an unnamed cleric.

As to "evil" children- that sounds MORE like a product of the novelist Stephen King's fevered imagintions, rather than Orthodox teaching. 

Are there any clergy out there willing to dip their toes in this discussion?

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