A Conversation In A Catholic Confession Booth
Catholic penitent: Bless me father, for I have sinned. It has been something like 25 years since my last confession, if my memory is correct.
Catholic priest: My, that’s a long time… I’ll have to assign you 20 Hail Mary’s just for being such a procrastinator. What took you so long to come in for confession?
Catholic penitent: I didn’t want to be molested by you creeps! Just kidding!
Catholic priest: That’ll be another 20 Hail Mary’s, even if it was a joke. I don’t like people reminding me of what a wicked organization I belong to. So what sins are you here to confess?
Catholic penitent: All of them, of course!
Catholic priest: Well I hope so, but I need to know specifically which sins and how many times for each sin so I can calculate the proper number of Hail Marys and Our Fathers.
Catholic penitent: You think I can remember all that after 25 years? You gotta be kidding! How about you just give me a whole lotta stuff to recite over and over – enough to make sure that I’m in the clear with the Lord.
Catholic priest: Sorry, but the rules of the church don’t allow me to do that. You need to tell me the specifics, as best as you can remember things, especiallly the really juicy stuff… I mean the really serious stuff.
Catholic penitent: OK, but how about you telling me your sins too. What’s fair is fair, right?
Catholic priest: No, my sins are none of your business… they’re between me and God.
Catholic penitent: Oh really? What about me? Aren’t my sins against God and not against you?
Catholic priest: Technically yes. However, since we Catholic priests claim to be God’s intermediators for you poor slobs – I mean poor souls – here on earth, you need to come to us priests so we can go to God on your behalf (and so we can have something to blackmail you with if the need arises – hee hee).
Catholic penitent: Well how do I know that God hears you?
Catholic priest: Because I say so and because “mother church” says so.
Catholic penitent: Oh. Well how do YOU know that God is satisfied by me saying so many Hail Marys and Our Fathers? And where do you come up with your numbers for how many times I should repeat those prayers?
Catholic priest: You ask too many questions. Just trust me. I’m your spiritual father, remember? That’s why you need to call me “father”.
Catholic penitent: But what if your calculations are wrong? What if I don’t say enough Hail Marys and Our Fathers?
Catholic priest: Well then, when you die, your relatives will have to pay me and “mother church” to say masses for you, to get your soul out of Purgatory.
Catholic penitent: But my neighbor says that there is no such place as Purgatory, only Heaven and Hell. He told me that the Bible says “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” [Hebrews 9:27]. So what good would it do for my relatives to pay you to say masses if there is no such place as Purgatory and if instead I’m forever damned in Hell?
Catholic priest: Who are you going to believe? Me or some Bible quoting neighbor?
Catholic penitent: But my neighbor has nothing to gain by what he told me. But you and the Roman Catholic church stand to gain money from people who pay you to say masses for the dead.
Catholic priest: We need the money to operate our business… I mean our church. So quit beating around the bush and just tell me your sins, so I can get back to the convent… oops… I mean back to the rectory.
Catholic penitent: But I am still wondering how I can get rid of my sins just by reciting some prayers. How does that make up for all the bad things I’ve done and why did Jesus die on the cross if I could get rid of my sins simply by chanting a bunch of words over and over again?
Catholic priest: Those words are no ordinary words. They are very special words, almost magical words! You need to recite them to prove that you are really sorry for your sins and we priests do the rest! Jesus did his part and now you and I have to do our part.
Catholic penitent: But I read in the Bible that God condemns repetitious prayers like the ones you priests assign us to recite for penance. In Matthew 6:7 Jesus said “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.”
Catholic priest: Don’t worry about what Jesus said. Just do what I tell you to do.
Catholic penitent: I’m not sure I like what you’ve been telling me, nor do I even like this whole confession system. So before I confess my sins to you I have just one more question.
Catholic priest: Ok. What is it?
Catholic penitent: Well, I started reading the Bible for myself and it says in the gospel of Mark, chapter 2 and verse 7: “Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?”. That sure sounds to me like only God can forgive sins.
Catholic priest: Who said you can read the Bible for yourself, let alone interpret the Bible for yourself? Don’t you know that you need to leave it to us priests and “mother church” to tell you what the Bible means? In fact, you should not even be reading the Bible. It will only confuse you. Even though what you read sounds like only God can forgive sins, you must remember that what “mother church” says always overrides what the Bible says.
Catholic penitent: I think I’d rather take my chances with the Bible and what God says in that Bible.
Catholic priest: Now you’ve done it! You’ve proven yourself to be a heretic. If you don’t recant what you just said, and say 523 Hail Marys by sundown, I’ll have to excommunicate you.
Catholic penitent: Well then, excommunicate me. I’d rather have Jesus anyway – the real Jesus that is. He said in John 6:37 “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
Catholic priest: Get out of my confession booth you Bible quoting heretic! Away with you!
“But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
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Christ Died For The Ungodly
by Horatius Bonar
The divine testimony concerning man is, that he is a sinner. God bears witness against him, not for him; and testifies that "there is none righteous, no, not one"; that there is "none that doeth good"; none "that understandeth"; none that even seeks after God, and, still more, none that loves Him (Psa. 14:1-3; Rom. 3:10-12). God speaks of man kindly, but severely; as one yearning over a lost child, yet as one who will make no terms with sin, and will "by no means clear the guilty." <continued>