QUAERITUR SPECIAL! An online “confession”

From a reader:

Bless me Father for I have worshiped in a language I don’t understand, and heard the word "ineffable" no fewer than three times within the same worship experience.

That would have been singing at my local Russian Orthodox church on Thursday evening for a reader service (a truncated form of the Vigil because the priest was called away) for the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple, the equivalent of our Presentation of the BVM in the Temple. And there’s no telling how many times they slipped "ineffable" into the Slavonic without me knowing.

Thank you for sharing, my friend.

I’m afraid it falls to me to fill you in on the harsh reality of your experience. 

But don’t get the idea that I am judging you.  You’re nice just the way you are.

First, as a subject of the so-called "Latin" faith community, still dominated by bishops and far-away-out-of-touch bureaucrats in Rome, you are clearly too stooopid to understand this sort of "sacral" language. 

What have we been telling you all these years?  Why go to such a place when it will upset you?  Of course, as a non-Roman community of believers they automatically have advantages.  But… you should think happy thoughts about them without actually praying with them.  You never know what will happen if you do that.  Best not to go at all.

Stick with the lame-duck ICEL "pastoral" prayers in a similarly reformed worship space where you won’t be distracted by any sense of the sacred or, Gaia forbid, have an encounter with mystery.

For your penance… er um…. happy thought for the day, think nice thoughts about Bp. Trautman and go sign your name on the petition of that guy in Seattle who has essentially regurgitated Trautman’s arguments.

But, finally… I don’t want you to feel any guilt.   Clearly guilt is an outdated category.   Try to look at these last few minutes as a nice chat more than anything else.  In the future, you would do just as well to get a nice cup of fair-trade coffee in a recyclable cup somewhere within walking distance.  Okay?  Need a hug?  No?

I affirm you in yourself in the name of the Creator, Redeemer and … Community Organizer.

Have an ineffable day!

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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10 Responses to QUAERITUR SPECIAL! An online “confession”

  1. Mike says:

    “For your penance… er um…. happy thought for the day, think nice thoughts about Bp. Trautman and go sign your name on the petition of that guy in Seattle who has essentially regurgitated Trautman’s arguments.”

    Argh! Our Pastor (God love him!)says something like this before the introductory rite—”when we haven’t done so good in your sight, shucks, Lord”….God forbid we should hear the word “sin”, “sinned”….

    Raise up, O Lord, shepherds after your own heart…

  2. Melania says:

    Sadly, your characterization of confession these days, in my experience, is not much of an exaggeration.

    Now, I only go to Opus Dei priests for confession. Big difference. I really appreciate how they take what I confess seriously and make suggestions about how to avoid the problem in the future, etc. … you know, as if sin and the spiritual life were really important or something.

  3. mhittle says:

    Hilarious post, Father! But aren’t Roman Catholics barred from receiving sacraments in Russian Orthodox churches? Or am I thinking of Greek Orthodox? [Who said anything about receiving sacraments?]

  4. Francisco Cojuanco says:

    Mhittle,

    AFAIK, the man was just in the choir, not actually receiving.

  5. Mike says:

    Melania–I go to Opus Dei priests as well. They are excellent…doctrinally sound, wise, kind, and to the point…

  6. Jack Hughes says:

    I wish I had opus dei priests to go to…………(whistful sigh)

  7. catholicmidwest says:

    Fr Z,
    I’m laughing out loud. Been through this personally too many times:

    “But, finally… I don’t want you to feel any guilt. Clearly guilt is an outdated category. Try to look at these last few minutes as a nice chat more than anything else. In the future, you would do just as well to get a nice cup of fair-trade coffee in a recyclable cup somewhere within walking distance. Okay? Need a hug? No?”

    NO. Big fat NO. Heh.
    Some of my funniest moments as a Catholic convert have occurred in the confessional. Some priests are very holy; some are genuinely good; some are just lonely; some are full of themselves; some are mediocre; but some are just plain daft as loons and the confessional is where you can really tell.

  8. Seraphic Spouse says:

    I’ll never forget going to confession as a little girl and having the priest tell me that he didn’t want to hear what my sins were. He wanted to hear what good things I’d been doing. I was very startled. It all felt very wrong. I was pretty sure that wasn’t how my confession was supposed to be going. It made me more reluctant about going to confession, that is for sure, what with weird, make-stuff-up-priests out there.

    In adult hindsight, I wonder at the nerve of that guy. Even at the mall, Mum and Dad are there when you tell Santa you were a good little girl. If a small child is alone with a guy in a box, it’s because he is the minister of a SACRAMENT and he is merely the conduit through which the child is speaking to Jesus. It’s not his business to ask what good things the child has been doing. It’s not his business to try on some amateur child psychology.

    Meanwhile, ditto catholicmidwst on the daft as loons priest. I’ve come out of one confessional feeling incredibly icky and out of another as mad as hell–not because a priest was stern or strict, but because of definite dodginess, sorry to say.

    My rule is that I don’t go to confession unless it’s to a guy I know or a guy I know to have a good reputation.

  9. irishgirl says:

    Funny post there Father!

    As a kid, my heart would always go ‘boing’ in my chest when my mother would say to me and my two sisters ‘you’re going to confession today’, and then cart us off to the church. I could hear my pulse pounding in my ears waiting in line, as well as kneeling in the dark confessional waiting for the priest to slide open the shutter. I didn’t like confession very much then, because there were some priests who scared me to death with their loud voices [at Mass, not in the confessional].

    Now that I’m older, I still not keen on confession. Not that I don’t want to go, it’s just that I feel ‘rushed’ when there’s a long line waiting outside. I’d rather practice the ‘three Bs’ (Be blunt, Be brief, and Be gone) when it comes to confession. To be fair, I’ve gone to some very kind and holy priests–mostly face-to-face–but they were priests I knew personally. On my first trip to EWTN in 1998, I went to an AWESOME priest of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word for confession! I said to myself that day, ‘At last-a priest who understands me!’. He’s not with them now-he left and became a diocesan priest in Birmingham-ironically, his parish is in Irondale, where the EWTN studios are located!

  10. catholicmidwest says:

    Seraphic Spouse,
    I’m careful who I go to for confession too. It may be very funny at first being stuck in a confessional with a priest who is a fruitloop, but it loses its humor pretty fast. It can be a little scary then. And it can be hard to leave when said priest won’t. shut. up. and. get. on. with. the. sacrament. No thanks. I’ve learned to pay attention before I ever get in there.