Sunday, 11 December 2016

A grave matter

Sorry for this folks, but Amoris Laetitia is still bothering me, so I'm still thinking out loud and putting in up on the web as I do.

I am going to tell you about a trip I had to make to the confessional several years ago:

I went in to the box and said to the Father on duty, "I'm sorry Father but I'm not sure you will be able to forgive this one, but I am wretched and I do need to confess it, even if an absolution is not forthcoming"

The priest* knew me and went "hmmm, we'll see about that"

I responded that I had committed a grave sin (details of which I am not broadcasting) and that I was still in the process of committing this grave act, I hadn't stopped.  Also I was unable to stop because  I would actually be committing an injustice if I stopped.  There was a time limit on this, it would stop, but at that time I simply couldn't.  I was  wretched, I wish I'd never embarked on this in the first place and I knew it was wrong and offended God. I asked him if I should I wait till it had come to its sorry pass before making my confession, or could I confess then. If I died tomorrow, post confession but still sinning, what were the chances for my soul?!

The priest rather disconcertingly laughed. He thanked me, he said he didn't think he would ever hear anything new in the confessional again, he thought he'd heard it all, but I'd come up trumps.  I'd made his day.

Encouragingly,  he then went serious, and agreed that it was a grave matter.  He paused.  He  thought.  He thought some more.  He said "you are in a predicament if you can't stop because it would be unjust to stop, but what you are doing is most definitely a sin. However, it is finite, you are wretched, you wish you'd never embarked on this, I will grant absolution and then I'll go and  I'll have to think about this a bit more, but that is not your problem, it is mine".

*of the "rigid" variety, saturno-less but fond of fine clerical attire and the Old Rite.

Are there some similarities in what I did to the irregular and sinful situations described in Amoris Laetitia that the Holy Father wishes to be treated with an unbounding sense of charity? I think there may be. I'll leave anyone who is reading this to decide for themselves. What swung it for my confessor was that I was wretched, it had finite time scale (2 further weeks), it was coming to an end, and I loathed the sin and wanted it to stop.

I'm enormously thankful for the pastoral sensitivity shown towards me. 

1 comment:

Robert said...

Once more, fascinating, thought provoking! Thank you for waking my mind. Robert