Archive for April 22nd, 2008

All day long I put off writing about sin. I wonder, would I think more about sin if I were sinning? I’m not kidding. I believe that if I were plotting to murder, sin and sin’s consequences would be on my mind.

I wonder if murderers really do confess to priests. And if they do, if they sit in those musty boxes and tell the priests that they’ve just shot a man or poisoned a woman, what does the priest do? Does he have a moral obligation to contact the police?

I’d like to be a priest, just for one Saturday afternoon. I’d like to sit on the priest’s side of the confessional and listen in. Like a substitute teacher, except, a substitute priest. I wonder if I’d hear boring sins — “I yelled at my brother,” “I stole a quarter off my dad’s dresser,” “I used a curse word at my kid.” I’d want to hear the juicy stuff — adultery and robbery. I wouldn’t want any of the crazies — pedophiles or people who plot horrid crimes.

It’s part of my family’s legend, our story, that Mom got the confessional window slammed in her face. It was after I was born, kid #5, and she went into the confessional to say that she was going on birth control. The priest told her she couldn’t do that, and Mom told him she was going to do it anyway.

I sometimes wonder why she bothered confessing. I wonder if she was looking for absolution. Did she expect the priest to say, “I understand, you’ve just had your fifth, you’re tired, you want to make sure, absolutely sure, you don’t have more, and while it’s a sin to use birth control, I absolve you of that sin.”

I think Mom was looking for a good excuse to not go to church. I picture her putting on her lipstick in the bathroom as Dad waits for her — he went to confession on Saturday around 4 in the afternoon. Mom probably planned it out, a way to get out of Sunday mass. An hour a week alone, no husband, no kids. Like getting kicked out of church. “It’s not that I didn’t want to go to mass, just that the priest disowned me.”

I need to ask her about this. I realize I’m missing a critical part of her story.

Now I look at the clock. Time is up. I didn’t write about the 7 Deadly Sins.


-related to Topic post, WRITING TOPIC – THE 7 DEADLY SINS

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