# THE CONFESSIONAL

by Rev. Augustine Wirth, 1882

The most responsible office of the priest of God is the hearing of confessions.

Every other duty imposed upon him is a child’s play compared with it, because so much depends upon it, viz. : the salvation of immortal souls. By preaching the word of God he sows the good seed broadcast, in the confessional he gathers the fruit; in the pulpit he sows the seed, in the confessional he reaps; in the pulpit he can touch certain sins only with kid gloves, in the confessional he probes the sores to the very bottom. In the pulpit he must be a lion, in the confessional a fox. He is a physician of souls; knowing the nature of all spiritual diseases and their ramifications, he is able to prescribe the proper remedies to prevent a relapse. He must be prepared to give suitable admonitions and advice in order to move sinners to repentance and to reclaim them from their evil ways. It is not necessary to make a long speech to each penitent, this is often impossible, and is done in the pulpit; but as every question requires an answer, so it is necessary to give some advice or admonition to each penitent. And each penitent looks for it, and unless he receives it, he leaves the confessional more sad and depressed than he came. “Reprove, entreat, rebuke with all patience and doctrine.” (II. Tim. iv. 2.) When you have the disobedient child before you face to face, on his knees, being his own self-accuser, a suppliant for mercy and pardon, in the presence of God, and brought there proprio motu, from sense of his sinfulness, and his heart being filled with sorrow and contrition for his sins, that is the time for you, O priest of the Most High, to sow the good seed into his susceptible heart, and sink it in deeply, so as to make a lasting impression.

It is, however, for various reasons, no easy matter to do so at all times. Not only young, but even old confessors, are frequently embarrassed, and it is often difficult to find appropriate admonitions for the devotional confessions of Religious, and others who, once a week, or oftener, approach the sacred tribunal of penance. It is more than probable that the confessor repeats the same over and over again, and being often at a loss what to say or what admonition to give, gives none, but only says. “You may go to Communion, say for penance quinque Pater et Ave, vel litanias lauretanas.” And the same penance is given for years and years, so that penitents know already beforehand what penance their ghostly father will enjoin upon them.

This little book called “The Confessional,” which is a free translation of the Rt. Rev. Aloysius Roeggl’s work, who was mitred Abbot of Wilten in Tyrol, Austria, is to remedy this undiversified and monotonous practice somewhat and enable confessors to move with greater liberty and variation. Varlatio delectat.. . . . .

Exerpt from the Preface
(pages v. – vi.)

PART III.

The Proud in general . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 409
The Proud in particular . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .412
Covetousness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 414
The Impure in general . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 417
The Impure in particular Sinners in Thought . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .420
Sinners in Words . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 423
Sinners in Deed Fornicators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .426
Adulterers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .428
Sinners against Nature Effeminacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 431
Envy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .435
Gluttony . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .437
Drunkards Intemperance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 440
Those who are addicted to Anger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .443
Cursers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 445
Blasphemers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .448
The Malevolent and Vindictive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 450
The Impatient . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .455
The Slothful, Lukewarm, and different . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 458
Slanderers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .461
Detractors and Defamers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 463
Liars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .466
The Afflicted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 468
The Sick . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 471
The Scrupulous . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .474
Parents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 476
Children . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 479
Married People . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .483
Masters and Mistresses of a Household Servants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 485