Kathy had already spent a year there; after a scandalous 7th grade at the public middle school
she was shuffled off to St. Paul’s, as if it were a convent. She didn’t care – as long as it wasn’t
an all-girl situation, she was fine.
But when I started 7th grade, she had already moved on to high school, so I was on my own.
On my own, and not Catholic. Granted, Episcopal – about a pitching wedge from Catholicism but still, not Catholic. The “Hail Mary?” The rosary? Crossing yourself? I had no idea.
So I learned the words, attended Mass, and copied the person next to me saying, “amen,” when
the body of Christ was offered.
One day a Priest asked me a question and I didn’t know the answer; he yelled at me and I confessed I wasn’t Catholic, which very obviously earned his contempt.
Another time, we all marched over to the Church to test the newest innovation in Confession.
No longer to be an anonymous experience – whispering through a wall to the priest on the other side –
it would now be face-to-face. You would sit in full view of the priest and he of you.
It was meant to foster a greater sense of comfort, a more personal experience.
I brought a book; I was exempt.
I was pleased to be exempt. I didn’t want to confess anything. I’d rather have the Priest hate me
for what I had no control over rather than for something I had purposefully done; I didn’t need an agent of God poking around in my business.
Episcopalians silently confess their sins to God; they know the value of discretion,
and He already knows it all anyway.