A Prayer For The Earth: Answering The Pope’s Call. A One Act Mini-Play.


Father: “In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”

Penitent: “Bless me father, I have sinned. It’s been about six months since my last confession.”

Father: “Go on…”

Penitent: “I visited a prostitute twice. I gave her counterfeit money the second visit. I took drugs maybe three, four times. I haven’t gone to mass since my last confession. I didn’t make my kids go, either. But that’s because my ex took them after we divorced. Um…last time I was at mass, I dropped the wafer thing, which I know is not supposed to happen. Uh…”

Father: “Anything else?”

Penitent: “Well, I was in a hurry last week, so…”

Father: “There is no shame here, my son. You must confess all.”

Penitent: “I was late for work, so I didn’t recycle. I threw a pop can in the regular trash. And…well, I knew it was wrong. I hid the can under some coffee grounds so the EPA police wouldn’t see it. That’s it, that’s everything.”

Father: “That’s it?”

Penitent: “Yes.”

Father: “This is very bad.”

Penitent: “I know.”

Father: “Failing to recycle hurts the Earth, you know.”

Penitent: “Yeah.”

Father: “And that can was also money. The deposit. You threw away money, money that could have helped The Poor™.”

Penitent: “I figured one of those bums or illegals might fish it out. They’re always going through the trash.”

Father: “No person is illegal, my son.”

Penitent: “Even those who break the law? No—I’m kidding. I’m joking. Nervous tension. You know how it is.”

Father: “Our bishop said we must be on ‘environmental alert‘. That we must examine our lifestyles with respect to the Earth. We need to meditate on how Brother Sky and Sister Moon feed and nurture us. The bishop said we need to ‘have a greater awareness of environmental and ecological issues’. He wants us to moderate our lifestyles. That’s it. That’s key. I’ve thought a lot about that and I feel we need to put the Earth first and foremost in our lifestyles. With every action, we need to ask, ‘Is this good or bad for the Earth?'”

Penitent: “It was just one can, and—”

Father: “That’s how it starts! A can is tossed into the wrong bin might seem like a small crime, but it’s a gateway. It opens the door. It starts you on a dark path. Today it’s a can, tomorrow you use a large wattage light bulb when you could have got by with one half as bright. And once you do that, what’s to stop you switching on the air conditioning? Next thing you know you’re leaving the car on idle at red lights, forgetting, even, that you have a carbon footprint. You mustn’t forget that your behavior influences others. If everybody threw cans away, the planet itself could face global warming! We could see a temperature rise of nearly a quarter of a degree by the century’s end. And then where would we be?”

Penitent: “I know. I am sorry.”

Father: “Yes, I can sense that you are. It’s well that you came in, and today of all days. It proves the Earth is watching out for you. Today, in case you have forgotten, is the day the Holy Father set aside to pray for the Earth. To pray for the ‘Care of Creation’. The Pope wants us to ask God’s forgiveness ‘for sins committed against the world in which we live.’ Your blithe can was one of these sins. ”

Penitent: “I see that.”

Father: “Pope Francis said we are experiencing an ‘ecological crisis’. He said, ‘living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.’ No more cans in the trash!”

Penitent: “Yes. I mean, no, father. Never again.”

Father: “Very well. I can feel that you are contrite. The Pope wants us to ‘reaffirm [our] personal vocation to be stewards of creation.’ So for your penance I want you to meditate on what the Earth means to you. And re-read the EPA’s Steps to an Environmentally Pure Life. Make that your prayer for Creation.”

Penitent: “I will.”

Father: “I absolve your from your environmental sins. Go in peace and sin no more.”

Penitent: “Thank you, father.”


  1. Oh, look! People are no longer part of God’s creation, in need of spiratual guidance or sermons on morality. Actually, it’s a lot easier than that nonsense about stealing, or prostitution, or marrying to have children. The EPA list is all inclusive and can be printed out on a couple cards for easy carrying. The moral superiority felt by those who comply is the ultimate secular—oops, I mean religious—high. Free at last to worship the true God—Gaia.

    Yes, creation is in need of prayer, just not the prayer implied here.

  2. Gary in Erko

    Reduce your carbon footprint or you’ll turn into a form of carbon yourself.
    Oh woe, oh woe, oh woe is me.

  3. John B()

    …last time I was at mass, I dropped the wafer thing, which I know is not supposed to happen…

    When I made my pre-Vatican II first communion that potentiality was presented (while returning from receiving the “wafer thing”) it might fall from your mouth because Father hadn’t gotten on your tongue properly (he was afraid you were going to bite his fingers off).

    You weren’t supposed to pick it up but were supposed to stand there pointing at it until Father realized your predicament and rescued the “wafer thingy” for you.

