14 January, 2010

Confession by the Numbers

In the year following my ordination to the priesthood, I had the opportunity to gather a few of my classmates together for a small celebration of our first year in ministry. As we sat around a campfire taking in the beauty of the Ottawa River, conversation turned to what we considered to be the best experience of the priesthood.

The first answer that quickly came to the lips of my brothers was the incredible grace that comes from celebrating the Eucharist. To know that, thanks to the grace of ordination, we could make present the very person of Christ in the Eucharist brings immense joy to any priest.

However, this was not the first thing to came to my mind. For me, the greatest moment as a priest comes when I have the opportunity to offer the forgiving, healing presence of God in the sacrament of reconciliation. These moments when as a priest, I can become an instrument of God's hands and bring the peace of a spiritual healing of some of the most intimate wounds have sustained me in my understanding of what "alter Christos" means.

Here is an article published today which provides a perspective of this great sacrament from the lay perspective. It is a tonic for any priest who has experienced sitting alone in the confessional waiting for someone, anyone to take advantage of this healing gift of God.


  1. The implications of this post are so apalling I don't know where to start. The idea that an all knowing God, whose plans and motives are incomprehensible to us, would make some sort of pact with an Earthly institution and endow its priesthood with special powers, insight and knowledge to lead and intercede for, in his behalf, the rest of us, is a thing that could never be true.

    All of the little parlour tricks that you guys supposedly are able to do, given the fact that everyone knows you are no more special, knowlegable or righteous than the least of us, are laughable.

    Confession is truely good for the soul. It serves many purposes. It may even please God. There are many ways to confess and many people to choose to confess to. No one in their right mind would make themselves so vulnerable as to confess to a member of a group so prone to the kind of perverse, malicious evil as the Roman Catholic priesthood is.

    The only secrets the priesthood keeps are its own. To my knowlege no priest has ever been defrocked because he was informed upon by one of his own brothers, no matter how heinous his offenses against the innocent who placed their trust in him. Protection of their own is the only true sanctity that the priesthood recognizes.

  2. I have no problem with confession. Priests are not perfect but that doesn't mean I know everything.
    I once had a priest tell me in the confessional that "you caught me off guard here with this.'.
    No need to go further here about the rest of the confession.
    It was my reaction later on, on my way back home. I said to myself: How in the world can I catch Jesus off guard? He knows everything. Then it came to me: 'You silly woman that is not Jesus in there".
    Oh Lord! I get it..must be another mystery.
    I never let that episode stop me from returning to confession. I told myself it is good to make a self-examination of conscience. Nevertheless, I need to remember to pray for some enlightenment for the priest before he hears my confession.
    Live & learn!


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