This blog is the result of two unrelated incidences. The first was a nightly news program reporting the death of another World War II veteran–leaving America one step closer to losing the final first-hand accounts of that historic event.
The second was a comment by my son who told me about his First Confession. How he sat across from the priest. Face to face. In a comfortable chair. In an airy, well-lit room; a poster with the words to The Act of Contrition hanging on the wall. He said he made the Sign of the Cross and told the priest the one or two sins he was most sorry for.
It was the one or two sins that got me.
Yes, the confessional booths of my childhood are gone—turned into alcoves with statues and vigil candles. Most people confess face-to-face now. But confessing only one or two sins? What happened to the Examination of Conscience listing mortal sins in bold-face type on the left page and venial sins on the right? What happened to memorizing the protocol of what we said and what the priest said, when we talked and when the priest talked, and of the obligation to recite every prayer word for word and confess every sin and the number of times we committed them?
It’s not that I wanted a harrowing experience for my son. It’s that I realized that he would never know what it was like for me; that the faith I handed down to him looked and sounded much different than the faith my mother handed down to me.
Some boomers laugh about their Catholic upbringing. Others take issue with it. But all of us can relate to growing up during two simultaneous historic events–the secular baby boomer revolution and the sweeping changes of the Second Vatican Council. I don’t want to lose the first-hand accounts of that experience. And I don’t want to stay in the past as Mother Church continues into the future–always the foundation of never-changing truth and insight about God’s love for us.
New posts appear every Friday (like fish sticks in Lent) but comments can be added all week long. My hope is that we’ll all come away with a new appreciation of the unique place we hold on the American Catholic timeline of history.
[Disclaimer: Positive and negative experiences are acceptable if written in a respectful way. This blog will not entertain irreverent, hateful language or offensive content. It cannot provide counsel for serious grievances and therefore will not post them. Derogatory statements or accusations will not be posted.]
Originally posted April 2014