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Opinions of Monday, 19 March 2018

Columnist: Joseph Aketema

Confessions of a Catholic

Forgive me, father, for I have sinned. I have lost the tongue with which I have to make this confession. I will recall my iniquities and grant me pardon those sins embedded in the recess of my heart that I cannot remember.

You were right when you mentioned that salvation is guaranteed not based on the church we belong but how we see Christ through the lens of the world. Your sermon was not long yet it was pregnant with soul-soothing food which my sobering soul desires. Father, you have bidden that, at this period of lent we should let the love of Christ permeate and radiate our lives for Christ is Love.

As you continued your homily that Sunday, you quoted, 1 John 4:19-20 ‘We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen’.

A brother and sister as you clarified, are not those who attend our own Roman Catholic Church but other Christians from other denominations, people from other faiths and most importantly those who believe in the belief that God does not exist.

Father, my real confession, she had a baby strapped to her back. Poverty I guessed has made her look older than her age. She was wrinkled and gnarled like a pawpaw withering in the harmattan. Her eyes were rheumy with purulent. She had to occasionally drive away a fly or two from feasting from the murky liquid. She nosed from bus to bus darting her neck and stretching her hands for some money. I looked the other way. Was it not becoming a nuisance to have fetid and scarecrows of humans torment me daily?

Father, even if it is against the laws of the land to dole out coins, I should have defied the law. The law itself is fetid. What kind of law is this that populate the streets with minors, incarcerate fowl thieves yet find it difficult to fish out marauding leeches? I looked the other way and she scampered off.

Father, you said the true essence of lent is not to stockpile goodies so that after the season we enjoy. I have violated this. The thousand mule power you have blessed me with have often made some close associates think I am under the influence of ‘something’. Forgive my vacillating and chattering father, but for this period of lent and even after, I have vowed not to take alcohol. Instead of giving this money to the poor as I would the haggard of a woman and her malnourished child, I have kept it somewhere for the Easter party.

Father, in my last confession you counselled, "envy not the ungodly and let them not lead you to sin". I find this part very difficult to follow. Having worked for almost twenty years in the office, I have seen how easy it is to make cheap money without being caught. Now they call me useless good for nothing because all my subordinates have built mansions and drive posh cars to work. They under-and-over invoice when it favours them. The law looks the other side. Please for this I have taken a chunk at least to buy a V-8 so that when I come to church, they will know I have landed. Aside from this I would be offered positions of honour during social gatherings, and would also be called to chair many of the churches’ activities.

Father, I was guilty when you preached on your coinage ‘geographical bachelors’ in your sermon on marital infidelity.

True, I have fallen a couple of times and I will not want to repeat my titillating adulterous sexual escapades because I know so well your vows one of which is chastity. For seven months I have not seen my wedded wife. Situations have transported me far away from home. I have become a geographical bachelor. So sad I will not forgive my wife if she did a quarter of what I did; buying sex and lying a lot of times that I was not married just to satisfy my sexual libido. Father forgive me, let the penance be grave because I sure know she loves me and will not do what I have done.

You have said a couple of times that we should be crusaders against corruption. Father, do you know how hard it is to be a good man in this republic? A young man came to me early one morning from my village. He lost both parents at a tender age and had toiled to complete school. Such a fine young man with an impeccable character. For four times he had tried to get himself enlisted into the security forces but failed. There are no reasons. He simply failed the process. Poor chap.

Forgive my sacrilegious tongue but if he had failed then the only person I would vouch to pass the process will be Arch Angel Raphael himself. Well, your grace, as the recruitment was going on, officers were commanded by ‘big people’ from top places to recruit their sons and daughters. From the chunk of money looted from work, I had to do what I did to get him enlisted. He complained age was catching up with him and that he was tired of praying the Rosary for years without an answer…Father…l led him to sin. Do not hold this one against him but me!!

• My last confession, father, even though I am saved by Grace, it behoves me to at least be more frequent in voicing out my iniquities. For these sins, those I have committed after baptism, those I have forgotten, I ask for your divine counselling and unfailing forgiveness. My penance I would gladly do. A father welcomes back his ungrateful son. Grant me pardon for I will strive not to sin again…!!