    One of the blessings of Vatican II is that you could take the “wafer thingy” in your hand.

  4. MattS

    Gary in Erko

    “Reduce your carbon footprint or you’ll turn into a form of carbon yourself.”

    You are already a form of carbon.

  5. JTLiuzza

    JohnB that’s what the communion plate is for.

    And Vatican II had absolutely nothing to do with the despicable practice of taking the Eucharist in your hand.

    That practice was begun in disobedience then allowed, on a limited basis, by indult. From there it spread like wildfire, hand in hand (so to speak) with the plummet in the belief in the Real Presence.

    Your own post betrays you.

    And VII was dead on arrival. A Saintly Pope will one day put it where it belongs: on the ash bin of history along with that despicable frankenstein protestantized bugnini mass it spawned.

  6. Well, I’m not sure every priest will be that much taken by Laudato Si. As I’ve said in a previous post, that encyclical is much like the Curate’s Egg. Although one might think of it as being spoiled, there are parts that are excellent.
    One thing we should pray for: that the Holy Father stop seeking the advice of non-Catholics (e.g. Naomi Klein) who oppose everything the Church is trying to uphold.

  7. I believe the Pope is being mocked for appearing to be worshipping the earth and not God.

  8. John B()


    communion plate … It’s called a paten … I wielded one (it got extremely confusing when you didn’t know who would receive it how – a nightmare for the altar boy).

    Even so, receiving it the “proper” manner, It is possible to receive it and not have it under control and lose it as you’re trying to negotiate it in your mouth (it was a possibility suggested by the good sisters during my Communion instruction).

    Your own post betrays you
    (mea culpa … but I WAS also quoting Briggs’ imaginary congregant’s term “wafer thing”)

    I believe in the presence of Christ … where two or more … I don’t discount that the two could be oneself and Christ … but today I do have problems with the concept of transubstantiation. If, as a former Catholic that makes me more culpable, I guess I’m in serious jeopardy. I really do respect Catholics (most of my family is still Catholic), I apologize for any offense, I can go overboard in tongue-in-cheek. (I was really freaked out by the recent change in the Litany of the Mass.)

    Bob :: One thing we should pray for: that the Holy Father stop seeking the advice of non-Catholics (e.g. Naomi Klein) who oppose everything the Church is trying to uphold.

    You DID see my comment about the Pope seeking the advice from Oprah Winfrey regarding “public relations”, I’ll relink if you want.

  9. You guys aren’t going to win any converts with this sort of unpleasant humor.


  10. Gary

    The penitent got off easy.

  11. JohnB(): I went to the link and saw the following:
    “Pope Francis admitted to an Argentinian newspaper, via the Daily Mail, that he hadn’t actually watched TV in the last quarter of a decade.”
    This would suggest that the bad advice he is getting is from inside the Vatican.
    I am really conflicted. The Holy Spirit is supposed to direct what happens at the election of a new Pope…. given this to be true, is there some long-range, subtle effect of all these strange doings of our Holy Father that we aren’t aware of in our limited vision?

  12. JMJ: No one was trying to win converts. That’s what progressives do. Religion speaks the truth even if no one follows it. It’s not about consensus.

    John B(): I seriously hope that this is not true. If it is, that would be the final sign that this Pope has nothing whatsoever to do with God and everything to do with man. As I noted for JMJ, religion speaks the truth, not tries to be one of the popular kids. This pope is looking more and more like a dangerous false prophet who craves attention more than anything else. The MTV glamour Pope–not a religious leader.

    Bob: Historically, hasn’t the Catholic church had to backtrack and remove a pope because he clearly wasn’t following doctrine and was not interested in the church? Sadly, I can’t see that happening today. (Yes, the Holy Spirit is supposed to direct what happens at the election of a Pope, but that does not mean those doing the electing are paying any attention to the direction provided.)

  13. Sheri, I don’t know of any Popes that have been removed, or what an approved mechanism for doing this might be (akin to impeachment and conviction). There have been schisms and anti-pope way back when, but I don’t think that sort of thing might happen nowadays. Again, the notion is that the Cardinals who were the Electors were being moved by the Holy Spirit to do the right thing. Certainly that was the case for Pope St. John Paul II and for Pope emeritus Benedict XVI. Maybe it will turn out to be the case also for Pope Francis.

  14. Gary

    Matt. 7:16 applies, I think.

  15. Bob: You are an eternal optimist. I hope your optimism comes true, but at this point, I’m leaning toward a more pessimistic outcome.

  16. John B()


    I think JMJ’s a live and let live kind a guy

    (unless you’re a conservative – then its “first against the wall…”)

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