Here is an article on the Catholicism of Joe Garagiola who was a Major League Baseball player and "Today Show" co-host.
He also recalled the long lines in front of "Father Lupo’s" confessional because the priest didn’t speak English.
Joking about being a "big venial sin guy" in the old days, Garagiola attended St. Ambrose School and St. Mary’s High School in St. Louis. He credited his seventh-grade teacher with his good penmanship on autographed baseballs.
One day, he said, while trying to get a laugh out of a nun in religion class, he answered the question "What was St. Paul’s vision on the way to Damascus?" by writing "20/20" and thought, "You’re a genius, Joe!"
Many times during his speech, Garagiola stressed that the lessons he learned from the nuns and priests in school remain with him today. For instance, he recalled a priest explaining to him that "it’s not easy to be a good Catholic, but the fact that you are a Catholic makes it easier to be strong."
Garagiola talked about his devotion to the Blessed Mother.
" If you ever want anything, go to the Mother," he said, adding that her month of May is his favorite month. He recited his favorite prayer, from childhood, called "To Our Lady," that begins "Lovely lady, dressed in blue." He said that when he dies he wants to hear Jesus say, "Yeah, my mother told me about you." [Source]
I liked the line about St. Paul’s vision on the road to Damascus and people going to confession to a priest that couldn’t understand them is also funny. Though I do wonder about the validity of Father Lupo’s confessions for those who did not share his native language. One of the requirements for a valid confession is to complete a penance assigned to you. The priest determines the penance based on the sins confessed and whether a mortal sin was confessed. If he was unable to understand the penitents confession he could not determine an appropriate penance. Another factor would be the contriteness of the penitent. If a priest believes that the person is not contrite or was holding back on the sins confesses then he has a duty to refuse absolution.
You wrote: “One of the requirements for a valid confession is to complete a penance assigned to you.”
Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I think what you wrote is incorrect. Failure to complete the penance assigned to you does not invalidate confession, as far as I know.
Fred is right. The penance is a separate issue from the absolution/validity of the sacrament. I regularly ask each of my penitents if one is able to fulfill the penances which I have assigned. If the pentitent says “yes,” I continue with the prayer of absolution. The penance should be reasonable and “do-able,” and a good confessor should inquire frequently whether the penance assigned is reasonable.
If the stereotyped “Three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys) is within Fr. Lupo’s vocabulary, I suppose he could probably guess the rest by tone of voice and length of confession. After a few decades hearing them, I imagine you can pick up the gist.
I went to school with Joe’s nephews at SLUH. A good Catholic Italian family from The Hill.
Joe Garagiola has no sense of humor. He was a very close friend of Pres. Gerald Ford and in doing an interview after Mr. Ford’s death, Garagiola said he was irritated to no end over the way Chevy Chase made fun of his many falls off Air Force One. Give me a break!! That was so tame and not mean spirited at all on the part of Chevy Chase. In fact I think Pres. Ford used to laugh about it and appeared with Chevy many times. They became good friends. For Garagiola to be offended by comedy that innocuous is inexcusable and almost criminal. Garagiola has always been a dimwit who reached his level of incompetence like it’s never been reached before. To think that he actually hosted The Today Show for a few years as inarticulate as he is is mindnumbing.