In all the years I have known all the priests I have ever known, not one has ever violated the sanctity of the confessional, to my knowledge; which is a remarkable and refreshing sentence, when you think about it, because privacy in matters of spiritual tumult is a basic and essential tenet of our faith.
Yet over the years I have heard many riveting stories of things said to priests while the priests and the tellers of the tales were not formally engaged in the sacrament of reconciliation, and I repeat some of these in amazement, because they are funny and poignant, and taken collectively they say something about how sweet and weird and complicated we are as a species. To wit:
Brian Doyle is editor of Portland magazine at the University of Portland. He is the author of Leaping: Revelations and Epiphanies, A Shimmer of Something: Lean Stories of Spiritual Substance, and, most recently, Martin Marten, a novel.