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.