Sunday Brunch

… a feast of photography and prose.

Roman Thoughts: On Confessing in Another Language

I am chaperoning a high school trip to Rome this week.  First, let me say how wonderful it is to see teenagers phoneless and agape.


The first church we visited was Santa Maria Maggiore, a 4th century basilica which contains a relic of the manger and the tomb of Bernini.  Pope Francis celebrated his first papal Mass there.  The basilica also makes confession available in many languages.

An English-speaking priest was not available for confession, so I braved the sacrament in Spanish.  In doing so I realized something very beautiful about confessing in another language.  Sins cannot be veiled in rhetoric.

English: “Father, there are times when I don’t speak well of people in front of others.”

Spanish: “Soy chismosa.” (I am a gossip.)

The simplicity required to stumble through confession in a foreign language fosters a joyful sense of culpability – culpability because the honest state of the soul must be laid bare, joy because this is the path beyond condemnation to forgiveness.



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This entry was posted on May 21, 2013 by .
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