I was fighting back tears when I stepped into the confessional with the father.
"Bless me father, for I have sinned." "Tell me your sins my son."
"I have been dwelling on impure thoughts, not always of a sexual nature but for the purpose of arousal nonetheless. They've been ... mostly about minors, and last night they even caused me in and of themselves to climax. It's not something I wanted to happen, but it happened anyways. I also ... aside from that ... I also told some small lies and wasted or misused some equipment at work. That's about it."
I was a pedophile in the midst of a church. To the outside world I was the most vile predator wounded in the cage of his captors and waiting to be put to sleep, despite the fact that I had never done anything to inappropriate with a child in my life. The world hated me for what I was, not for what I'd done (since I'd done nothing), and for who I loved, and had they known they surely would've put me out of it for sure, and violently too! All the same, other childlovers didn't care so much for what I was (a christian) and who I loved either (God), so I felt trapped on all sides. Looking left and looking right, I saw so little support, so I looked up.
Surely he wouldn't know the shame, rejection, life-long loneliness, agony of defeat, abandonment, and mockery from people who had done far worse in their own lives than I had ever done, and yet he also wore a crown of thorns given to him so to mock the misunderstood love he also had within him for others. What did I do to deserve any of this then? Surely he couldn't know the pain of carrying around the burden of these unfulfilled desires on a daily basis while carrying that heavy cross to his death, having done nothing to deserve it. Surely he wouldn't know how it felt to be "seemingly forsaken" as he lead the people in King David's repentant psalm of praise in the midst of the sharpest anguish a man can feel: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Who hasn't said that at some point?
How could this man have known my pain and troubles, the fresh wounds of my childhood and the brokenness that lead me to become a pedophile in the first place? And how dare he then insist I put away the last few pleasures I still had like the broken toys they were? Broken toys were better than no toys at all! Was he out to spoil my fun or to heal me? He was only long dead because I was also long dead, waiting to live again.
"What will you give me Lord? What will heal me?" "I am all you need." He said.
After my confession, father smiled. "Well let's thank the Lord for the grace that once again brings you to this sacrament of love. It's not hard to confess these things as you've done, but the point is the journey you've taken to be here, and God wants to show the abundance of His love to any who seek it out. If these sins have hurt you in any way, and from the looks of it they seem like they have, and if you feel sorry for them, you can now just say your act of contrition."
I recited: "Heavenly father I am heartily sorry for having offended thee and detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend thee, my God, who is all good and worthy of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of thy grace, to confess my sins, do penance, and amend my life. Your Son Jesus Christ suffered and died for me and the sins of the whole world. In His name my God, have mercy. Amen."
Father lifted his hand over my head and closed his eyes. "Then through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from all of your sins in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Go in peace." He drew the cross in the air on top of me at the invocation of the Trinity.
"That's it?" I asked.
"That's all there is to it. Thank you for coming in today __" (he called me by name). Smiling, he said, "The roads are slippery out there, be safe driving. I'll see you on the 3rd for your Confirmation. If you need Godparents, I'll be more than happy to set you up with this very nice couple from the parish... " He was delighted just to see me.
That was all there was to it. The weight was lifted off my shoulders. Christ was alive and well indeed, working in the world still even after all these years. "God is love," the Apostle John wrote, and now I know why.