I am a recovering Catholic. My mother would have liked me to be an altar boy, though somehow I think that I would be even stranger than I already am, if I had gone that route. Despite rejecting the whole Catholic thing I was in this church in Sedona, it is built into the red rock formations for which the area is famous; I found it still moving and brought back memories of the things I liked about being Catholic.
|Me an altar boy. Ridiculous
Catholics admit that they are not perfect and they can confess their wrongs, and ask to be forgiven. I think it is one of the few things they may have gotten right. In fact I think my favorite take on the Catholic Church was in a Clint Eastwood movie called Grand Torino. Clint Eastwood, another strayed member, gives this youngish priest a piece of his mind, several times. I enjoyed the recreation of his confession, brought back memories, I assume it is the incense.
Now it has been established I am a pretty cranky guy, an angry hungry baby. The standard procedures are access brain then engage mouth. So often I don’t use the standard procedure and I find myself saying the wrong things. Even thoughtless things can be so damaging, no amount of backpedaling can fix it. I have so often screwed things up that have had permanent repercussions; I can’t help but wonder if paying the appropriate penance would have been more desirable.
The parish priest would assign the appropriate penance, special considerations for altar boys I believe. You can injure someone pretty effectively with words, far more painfully that with a hairbrush or paddle. If you can take the penalty and erase your transgressions it seems very liberating and preferable to other forms of negative reinforcement. I have been spanked soundly for misdeeds and it really seemed to me to clear the air. I accepted my punishment and felt clean and renewed.
Does this work for everyone? Beats the hell out of me.
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