Wednesday, February 9, 2011

So, there's this young priest...

How many times have I been sent a Re:Re:Re:Fwd: email that has some high-larious joke about the crazy hijinks of the "young priest". One of the ones goes that this "young priest" was, as usual, being berated by his bishop because the young man had installed a "drive-thru" confessional. with a sign that said, "Toot and Tell or Go to Hell". It never gets better and yet, people still tell me that one.
That, by the way, was the joke.

Pertinent to Brad's story on the "Confession App", I am not at all surprised that people are wondering if they can "txt" their sins for absolution. In my time, I've had people try to phone in confessions, email confessions or even come in the confessional with someone to have a "shared confession". It's not the 80's people. We don't do that (anymore).
Actually, as Brad stated, confession is personal and there can be no means of translation (even an interpreter) electronic or otherwise between confessor and penitent. Why our confessional at St. John's has a cable jack is beyond me...
While on the subject, it must be stated that confession is also protected under the seal of confession. So whatever you tell a priest is to be held in the strictest of confidence (more than Area 51 level confidence..come on, Obama, show us that alien!) and if a priest does tell of what he hears in confession, it is automatic excommunication for him. Over. Out. Done.
On the other hand, if a priest tells a layman (or another priest) something outside the sacrament, he cannot enforce the "seal". The seal is asked for by the penitent and only the penitent.
But as long as there has been confession, there have been jokes about it but truly, confession is no joking matter. It's one of the best and least used sacraments.
Maybe this year we can change that. Let's try to take the sacrament more seriously...while I'm still young!