Confessions of a Holy Ghost writer

One should always be grateful to our ecclesiastical authorities for discovering new ways of sinning. Unfortunately, while ingenuity in discovering faults waxes, oracular confession wanes. This leaves the penitent sinner with an ever increasing burden of guilt with no ready means of relief. In my case, however, the nature of the transgression is such that a public confession in the pages of Commonweal would be more than appropriate.

The Vatican has recently revealed the error of having lay persons deliver sermons at Mass and therefore sternly decreed that only a priest may homilize. In my former diocese, one of the most powerful and sought-after preachers was a vowed woman religious. Properly she should now retreat to the blessed silence of the cloister whence she strayed into the pulpit.

I am certain that she will there have ample time for penitence at the presumption of her preaching. My case is more grievous and less amenable to remedy.

At the instigation of a friendly Jesuit, I have been writing sermons which are printed up in a publication distributed to priests throughout the land.

I am, I confess, a Holy Ghost writer. Presumably my words may be read out in churches from coast to coast. The voice is the voice of the priest, but the words are the words of a layman. Now, I am certain that priestly charism transubstantiates my lame lay prose into inspired revelation, but do not my efforts...

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