The first time I went to confession I was in second grade and like seven or eight years old. It was mandatory confession because, at the sage age of seven and or eight, I was preparing to receive my First Holy Communion, as was mandated by my private, Catholic school. As such, I sat down in a priest’s office and started, “Bless me, father, for I have sinned,” and then I don’t really remember the rest, but I probably confessed to lying or something like that, because I had lied, or something like that. When the big day came I put on a gorgeous white suit (which my mother would later dress me in with platform shoes and a leopard patterned silk blouse so I could be a disco dancer for Halloween), and received the body of Christ for the first time.
Apparently, part of that whole sacrament is that you’re supposed to continue going to confession for the rest of your life, which I did until I graduated from my private, Catholic high school, but then stopped going because my school wasn’t making me anymore and also, like everyone else, I found the internet, which is a great place to confess things!
If my memory serves me correctly, the Easter season is a big time for confessions, which is unfortunate for all the practicing Catholics out there because many parishes have just canceled confession, and pretty much all the other sacraments, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Sad!
“All of our sacraments have been put on hold during this crisis,” said Joseph Zwilling, the spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, but noted that births and deaths might be considered as exceptions, should someone need to be baptized or to receive their last rights. I spent 13 years in Catholic school, but the importance of baptism was really driven home for me in Episode 2 of Season 5 of Sex and the City titled “Unoriginal Sin,” when Steve’s mom laments she was worried about Miranda and Steve’s “little baby burning in hell.” It would appear Zwilling also saw that episode and was equally moved.
Of course, not all parishes are shuttering their sacramental services so quickly. While TMZ reports that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles followed New York, you can still confess your sins to a priest in both San Francisco and Miami, although “strict social distancing rules are in place.” I assume this means people are shouting their sins at priests from six feet away, or perhaps they’re using a string and some cans to make a telephone. Whatever they’ve gotta do to get the job done, I guess.
In New Orleans, as with things like marriages or giant frozen alcoholic beverages, there you can get your confession to go. Drive-thru confessions are available for those who are desperate to get something off their chest, my only hope is that they are called concession confessions.
For those who aren’t interested in leaving the house to confess their sins to a strange man they won’t see again for another year, if at all, might I harken back to a previous suggestion and invite you to take to the internet when asking for atonement. Screenshots of the notes app are a great place to start, or, if you’re looking for a little more privacy, might I suggest starting an alt account on Twitter, or perhaps even a finsta. If celebrities have taught us anything, it’s that there’s no better place to confess your sins and ask for forgiveness than the world wide web!