Confession as “Breakthrough to community”

Impulses from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s theology for an individualized and polarized world


  • Christoph Barnbrock



confession, loneliness, reconciliation, anthropology, shame


Based on Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s threefold definition of confession as a “breakthrough,” this essay explores the question of the extent to which confession, which has largely fallen out of practice, can still have significance for state and society in the 21st century. In doing so, the practice of confession is brought into dialogue with the trends and challenges of our time. In this way, it becomes apparent that, viewed through the lens of confession, being human appears in a new light. The feeling of shame can be overcome through the new experience of fellowship. Evil no longer has to be excluded from perception. But it is precisely in this way that repentance, change of behaviour and mutual reconciliation become possible.