|NOT Dad. |
I think this story starts with Papa the failed altar boy. Papa grew up Roman Catholic. Back when he was a boy the mass was always in Latin. Papa tried out to be an altar boy (they were only boys back then too) but he just couldn't get the hang of the Latin.
Move forward maybe twenty years. Papa was a police officer and they had a particularly troublesome person in custody. He was locked up, but he wouldn't stop causing trouble and he kept yelling that he wanted to talk to a priest.
This was the middle of the night in a terrible neighborhood and there were no priests available.
My dad, the ever resourceful said he would talk to the man. He turned up his collar and buttoned it so that you couldn't see it was an ordinary shirt under his jacket. I think he arranged it so that only a small square of the white collar was showing. Then he went to the man and asked him what his troubles were.
The man said he wanted to confess his sins. My father did his best to imitate what a priest would do when hearing confession (he had been to confession plenty of times himself at St. Edward's grade school). The man made his confession (that's what they called the sacrament of penance back then) and Dad told him to say ten Our Father's and ten Hail Mary's. The man thanked him and settled down.
A few days later, feeling supremely guilty Dad went to the CPD chaplain and told him what he had done. The priest was a very worldly and understanding man. He asked if Dad had shared what he had heard with anyone. Dad said, "no." The priest told him that God hears confession through the priest. As long as the man was talking through Dad to God then the confession is legitimate and Dad was okay for doing it.
Then he told Dad to say ten Our Father's and ten Hail Mary's and never do it again.