At the beginning of it all he worried that he had no one to confess to. It had become a habit, confessing even when he had nothing much to confess to. It got to the point where he would have even confessed to a non-Catholic just to get the weight of tiny sins off his soul.
Then the front line started moving closer. Then he spent the time that should have been used for Sunday prayers with his hands inside a dying soldier because there were too many wounded and not enough nurses or doctors.
He committed sins that night, once the last of the wounded had been tucked into bed and the last of the dead slipped into their coffins, and he felt no need to confess. The anger overwhelmed any guilt or shame.
He had finally seen the sin that was war and knew that no one would ask for absolution. Not the people that should at any rate. The common solider with a gun in his hand might beg God for forgiveness but the generals wouldn’t, nor the politicians. And until they felt the need to get down on their knees and weep for what they had done Mulcahy felt far less need to be absolved for his own little, and some days not so little, sins.