They have WAYS to make you confess, and…

Ahead of January’s World Youth Day there is construction ongoing at Catholic churches around Panama. Note the stack of cinderblocks between the main church in Las Uvas de San Carlos and the annex where Sunday school classes are held. On the road to El Valle, this particular church might be a popular place for backpacking pilgrims to stay overnight, if that is in the plans. If that is contemplated, one would suspect that they might want to add some more toilets and some showers. Photo by Eric Jackson. 


You disgusting degenerate! You coveted your neighbor’s ass, and when you die, you are going directly to Hell. Do not pass Go, do not collet 30 pieces of silver. UNLESS you confess your sins and are granted absolution.

(It might be hard if you were not brought up Catholic. What if the condition imposed is so many Hail Marys, but did learn the drill and your throwing arm is so out of shape that it’s unlikely that you could reach the end zone?)

In Parque Omar right now, church and state are collaborating to build the Parque del Perdon, a maze of 250 confession booths. La Estrella reports that 35 prisoners from unpleasant places like La Joya are among the construction crew.

Some months ago the World Youth Day organizing committee announced a budget of some $54.4 million for the event, which will bring in many people from all over the world. Surely a lot of the expenses will be off of that budget, covered by other entities. If terrorists, fraud artists and convicted sex offenders are not to slip into the country with the devout, for example, the there will have to be extra staff and overtime pay at Migracion as the pilgrims converge on Panama.

The visitors will spend money in Panama and getting to and from here, so it would be no big surprise if the Panamanian economy scores a large net gain in the whole transaction that will be World Youth Day. If Pope Francis, who will be here for the occasion, has a good time that will be gravy — maybe also quantifiable in balboas y centavos, if anyone is both such a sharp economist and so crude.


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