This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Monday, 10 February 2014

QUAERITUR: Should I wake the priest?

Dear Father E, when I make Confession I often find that the priest starts yawning. Sometimes, he even asks me to repeat some of my sins - the enumeration of them, that is - on the grounds that he "dropped off for a moment". I am terrified that one day he will fall into a deep sleep. If this happens, what should I do?

priest yawning

... and I've put more details on my blog, Father.

Father E replies: Sleep is a gift from God, and, given that you sometimes doze off during the priest's homily, it is only natural that he in turn should grab a much-needed forty winks while you are telling him how you spent the week. I have seen your written account of the incident in question, and I am not sure that it was necessary to give the full details of how A insulted you on Twitter so that you screen-capped her words, and then B got involved and wrote a nasty post on his own tedious blog, and then C joined in and started stalking you, and then, ... zzzzz... sorry, where was I?

Pope sleeping

Do you get excommunicated if you nudge a pope?

Now, if your confessor falls asleep, there are several things you might do:

1. Stop talking, and wait patiently until he wakes up again. Of course, this might not be for eight hours or so...
2. Tiptoe out quietly, so as not to wake him. However, experts would say that you had not fully completed your confession.
3. Cough loudly, bang on the confessional, shout "WAKE UP, FATHER!" Probably best, but a little discourteous.

parrot sleeping

The sins of a parrot are not usually very interesting.

Frankly, the best way to avoid such a situation is to invent some interesting sins, as recommended by certain bishops. You could, for example, walk in covered with blood and pretend that you have just murdered your grandmother. Then, having got the priest's attention, you say, "It's all right. Only joking. It was only the deacon." This is probably more interesting than seeking absolution for the sin of wearing liturgically-incorrect socks at the Church Fayre. The priest may even stay awake.

Dull and Boring

Not the best place to make your confession.


  1. This is a sort of Confession of desire - just confess and then imagine what he would say if he were awake and then leave. He'll most likely ask you to say 3 Hail Mary's anyway. It would be sinfully selfish to wake him up, poor chap.

  2. The last time I went to confession, the priest told me not to be silly and said I was a saint . I think he must have heard a lot of interesting confessions in his time to conclude this.

    1. Thank you Saint Cressida de Nova! Pray for me and intercede for me.

  3. Sleep is not the only sacerdotal hazard in the confessional.

    Once after a lengthy confession (it had been more than two weeks…) the confessor said: “Would you come around to the other side. This is my bad ear. I didn’t hear a thing.”


    I think he should have put up a sign.