The religious as an expression of imago’s fixity and evolution. The religious expresses the inner world of each one seaking representability of his own colective origin. Imagos are representations of the linkings between inner inconscious perceptions and originary affects : they result from the memorization of what the very young children percieves from the « characters » of his environment and their relationship. The puberty starts the reviviscence of this characters whose phantasmatic relationships the adolescent will modify ; the religious can give a shape and a contenant to those imagoic recompositions ; as a passing through it may so lead to a bigger inner liberty.
In the first part of this article I propose a reflection on the religious experience such as it is recounted by certain adolescents during the celebration of the « mystery ». I will then review succinctly the social order established by religion. In this confrontation between « subjective and objective rite », the second part of the article will show how it is necessary to situate their encounter at the deepest level which is that of otherness, that is, of the inter-subjectal bond. The argument will follow accounts by two writers on the mystery in question : that of F.-R. de Chateaubriand and that of A. Gide.
What does initiation mean in the vocabulary of Christian theology ? Is this word the equivalent of the initiation rites of ancient religions, whose first concern is to insert young people into the reality of adult social life ? Christianity offers another vision of this issue : initiation opens one to a new life, the Kingdom of God, and this is accomplished through the sacraments. By affirming this, the Church provides a key for evaluating the specific relationship between the present world (« nature ») and the irruption of the new world (the « Kingdom of God ») : nature is the sign of grace. Rupture as much as newness, initiation establishes a relation of otherness between the two domains, as a sign is entirely oriented towards the otherness of the reality that it must designate.
The rite is a social act which is programmed and repetitive. The ritual is a sum of organized gestures and words which when spoken, are above our means of human understanding. The rite is a symbolic act which allows each one of us to find a place as a subject in relation to the world and one owns world. The sacrament is a meeting point between two aspirations and is concerned by all the questions regarding the teenage world : the wish of God to share his life with man and the wish of man who acknowledges that he is meeting God and will confirm it by a gesture in that case the Confirmation.
The sacrament of Confirmation is one of the three sacraments together with the Christening and the Eucharist which builds the Christian initiation in the Catholic Church. This was the concern of a young teenager who went for psychoanalysis and it occurred that the religious Rite was actually questioned in its interaction with the process of young adulthood. On one hand, the confirmation can be seen as a symbolic act because of the reference to the Holy Spirit and in the fact that it includes some special gestures and words which will allow the confirmed to be integrated into the Christian community. This marks a maturation of the Christian faith. It allows the Confirmed to make its own appropriation of the questions of life, death and find his (or her) identity. It also marks the position of the confirmed in relation with his (or her) forefathers. It brings a support by the representatives of the same faith who are passing this inheritance. This sacrament can also bring new responsibilities. On the other hand, it does not take into account the physical transformations in the teenager who has to integrate his or her gender. After all, it seems that it is set in ideal world.
The mystical experience may go across the process of adolescence and may some time structure such a rehandling by bringing it either a temporary or decisive final outcome. It doesn’t dam the more or less pathological functionings but gives them a meaning. The » beautiful » Violaine resurrects her sister’s dead child, i. e. Mara’s, the » bad » sister’s child. The leprous thereby approaches her humiliation fantasy by means of one of rebirth in an idealization process made necessary to handle the puberty violence.
Hell is the place of remorse hiding behind the mask of guilt. It stigmatizes the “ anxiety of eternity ”, the lament of the patient Judas sunk in the unrepresentable and the fixity of time. His psychical position is that of a homosexual feminine identification in relation to an archaic mother, a return of death. The eternal hell is immobilized in the control of religious figurations tied to parental imagos in religious culture.
Using a case involving a treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder, and exchanges between therapists during a Seminar in Adolescent Psychotherapy, we will try to pinpoint what underlies the issue of identity conquest and the problem of homosexuality in adolescence. The « fantasy of the blade » – a reference to the religious identificatory figure of St. George – helps organize theoretical and clinical observations.
Adolescence, 2013, T. 31, n°4, pp. 917-934.
In this issue, « Ideal and idol », the authors have tried to analyze the different variations that help to understand the dynamic of the relationship between idol, ideal, religious ideal. They cover the relations between incarnation and de-idealization, the transforming power of the ideal, and the « religious moment » of the Ego. By focusing on his historical figure the myth of an ideal, eternal youth, Michael Jackson compels us to reconsider the postmodern function of the idol in adolescence.
Adolescence, 2013, T. 31, n°4, pp. 791-800.