Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Green sins confessional

The Times reports that Dom Anthony Sutch, the Benedictine monk who resigned as head of Downside School to become a parish priest in Suffolk, will be at the county’s Waveney Greenpeace festival this weekend to hear eco-confessions in what is thought to be the first dedicated confessional booth of its kind.

Vested in a green chasuble-style garment made from recycled curtains, and in a booth constructed of recycled doors, he will hear the sins of of those who have not recycled the things they ought to have done and who have consumed the things they ought not to have done.

He told The Times: “It is not, I hope, blasphemous to do this. I do not think it is. It is just an attempt to make people conscious of the way they live. The Church is aware of green issues and of how aware we have to be of how we treat the environment.

“I know the Pope has now set up his own airline, but I am told the Vatican will be planting trees every time it flies. I do think the way we treat our environment is important.

“There is a huge amount of greed in the West. We have to be aware of the consequences of how we live.”

Father Sutch said that he tried “very hard” to live a green lifestyle but admitted that it was difficult. “I try not to turn on my heating but people come and stay with me and demand it. I get attacked for having a cold church. I have cut my electricity bill by 30 per cent.

"I try to grow my own vegetables and I buy my food from the local area. But when I travel to London I have to drive my car 30 miles to the station to catch the train because I cannot get a bus. My parish is spread out so I have to drive around it by car. It can be difficult to be green. I am hoping to find out about more that I can do at the fair this weekend.

“I’ve had one or two comments about abuse of the confessional. One or two people have said, ‘Father, is this quite right?’ Luckily, more people see it as an excellent idea. As with all these things, we have to look in the mirror and see what we could stop consuming ourselves.”