In reference to the May 7, 2000 New York Times article, by Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete, at the above URL:
Earlier this year, I attended a seminar with the author, and he was exactly as he appears in the article—a vaudeville comedian who articulates orthodox, lofty theology with laser like precision, in a way that anyone can understand.
Personally, I have never understood the phenomena of laughter. I always found Freud's explanation of humor depressing and unsatisfactory. The way the Puerto Rican Albacete bundles the teaching of serious topics with humorous stories is outside my Irish Catholic comfort zone. I mean, how can you tell jokes about something as serious as the confession of sins? Nevertheless, I immediately understood Lorenzo's comments about giddiness and laughter. It explains my awful, embarrassing habit of laughing while at funerals and at other inappropriate situations.
Note Albacete's implied criticism of formalism, of which I am guilty. I also appreciate his casting of confession as something that is less of a moral accounting, of which I am also guilty, than it is an act of completely exposing our innermost selves in front of the Ultimate.
Albacete is trying to teach us that a sincere confession of sin is something beyond the mere formal or legalistic expiation of moral guilt. It is a deep, gasping cry of desire to be loved by the Ultimate-- by the mysterious God who loves me, despite my insignificance. And what joy! I may be just starting to understand this laughter and giddiness business.