Two thumbs down: “The Confession” – otherwise voted Best Short Film of International Catholic Film Festival

Begin rant: /// Cold as ice. Torture chamber. Shouldn’t force the guy to turn himself in or speak to the family. The priest is not a police officer. He’s not a shrink. He should have found out what “accident” meant, yes, but no more than that. The guy was guilty for getting drunk, for driving drunk, for the evil he committed while driving drunk, for hitting the guy, for running away and leaving him for dead. The priest should have given him a penance that he knew he could do regarding his resources (very often a really bad idea as people are vulnerable at that time and will say they can do something when they can’t) and his time left to live and his health capabilities (probably he was ready to die in very short order as he was hemorrhaging right there). The priest should have anointed him for that matter.

It’s not ever about the priest, ever. Period. It’s about Jesus. About Jesus’ mercy. Wow, he is totally lacking in his formation. He shouldn’t be working out his own problems, however far reaching, with his penitents. Would I have compassion on the priest if he came to confession to me? Sure. Great. But appraising this B.S.? Well, it’s B.S.

People think that compassion is telling people that there is no sin, that there is no forgiveness for sin if it’s a real sin, so just tell people that their sins are not sins and so don’t ask forgiveness or be forgiven for those sins. Is human niceness better than God’s forgiveness? No. That guy was actually guilty of a hit and run which could certainly could have killed someone, and that’s also a sin even if later he thinks that the guy didn’t die (though he did). That doesn’t make it any less serious. If you fully intend to kill someone but they somehow live you’re still guilty of murder before God for having made the attempt. Make the analogy with lust, as Jesus says that a man who lusts after a woman in his heart is as guilty as the one who actually goes after the woman.

The message of the film is that you really can’t be forgiven for real sin. This is the absolute worst message that could be given. What? Jesus really didn’t die to forgive our sins? His death, His standing in our place to have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us is just a damned lie? Really? That’s the message we should give? No.

There is so much wrong with this whole film. You can let people know that something is a sin and that they did sin in a big way, but let them know the completeness of God’s forgiveness. That’s what’s healing. Not psycho-counseling. It’s all about Jesus’ love, and Jesus’ love is something, someOne in which, in Whom we can rejoice. Really. This isn’t hard. But it seems no one knows about true mercy. True mercy involves Jesus. Does anyone know Jesus anymore? Is it all just a mind game?

Also, now that I’m ranting, I hate the attitude he has with the woman, laughing to himself at her. What a jerk he is. Does no one see what a proper reprimand should be that brings people to rejoice in the love that our Lord has for us? /// O.K. End of rant.

So, why the rant? Because I’ve met so many priests just like this, those who play mind games and make their emotions into prayer but no more than emotions. They can rationalize anything. It’s horrific to watch them and what happens to their parishes. Ships without rudders. Blown by the winds. Aimless. No identity.


Filed under Confession, Missionaries of Mercy

9 responses to “Two thumbs down: “The Confession” – otherwise voted Best Short Film of International Catholic Film Festival

  1. sanfelipe007

    Trigger alert: rhetorical question ahead.

    Hey, wait a minute. Could this film, in some sense, be seen as a “simulated Confession?” I regret not mentioning a small pet peeve of mine in the post about ant-Catholic “entertainment,” namely the misrepresentation of just what goes on in the confessional. After all, a lie is a lie.

    One example is the confession scene in the movie Unbreakable where Willis’ character is speaking about the wonder of his emerging, “without a scratch,” from the train wreck, only to be met with a dismissive hatefulness (“What’s your point?!!!”) from the Priest that left me aghast.

    There is a clear line between that which is pornography and that which is not, claims of “artistic expression” notwithstanding. Where is the line concerning Confession? I know the difference between profaning and perverting Sacred subjects. At what point do films stop lacking the necessary form and /or substance to qualify as sin?

    I’m not advocating that Catholicism go the way of Islam in their prohibition of portraying Mohamed. I think we’ve gone down our own road with banned books.

    Full disclosure: I stopped watching the video at the :30 mark because I don’t feel the need to witness it. It is enough for me that you have seen it I know well that we have been promised that we can “handle snakes,” but why go in search of them just to prove it? I’ll let you handle the snakes and then you can tell me about them -I’ll support you in prayer.

    O my Jesus forgive us our sins..

  2. pelerin

    Thank you Father for explaining what was wrong with the ‘priests’ attitude.

    I have watched the film again having read your comments and it was not until near the end that I realised what you were saying and it sunk in. I had been wondering merely if he had been wrong in telling a white lie to comfort the ‘penitent’ or whether he should have told the truth, completely overlooking the real meaning of Confession and what you call ‘the completeness of God’s forgiveness.’

    Thank you for your comments.

  3. sanfelipe007

    … from the Priest[,] that left me aghast.

  4. elizdelphi

    I agree with you completely Father!!! When it comes to grave sins the truth hurts terribly, but nevertheless I worship and adore the Truth and do not want to be lied to at all! It is not mercy to lie to me! I think it is sad and sick that they attached the Year of Mercy logo and name to this.

  5. I notice that a priest of Opus Dei was listed among those being thanked for their assistance. I wonder what his take on this is?

  6. pelerin

    I am still thinking about that film and fully understand now the comments of Fr George.

    However I do wonder if it had been real life and the two characters had not been penitent and confessor, but priest and a man who happened to meet up and talk and then discover their connection, then surely the priest’s white lie about his father would have then been merciful to a dying man and Confession would not have come into it? In other words is it permissible for a priest to tell a white lie outside the confessional?

    (Also I think the first penitent was made light hearted in the film to contrast with the revealing tragedy so that did not worry me. It merely led into the story.)

    • Father George David Byers

      Lying is never good. The father of lies is Satan. A priest outside of Confession should want to help anyone to know the profound joy of the grace of forgiveness, and not insult them by not taking them seriously by simply dismissing them with a lie. The whole thing is brutal.

      (I simply don’t care about the story line or the film or the award or whatever. Everyone who comes to Confession is to be taken seriously, so that even someone abusing the Sacrament is be led by the priest to come to know the reason for Confession and what Jesus did in forgiving we ourselves. If the priest is smirking, it’s rather difficult to do this.)

  7. pelerin

    Thanks you elizdelphi for that link. I have not read that story before. It does seem to indicate that on certain occasions a white lie is preferable to the stark truth even though Fr George writes that lying is never good.

  8. NML

    Even outside the confessional this lie would have been seriously harmful. What if the man wants to meet the wife of the man he thought he killed, or another of his children, and he learns the truth that the man actually did die in the accident. He then will have to face that he was lied to and will lose his confidence in the forgiveness, which he wanted from God, not just the victim. This white lie is so patronizing to the sincere effort to seek true forgiveness.

    As for lying in confessional, if a penitent learns of this behavior of the priest, how will he trust confession as a vehicle of Gods ( not man’s) true mercy- rather it will seem to be a human institution to relieve guilt at the human level in a sentimental shallow way. No one goes to confession to get white-lie-forgiveness, they want truth; true confession, true forgiveness.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.