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Submarine Catholic

  • 26 May 2015

A Cardinal Sin   I’d best describe myself today        as a submarine catholic   but fifty years ago        well after my baptism        my first holy communion & my confirmation        i would have likely said – practising catholic   most friday nights back then i’d find myself with Father        kneeling before him on the carpeted step of the confessional box        my little red face pressed upwards to the grille   & even with that flimsy black fabric shrouding the grille        i knew that he knew who i was        as much as he knew that i knew who he was   & after he’d dissolved a few easy one’s like      i swore        (he never asked what particular words i’d used)   & after i’d admitted i’ve been rude to my mother        (he never asked what my behaviour had been)   & after i’d mumbled i missed mass last Sunday        (he never asked if i’d been to mid-week mass)   but always after i’d told him i’ve had obscene thoughts again        he questioned me at length – & lingered over this . . .        wanting to know each & every detail   & by george        i think i’ve finally worked out why.   – Geoff Goodfellow   Father Tom   Or here’s a small story that isn’t small at all. An old friend of mine who is now a chaplain Didn’t get along with his dad too well when My buddy was a teenager. His dad was hard And my buddy was hard-headed, is one way To explain it. One winter night they get into It big-time, shouting and smashing furniture, Almost but not quite exchanging serious fist. Something keeps them from the final frontier, As my buddy says quietly – God knows what. A couple days later the dad has a heart attack, And dies in the kitchen right by the dog bowl. That was forty years ago, man, says the priest. Forty years of me thinking maybe I killed dad. No matter how many times my mom and sister Said I didn’t I couldn’t stop wondering if I did. Who knows why a guy becomes