A few years ago I was somewhat taken aback when a friend told me that when she a schoolgirl they were taken regularly to confession and she couldn`t think of anything to confess so made up a list of sins and always added at the end `And I`ve told lies` to cover herself. Personally I`ve never had this problem. However I was watching Adrian Chiles recent programme, an exploration of Mediterranean religions, and was interested when he started with his atheist Croatian mother who had become an atheist as a child because she hated going to confession when she had nothing she could think of to confess. `Interesting`, I thought. Then this year I have started reading Elvis Costello`s new autobiography. From the time I set eyes on the LP cover of his first album. My Aim Is True, at a student party on South Street at St Andrews in 1979, I was intrigued at a figue that looked like a cross between Buddy Holly and Woody Allen, called himself Elvis and was steeped in the tradition of the genre and yet was something new.
All this makes me wonder whether this still goes on with first confessions? In my twenty-six years as a priest I`ve never heard any child make a confession like Costello`s and they all seeem to have been sincere but next time I`ll be more aware of this. Maybe Pius X`s move wasn`t that great if we ask for confession before first Holy Communion for children when it is the only time the Church requires confession for non-mortal sins before receiving Communion. I`ve no idea what the answer is.
I enjoy reading and was reminded recently by abbot Cuthbert that I promised to read his book on Mgr McReavy and Vatican II. I got my copy yesterday and have started and will report in due course!