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.

Anyway.

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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