September 17, 2007

Confession is good for the soul

Forward Operating Base LMC got a new Catholic chaplain in early August. This fellow is young, fired up, and definitely not the type to deliver homilies sprinkled with Hallmark greeting-card platitudes. He has been driving home the importance of taking advantage of the sacrament of reconciliation regularly and ends the Mass with: "I am always available for confession!"

Now "regularly" to me usually meant yearly (if not occasionally decennially). The chaplain observed yesterday the late John Paul II advised going to confession at least weekly and certainly no less than monthly. In the chaplain's way of seeing it-the soul is like a car and requires regular care and maintenance. That finally got me off my duff and in to see him after Mass was over.

The priest's method of administering the sacrament was different than any other--he had a very comprehensive list of questions. His method ensures nothing is missed and gives advice along the way for dealing with challenges in the future. I'll be back to see him in a few weeks, certainly no more than a month.

Posted by LMC at September 17, 2007 02:16 AM | TrackBack

My wife and I went to Italy after we got married, and spent some time at the Vatican. While there, I had the sudden inspiration to go to confession. The priest was a hard-core hombre from Poland, and I think I may have been confessing to unlawful carnal knowledge of Julia Child and such -- it was tough to tell with his heavy accent. I emerged after what seemed like hours, and my lovely bride was shaking her head. "You idiot," she said, "you don't go to confession at the Home Office".

On the bright side, we managed to get into the front newlywed section for JP II's weekly audience. Really amazing. We'll never forget that.

Posted by: tdp at September 17, 2007 06:20 AM

TDP---You might need to revise and extend your remarks. You do remember that, since it was Halloween, it was a dude dressed up like Julia Childs, right? And there was a donkey involved, if memory serves right.

Posted by: Steve the LLamabutcher at September 17, 2007 07:34 AM

I go once a month. Like a bath, whether I need it or not.

Padre Pio's formula was "weekly confession, daily mass". In the modern world, that's a tough row to hoe, given the time constraints.

My practice is to confess in a different parish than I usually attend -- my father's advice, and I think it is good advice. I can tell you the most people I've ever seen there for confession is 3; usually it's just me and maybe one other benighted soul. Sometimes it's just me. It is the least used of Sacraments, and probably the one most in need of use. The 4:00 Saturday mass in that parish, immediately following, is usually well attended -- 50-60 people, mostly old folks. It is perhaps an uncharitable observation, but older people are sometimes under the illusion that they do not commit sin. Everyone goes to communion, no one goes to confession. Granted, suffering the indignities of old age is a penance in itself, but my hope is that when I'm old, I'll be on Pio's schedule. I do not believe in taking chances.

Posted by: The Colossus at September 17, 2007 09:14 AM

Steve-O - I'm not sure you've seen how some things have changed since you've left the Church. At least I sure don't remember such extensive interrogations when I was an altar boy (maybe because my angelic nature shown through...and because I usually went while wearing the robe). But it's a serious theological game show now. ("I'll take Lust for $400"). Tough on prizes, this one. Remember Glengarry Glen Ross and the sales contest? "First prize, Cadillac. Second prize, steak knives. Third prize, you're fired." Maybe we're now "First prize, salvation (until you sin again, that is). Second prize, Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco treat. Third prize, 250 Hail Marys and you have to teach 8th grade CCD".

So when should we move over in the pew to make room for your clan? (NOTE: the preceeding sentence was sponsored by Steve-O's mother) We'll keep a candle on for ya.

Posted by: tdp at September 17, 2007 02:17 PM