Confession is a major plot point in the story, so I figured I’d bring Mom in to explain…
Mom: Confession is a Roman Catholic sacrament. You’ve probably seen it in movies. The idea is that you tell a priest the things you’ve done wrong.
Catholics are only required to confess to mortal sins (the worst ones). But they’re also encouraged to confess venial sins (less dire ones). It’s good practice. For some Catholics, this feels good — refreshing, cleansing. For others it just feels like a nuisance. [Some do it, some don’t.]
Mortal (send you to Hell): murder, theft, adultery, etc
Venial (send you to Purgatory): temper, selfishness, unfairness, etc
Yumi: …and then I yelled at my brother
Alex: Say three Hail Marys, and go with the grace of God.
When you finish confessing, the priest gives you a penance (an assignment to make up for the sinning) and a blessing. Catholics don’t believe that priests actually have the power to forgive sins. That’s reserved to God. But God won’t forgive your sins if you don’t confess them, and only priests can hear confessions.
Yumie: I killed a man just to watch him die.
Alex: That’s going to take a few more Hail Marys.
Fortunately, to make it easier to be honest, everything said in confession is completely confidential. Even if you commit a crime, the priest can only encourage you to tell the police. He can’t report it himself.
Heinkel and Yumiko are about to throw the sanctity of confession out the window. For a Catholic, this is ridiculously unethical. For Section XIII, it’s all in a day’s work.