An Unholy Experience in Confession

From an anonymous contributor to our blog

It was a long time since I had found myself up in London, and remembering a lovely “Day with Mary” in Westminster Cathedral that I had enjoyed a few years ago, I decided to join the long line for Confession that day in this magnificent cathedral.

The priest arrived a bit late gesticulating and grinning at the waiting penitents. I continued my examination of conscience and prayers of preparation as the line began to move up, to my surprise, amazingly fast. Perhaps just these two facts alone should have alerted me to the horror that was in store for me. Only afterwards did I remember noticing a man a few places before me leave the confessional shaking his head and raising his eyes to heaven.

Then it was my turn to go in. I closed the door of the confessional behind me and even before I had knelt down I got a cheery “hello” from Father. Unperturbed, I joined my hands and as I started: “Bless me Father for I have sinned, it is *** weeks since my last Confession”, I got a very large “Harrumph” from Father behind the grill! Now I began to realise that this was not going to be easy, but I was still determined to try to concentrate on making a good confession and reminded myself that the priest was taking the place of Jesus.

As I began to confess a summary of what I knew were my most important sins I was interrupted by an increasingly impatient Father in a way I shall try to recount as truthfully as possible.

Father: “Now, now, let’s not get too dogmatic. God is love. Anything else?”

Me: “ Yes. I have had impure thoughts and…”

Father: “O come, come now, these things are nothing to worry about. No sin there. We all have bodies and can’t help such things.”

Me: “But Father they are sins. The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly says…”

Father: “Oh dear me, you have a problem with rigidity. Pope Francis says…”

At this point I let him pour out a description of the supposed wisdom of Pope Francis without comment, until he suddenly went straight into some hurried prayers of Absolution without even asking me to make an Act of Contrition – a vital part of the Sacrament of Confession. I started to say it out loud nonetheless, much to his annoyance, as he had already finished his gabbled prayer.

Then came the most embarrassing part of the whole Confession. I asked him what penance I should do as he was already trying to get rid of me before giving me one.

Father: “Pray for the intentions of the Holy Father!”

A few seconds of silence followed.

Me: “Father, I’m very sorry, but that is something I simply cannot do. I am very worried how truly Catholic the Pope’s intentions are.”

Father (angry now): “So who do you think you are to judge the Pope?”

Me: “Only God can judge him, but with everything I see happening in the Church that he does nothing to rectify I fear his intentions may not be for her greater sanctification.”

Father: “Well, pray for the Church then. Now go,”

Me (relieved): “Thank you Father.”

I left feeling visibly upset, and after praying fervently for the Church in her passion I included prayers for the poor priest, a sad product of the Church post Vatican II. I also prayed for the many unsuspecting penitents who would be going to him for Confession and would be told that their sins were not real sins after all.

—————————

My background story:

I am a Catholic baby boomer, one of that famous post war generation that was given an entrancing taste of a beautiful and reverent Liturgy and a properly thorough religious education as a small child before it all disappeared. This included monthly Confession where messy sins were wiped away in this holy Sacrament, and a firm purpose of amendment made in childish earnest to start afresh once more. Then came that diabolical “spirit of Vatican II” that took away from me, seemingly in the blink of an eye, my whole world thanks to the destroyers of that hyjacked Council. Still far too young to take in and understand that the errors of Modernism had temporarily taken hold of the Church, I wandered through a “valley of darkness” for a time searching unsuccessfully for my “lost treasure” until, eventually totally disillusioned, and like most of my contemporaries, I wandered from the practice of my Catholic Faith.

The pathetic and boring show the New Mass was in those early days, and the joke that Confession had become (nothing was a sin anymore), with all those beloved Marian devotions assigned to dusty archives, beckoned in growing doubts of faith until I finally closed the doors on that lost world that had once been the centre of my universe. I was left with a heavy sense of loss all the same that I tried to fill with the ephemeral attractions of the world around me, but which only left me emptier than ever.

“Where are you, my dear Lord? Do you exist? Can you not hear my little voice crying out to you?”

After a painful period of testing, the Good Shepherd came looking for His lost sheep.

