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Jason Holliston
Tuesday, March 15, 2005  
Confession in the 21st Century

My fiance and I went to a reconciliation service at a nearby church today, in preparation for Easter Sunday. It was an extra special day for her: her first confession. (Or first reconciliation, as they call it more often, and probably more correctly, now. Reconciliation is the whole process, in which confession is a part of.) For me, it's been about 26 years since my first confession, but I do remember a vague feeling of fear at confessing my sins to a priest. And I was eight years old. I can only imagine what it was like to do that for an adult the first time.

There were four priests there, and enough laypeople to make some serious lines. Here's the downside, for me: only one of the four actually had a screen separating him from the confessing. All the rest required you to sit down and face them directly. I decided to suck it up and go for a seemingly shorter line that lead to the face-to-face situations.

I've done this before, but not for a while; it always makes me feel uncomfortable. I'm not entirely sure why it does. Is it the fact that I was brought up regularly using the dark closet confessionals? Is it something deeper? Who knows? You may ultimately be confessing to God, but it's still a human being sitting across from you , and you're telling them all your deepest and darkest screw ups. Lucky for me, there's still plenty of older folks like me that feel the same way, so the Church still has closets -- or at the least, screens -- in most locations, if the layperson wishes to use them.

Remember: not everything that was done in 1978 was bad and has to change with the new century. A vast majority, but not quite everything.

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