Hogwart, my patient bumped into his parish priest on the golf course yesterday afternoon and spent a whole hour with him at the bar. I tried very hard to get my man to criticize the priest for being at the golf club at all, but to no avail. He actually likes his parish priest!
This is a great defeat for me. We are usually able to get conservative Catholics to criticize and disapprove of their priests. It’s wonderful to see them meekly following brainless right wing politicians, or respectfully accepting the advice of any other professional (no matter how much of a quack or fraud they are) all the time assuming that their priests are ignorant buffoons who are part of an international Protestant conspiracy.
To make matters worse, the priest actually listened to my patient, bought him a drink and gave him some sensible advice. He told my patient to calm down and accept his fate. He said, “You’re going to die sometime my son. If you are lucky enough to know when that might happen you’ll be able to prepare for it. In the meantime what about a game of golf with me next Monday?” I tell you Hogwart, it made my bile boil. The clear fresh air of common sense is like an icy blast to me. I hate it Hogwart. It makes me shiver.
Hogwart, you’re a lazy and careless little runt. I have heard from Glimtongue that your patient has been to confession. I should have known that you would keep it secret, and that I would have to rely on my network of intelligence gatherers. Big mistake Hogwart, big mistake! Many more obvious and ridiculous slip ups like that will get you to the Master’s dinner table…and I mean on it, not around it.
How many times do I need to tell you. Don’t let them even get close to the idea that they ought to make their confession. It doesn’t matter that they don’t really understand what is going on. The worst thing about confession is that the little rodents get down on their knees and squeak out their sorrow for their paltry little sins, and that they feel so ashamed of squalid, insignificant little misdemeanors. At the heart of the degrading habit is that they are humbled by the experience. They soon bounce back to their usual self centredness, but even one moment of genuine humility stinks Hogwart. It smells sickly. It makes me nauseous.
Keep them away from the confessional Hogwart! I cannot stress it enough. There are a multitude of ways to do this. Here is one: Tell them that things they have done are not so bad. If they see their faults get them to say to themselves, ‘Well, I’m only human.’ This is an especially delicious form of pride because it seems to the patient that instead of being arrogant and proud they are actually rather down to earth and homely. By saying, “Well, I’m only human,”they will feel even more proud of themselves for being just an ‘ordinary Joe or Jane.’
If you can do that they will not only retain the sins that will lead them to our eternal home, but they will come there in a state of blissfully ignorant self righteousness–firmly believing in their own simple down to earth goodness–never once suspecting that they are nearly as proud as our Father Below.