Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

As we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Archdiocese, we look back… on July 20, 1971 when parishioners settled on a site for the new St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Oxford.
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M. Regina Cram

The sacrament of reconciliation is, in my opinion, the most undervalued sacrament in the Church today. It is the only place on the planet where we can receive God’s pardon and peace, yet people stay away.

Here, tongue in cheek, are some reasons why.

10. I don’t sin – not really. I’m not as bad as most people I know, and they don’t go to confession. It’s not as if I’ve done anything bad like murder or adultery or robbing a convent, so what sin do I have to confess? I’d probably bore the priest to death with tales of using expired coupons and snitching ketchup packets from McDonald’s. Unless it’s something like armed robbery, it doesn’t count as sin.

9. I’d feel funny going to a priest in my parish. I’d die of embarrassment if I had to wait in line for confession in my parish, surrounded by all those sinners. What if someone saw me? I suppose I could go to another parish for confession but that’s too much hassle and besides, I don’t know when they’re scheduled. Forget it. It’s easier to just stay away.

8. If I go to confession, I’ll become all pure and holy, and that would make my friends look bad. Wouldn’t that be the ultimate in uncharitable acts? I’d rather stay the way I am, with sin weighing me down. That way, my friends won’t feel so alone. Aren’t I considerate?

7. It’s been so long since my last confession that I wouldn’t know where to begin. I’m embarrassed that it’s been so many years since I went to confession. I don’t even remember the format. What am I supposed to say? "Bless me, Father, for I don’t have a clue what I’m doing"? Besides, I’d have to recite an act of contrition, and mine has been forgotten along with my hip hugger bell bottoms. I’m too chicken to admit that I’ve stayed away so long.

6. I’m too old to sin. I live alone so there’s nothing to confess. I mean, it’s not as if I can sin all by myself. I don’t do anything wrong; I just think it.

5. If my wife and kids found out I’d been to confession, they’d want to know what horrible sin I’d committed. I can just hear my wife now. "Is that why you brought me flowers last week?" She thinks that only really bad people go to confession, so if I start going, I’d never hear the end of it.

4. Only really good people go to confession. People who go to confession are the same people who go to Mass every week and volunteer at soup kitchens. I’m not like them. I don’t think I’d be comfortable with all those religious types.

3. The priest might yell at me. I feel terrible about the stuff I’ve done so I don’t think I could deal with it if I got yelled at. They say priests don’t do that and that he is far more likely to talk about how much God loves me, but I’m still worried. If I don’t go, I can avoid the whole thing.

2. I’m not ready to stop sinning yet. To be honest, I like my freedom. I like hanging out in bars, reading girlie magazines and Internet porn, and looking out for myself. After I have my fun, then I’ll get serious about God . . . maybe after I settle down and get married and have kids and grow old.

1. Sin isn’t what it used to be. Back when I was growing up, everybody sinned. Nowadays it’s just considered lifestyle choices. Besides, didn’t confession go out with Vatican II?

The words of absolution: (spoken by the priest at the conclusion of confession)

"God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son, has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins. Through the ministry of the Church, may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

Amen, and amen.

Regina Cram lives in Glastonbury and is a freelance writer.

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.