M. Regina Cram
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
The words of absolution: (spoken by the priest at the conclusion of confession)
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.