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The Absolution Of Margaret
A story about life in the confessional booth of a Catholic church.
Richard Koss, other titles
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The Absolution Of Margaret
It was Holy Saturday. The small, predominantly Irish parish of St. Al’s was crowded with families bringing their Easter food baskets to be blessed and there was a long line leading to the only confessional in the church.
Father Jim O’Brien would be hearing confessions until almost seven o’clock This would be the assistant pastor’s last Easter at St. Al’s. He had been given his own parish in up state New York and the parishioners would really miss him. He was great with the kids and the women were forever curious how the handsome, black haired, blue-eyed, priest could have chosen such a life in this day and age. But he was a good priest who gave inspiring, contemporary sermons and was never too busy to help his parishioners deal with their personal problems.
One woman having a personal problem was Margaret Garrity, the attractive, middle-aged wife of the town’s most successful real estate broker. Her husband, Mike, only went to Mass occasionally, but he always went with her on Easter. Margaret had to get to confession because Mike would be awfully curious if she didn’t go to communion on Easter Sunday.
Margaret had been rushing around doing last minute shopping and got over to the church about quarter to seven. There were only a couple of men in line at the confessional and outside of a few old women and a nun, the church was nearly empty.
After the last man finished, Margaret pulled the purple drape back and entered the confessional booth. It was a typical old fashioned confessional with a screen shielding the sinner’s face from the priest.
The priest slid back the small door, enabling him to hear the woman through the dark screen.
“Bless me father, for I have sinned. My last confession was six weeks ago.”
After reeling off a series of venial sins like using the Lord’s name in vain, drunkenness, and having impure thoughts, Margaret came up with the bombshell.
“I committed adultery. I had sexual intercourse with another man.”
After a brief silence, the priest asked, “How many times?”
“Oh I think maybe three or four.”
“Five?” The priest seemed to doubt her.
“Yes, that’s probably right. About five times.”
“Does your husband know about this man?”
“No, but I think I should tell him everything.”
“Why would you do that? It would only hurt him terribly.”
There was more silence. Then the woman reconsidered. “Of course you’re right. It would only hurt him and make him angry.”
“Before I can grant you absolution, you must vow not to see this man anymore.”
“Oh no, I mean, yes, I won’t see him anymore.”
“You must also promise never to tell your husband about him.”
“Okay, I promise.”
“Good.” The priest sounded pleased.
“For your penance, say ten Our Fathers and ten Hail Marys every day for six months.”
Before the priest could finish his prayers of absolution, the woman whispered, “Father?”
“Yes?” He encouraged her to continue.
“There’s something I really must ask you. Are you sure you can grant me absolution? I mean……”
The priest interrupted her. “Monsignor Hanratty heard my confession last Wednesday."
“Oh good.” Now she was relieved.
“I guess this means we won’t see each other again, will we?”
The priest responded firmly. “This is true.”
“I’m going to miss you Jim.”
“God bless you Margaret.” The priest wiped the sweat from his brow as he closed the small door to the confessional screen.
|READER'S REVIEWS (3)
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"What is this fuckstick? Between this and that "Know it - I wrtoe it" garbage, I've come to the conclusion that you're not only unoriginal, plageuristic, and simple, but you're clearly a wanker. Stop writing this instant, you are shit, you are a hack, you are wasting yours and everybody else's time. Imagine using a joke you heard and pretending it's your story, and having the nerve to copyright it? Know it? - I heard it years ago. Way to live up to your name "DICK"" -- Phil, Dublin.
"To smooth-talkin' Phil: You have every right to criticize the work of others, but at least confine your review to the story you've read,instead of venting your spleen about something else that pissed you off. I've read some of your other comments and for what it's worth - I've been around awhile, and in my younger days, I knew quite a few young guys with bad attitudes and big foul mouths. Most of them didn't live to be very old." -- D K.
"Hey, not bad at all. Your critic from Dublin who calls himself Phil is a typical punk who never accomplished anything in his life and has a hard-on for Americans. If he came to this country, he wouldn't last a month. They'd find him in some trash container. As you said, no matter where he lives, he won't be around very long. " -- Anthony.
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© 2000 Richard Koss
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