True Confession

There’s an app for everything these days — even one for helping you unburden your cluttered Catholic conscience. A new download, called “Confession: A Roman Catholic App,” helps users navigate the sacrament of reconciliation. It’s like a workbook to prepare you for penance.

One thing the app doesn’t do is replace the actual act of going face-to-face with a priest. Too bad.

When I was a wee lad — probably eight years old — my mother took me to confession at our local church. I was a little shaky on memorization and couldn’t recite the Act of Contrition. The priest, rather than helping me out, yelled at me from behind the darkened screen and told me I’d better get my act together.

I was a bit rattled, but it’s what came after that knocked my socks off. My mother stormed from the confessional and dragged me out of the church. The priest told her I didn’t know my prayers. Imagine the embarrassment of going to confession and hearing that your kid’s a lousy Catholic.

We were told at religious education class that what happens in the confessional is confidential. Apparently not.

Looking back, I probably deserved a kick in the ass for not working hard enough, but after that I always avoided the confessional. It’s funny the things that stick in your head forty years later.

8 thoughts on “True Confession

  1. ..which is why of my sainted mother’s many pithy sayings this was one of my favorites..

    Love God.. not too wild about the church..

  2. Your mother had it right. I’m sick of the church and its foolish traditions.

    Catholicism is due for big changes — or else it’s going to vanish. First thing? Let the priests marry like clergy of every other faith. Dear Vatican, get your head out of your — ummm… dogma.

  3. It was that kind of crap that started me on the road to over two decades of atheism. I had a priest get rather impatient with me as well for not knowing the exact wording. Now, The Church is dying.

    This reminds me of another childhood story. I went to a Catholic school from Grades 1-6 and high school. Our first grade teacher once told us that if we didn’t behave and do things like keep our rooms clean, God might not watch over our brothers and let them get drafted and killed in Viet Nam.

    I ended up with a very warped view of God, and it was just easier to believe that He didn’t exist than think that He was Evil Being who murdered people for minor transgressions like misspeaking prayers and not dusting dressers.

  4. Thanks for looking out for me Sue, but that story was all over the radio and newspapers yesterday morning. Lots of people wrote about it — and it gave me a great excuse to tell a story I’ve been thinking of posting.

  5. I won’t add my boring story of why I am no longer Catholic. Suffice to say, I was raised *very* Catholic and today I am no longer Catholic. I love what the other commenter’s mom said, “Love God…not too wild about the church”

    I’ve said for years if the Catholic church would grow and change for the times it would not be the dying institution it is today.

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