Fast forward to the mid eighties when, now married and with young children of my own, the Papacy of Pope John Paul II slowly started to reawaken my dormant faith. Together with some unexpected and extraordinary religious experiences that I later realised were Our Lord’s loving hand reaching down to save me from the waves threatening to engulf me, I started the journey homewards. I was blessed to meet true Catholic “apostles” on my journey, wise and understanding, who guided me faithfully back into the real Catholic Church. No words could ever describe my immense joy and overpowering sense of peace at the rediscovery of my Catholic faith.

Nevertheless, I was fully aware that the errors of the heresy of Modernism that St Pius X warned the Church about with great fear and trembling, and which had poured in at the time of the Second Vatican Council, were still very much alive and kicking in the Church as my above story of that scandalous Confession describes. The false “Nu-church”, IOW a watered down un-Catholic interpretation of the Faith favoured by the so-called liberals, but which dissents from the Church’s Magisterial teaching on Faith and Morals, continues to have her followers determined to undermine the true faith. Under this current like-minded papacy liberals are enjoying a gush of worldly approval, but one that will, inevitably, be short-lived.

Pray for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary promised to us at Fatima, a house-clearance of her enemies, and a renewed “era of peace for the Church”.

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5 Responses to An Unholy Experience in Confession

  1. Mary Salmond says:

    Kathleen, I thought you’d left CP&S. Glad you are still alive.
    I agree about confession, nothing is a sin anymore. Just go to make yourself feel better and the priest chuckles at near occasions of sin.
    Hohum. Come back to confession with mortal sin!

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  2. kathleen says:

    Hi Mary! Yes I am still very much alive, Deo gratias 😉. Family visitors descending on me in August and then travelling during the first part of September has kept me away from CP&S for a while. I’ve been gradually catching up and getting back into the swing of things this last week or so.

    Like you, I sympathise very much with the “anonymous” author who sent us this piece above. Those were difficult years for our generation in the aftermath of the Council when a completely different Church to the One of our childhood appeared to emerge. It all suddenly seemed so banal with its silly songs, Protestant-sounding liturgy, and lack of sound doctrine.
    Thankfully there is now a strong resistance fighting back in the Church today to restore the beauty and fullness of our Catholic heritage… despite the setback of Pope Francis’ surprise election and his shenanigans.

    I have found that Confession depends very much on the orthodoxy of the priest. The more traditional and faithful a priest is, the more attentive and helpful he is in the confessional. He won’t beat you up for your sins (of course) but nor will he trivialise them! That would be the last thing a repentant sinner wants to hear!

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  3. Mary Salmond says:

    I am convinced our laity is waking up, resisting confusion, and bearing fruit in many of our young seminarians! I am thankful for the priests who are risking their lives to do what is right. I am hopeful as I see the increasing number of young adults who attend March for Life. I am not dissuaded by what’s happening in Rome, since we have all the truths we need for the duration. If we hold strong, we can make it out alive.

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  4. Rubí donkey says:

    In 1992 I converted to the Catholic Church. I went from Glasshampton monastery – where I had been an Anglican Franciscan friar – to France. I joined the Community of the Beatitudes and was confirmed there by the Bishop of Coutances in Normandy. The community sent me to the 11th century Abbaye S.Martin du Canigou in the Pyrenees, to prepare to go into Spain in the initial group to found a new house in Toledo. In that remote abbey I had good reason to believe that confession was not secret and the “Berger” of the community was given information by the priest confessor. Consequently, and taking my Catholic obligations seriously, I went on a fifteeen mile return cross country run to the Benedictine monastery in Prades. When I got there I explained where I had come from and why I wanted an opportunity to make my confession in secret. I spoke to a Benedictine priest, calling him “father”. He admonished me saying “Call nobody your father except your Father in heaven.” He then went on to explain that confessing sins was a medieval anomaly that the modern Catholic Church didn’t take seriously any longer. I ran the return journey to the Abbaye S.Martin in confusion and despair. I had been in the Catholic Church just six months at that time. Many experiences later – including my time in a Rome seminary – and nothing surprises me any more!

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  5. Whoops! Unintentionally posted the above while Rubí Donkey was signed in to WordPress donkey blog instead of me. Sorry for the confusion! No donk puppet intended!

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