‘Pulpit John’ was the title of a colourful biography, published by St. Patrick’s Church, about Father John McCormick. Garlic on his breath now wafted through the confessional screen there.
“Bless me, Father.”
I’d reviewed the Catholic Answers website – it was definitely a mortal sin. Unless I received absolution I would go to Hell. Here goes! “I accuse myself … ” I added some venial sins I’d also scribbled down.
After a pause, came, “Your penance is to yield to five cars wishing to move in front of you.”
What! I’d expected three Hail Marys.
Over the day I ‘yielded’ to three cars and gave up a parking space. With just one to go, I slowed to let someone in from a side road. Bang! I was jolted forwards and heard tinkling from behind.
I got out. Rear-light plastic was on the ground. The offending car appeared undamaged. “Idiot!” I shouted. Then, “Sorry Father!” recognizing ‘Pulpit John’.
“Hello, Matthew.” He surveyed the damage. “Oh dear!”
He held out a familiar list. “Incidentally, you left this in the confessional.”
Damn! Blushing, I read, ‘I drove at 80 m.p.h. for a mile, knowing that the limit was 60 m.p.h.’
He smiled. “Mysterious ways indeed!”
Featured in the book, To Cut a Short Story Short: 111 Little Stories
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