The Sacrament of Reconciliation, which the Catholic Church advocates, is a rite in which the miscreant confesses his or her sins to a priest. It can be done in the confessional (old-style way) or in acReconciliation room (new way). Suffice to say, most people opt for the old way: to be spared eye-to-eye contact. I know not what the padres prefer.
Anyway, I remember the occasion in which I, or similies to me, dressed in white blouses, brown pleated skirts, and brown-and-white saddle oxfords would go en masse, as follows:
"Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It has been three months since my last confession. I gossiped a lot, and, er, I let Tommy get to second base."
"Three Hail Marys, and play clolser to the bag when there's a runner on first."
See what I mean.
However, somewhat older me was in need of a little cheap therapy, so I went recently.
"Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been three years." I confessed some more dramatic sins or follies, and then dropped the bomb:
"Father, I repeatedly used Wikipedia."
"You. Used. Wikipedia. That is a mortal sin for graduate students. I am astonished, and saddened. Absolution from this kind of sin is reserved for the Bishop. Therefore, you should wear sackcloth and ashes for a month, do the Penitential Psalms six times,and make a pilgrimage to some unfashionable Holy Place. Maybe he will deign, eventually, to see you.."
I had this image of my kneeling in the snow, much like King Henry at Canossa. Fortunately, I live in the Mid-Atlantic South.
This is a hazard of going to confession in a university town.
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