Monday, April 21, 2008

Joyce Imitation: Father Conmee

Hours Later The Very Reverend John Conmee returned to his old Jesuit Chapel at Clongowes Wood College to read and think back on his lovely day. Erroris ex humanis, profiteer quod penitentia est optimus via oro per Deus. He recants of the couple protruding from the light bush and the one-legged sailor. He thinks about the priestly duty to bless all of God’s children even though some make wrong decisions. This sailor clearly was one of them.

- Those who sin must recant to remain in God’s light to keep away from the darkness of Lucifer.

He reaches back in his satchel for a book which reminded him much of Ave as he sits in the rectory. As he flips page after page, solemnly he reminisces about those in the unfortunate lands inhabited by the unbaptized ones. He ponders whether there are Jesuit monasteries in those lands for the colored men and women so that they may be saved from eternal punishment. The romantics reveled the meaning of those who were not baptized. He knows that those of Dublin have him to confide in with their troubles.

As he begins to read again he hears the opening of the parish door behind him. He had always looked in favor of those who pray daily and visit the church. Turning to see who has graced him with their presence, he notices that it is McDonnell, a man he had once met at a gathering at the house of Mrs. Michaels originally from the Welshland. Conmee tipped his hat to McDonnell as he dipped his hand in holy water and did the sign of the cross. Interesting, the priest thought as McDonnell slowly approached him with the scent of Guinness on his breath.

- I am looking to be healed, are you free for confession?

Getting up quietly, he gestured McDonnell over to the booth as he entered. McDonnell opened the door on the other side of the confession booth and noisily sat down on the other side of the divider.

- Et nomine Patris, et Fili, et Spiriti Sancte...

Seeming impatient, McDonnell interrupts Father Conmee as if in a hurry to repent his sins. The priest, thinking back to his first encounter with the Dedalus boy, thinks of those who do not put God as their savior and the inevitable afterlife that men like him will unfortunately lead. Unlike Dignam, sileo in pacis, when Stephen dies God will not be there to take away his sins and lead him to heaven.

- What is it my son, what are your sins?

McDonnell portrays a long, seemingly vague story about a man who has coveted his wife who is of the Jewish descent, hailing from Germany. As the holy priest listens in on this man’s tale, with hatred in his voice, Father thinks on how men and woman commit acts upon those who are married. What condescending thoughts. As the priest finished up the confession with the drunken man, all Father Conmee can think about is his pity rather than sympathy for this man. How well I am respected in this community are his final thoughts.

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