Sonny’s Confession

It is nighttime and Sonny is in the empty church of the Queen of Angels. He has been beside himself with worry about Courtney and getting little sleep. His priest, Father Coats, arrives to close up. Sonny makes a confession. March 27, 2002.


(Submitted scene for Emmy nomination).  

Sonny: (standing in front of the statue of the Virgin Mary) I'm not even sure I should be here or I have the right to ask for anything. I should probably be in the first pew, kneeling and begging for help from a merciful God. Not that, you know, I'm any good at begging or nothing . . . God has any reason to listen to me. Neither do you. But anyway I learned to say my Hail Mary from my mother. I actually know it better in Spanish than I do in English. We used to sit on my bed at night and we'd say it together. And when things got bad and I was older, you know, I'd hear her whispering it to herself, to you. And one time when she was crying and her mouth was bleeding, I said to her, "Why? Why even pray when you don't listen and you don't help?" And she said I was wrong, that you do hear us and you do care and that you send us grace every day. Grace to go on and grace to live through it. All I had to do was ask, so that's what I'm doing now. I'm just asking for help, not just for myself, but for my sister Courtney.

Sonny: (blesses himself, then speaks in Spanish) Virgin Maria, por favor, ayudeme. (Virgin Maria, please, help me).

(Next scene)

Sonny: I bought you this statue. Paid for it, anyway. It was my first wife's idea. They were renovating the church and they needed a new statue for this alcove, and Lily told me that the Virgin Mother would love it if I gave you one and I did. Do you like it enough to save my sister? I know that's wrong. I should not be bargaining. I've tried that. I've offered my life and anything I have if you would just save the people that I love. But that's not the way it works. You can't change God's will. You can only intercede and ask for mercy, so I'm just asking if maybe you can intercede for Courtney. She's run off with a man who is going to hurt her. His name is A.J. A.J. wants Michael back. He calls me a hypocrite because I stole his son away from him. He calls himself a father and he says Michael is his son by right. But I swear to you on Michael’s life I did not act out of vengeance. I love Michael, but I would never steal him away from his own father just to make myself happy. I did it because Michael has no father. A.J. will hurt him and destroy him. He killed his little brother, my son, and now he's got my sister. And he's forcing me to make a choice. So what I'm trying to say is please don't let my sister be hurt because of my choice. Enough people have been hurt because of me.

(Next scene. Sonny is sitting in the front pew of the church. His hands are folded on his lap and he’s continuing to pray).

I have sinned through my own fault, in my thought, in my word, in what I have done. You know what I've done. You see my heart. You see the hate that I carry there, the ambition. I have knowingly sinned for the sake of power. (Puts his hands to his face and tries to keep his composure, then continues, a little tearful). I have lied, I have stolen and I have killed and I will do it again because I will not give up what I've won. And if you want to send me to hell, if that's your judgment, then I’ll go because I will not be helpless. (sighs heavily, starts to cry a little bit, but stops). You've taken Lily, Stone, my children, and Brenda, and I accepted these losses. I understand that's the life that I got to, you know, I got to pay for that for the life that I've chosen. But these are my sins. Not Courtney’s and she don’t deserve any of this. If you're going to punish anybody, you punish me.

(Next scene. Sonny is asleep in the church pew. A priest comes in shuts the door. Sonny is startled awake).

Father Coats: I'm sorry. I didn't mean to startle you. Mr. Corinthos.

Sonny: Good evening, Father.

Father Coats: I thought the church was empty. I was just about to lock up.

Sonny: (Stands up) Oh, well, I'll go ahead and do . . . leave.

Father Coats: No, if you'd like a few more minutes to pray, I can close up the parish hall first.

Sonny: Thank you (sighs and sits back down).

Father Coats: Mr. Corinthos, you've been incredibly generous to this parish. And . . .

Sonny: Maybe I'm trying to buy my way into heaven.

Father Coats: That hasn't been my impression.

Sonny: Maybe it's blood money, you know, profits from the wrong I've done. Maybe by giving it to the church, it's just, you know, my way of washing it clean.

Father Coats: Well, it may come as a surprise, but the church is more interested in cleansing your soul than your money.

Sonny: Not everybody can be saved, Father.

Father Coats: That's up to God, Mr. Corinthos. (He sits down next to Sonny) You're a powerful man. But even you can't tell the Lord what he can and cannot do.

Sonny: To be saved, you have to be sorry for your sins. You have to promise God that you'll try not, you know, do your best not to sin again.

Father Coats: I see you've had the benefit of a Catholic education.

Sonny: Yes, sir, ten years.

Father Coats: You seem to be missing an essential point. God loves you, Mr. Corinthos. There's nothing he wants more than to help you.

Sonny: Then why does he keep taking away the people who matter to me? They had nothing to do with this. Why doesn't he just punish me instead?

Father Coats: Well, you seem to be doing an excellent job of punishing yourself when your time could be better spent.

Sonny: Doing what?

Father Coats: Changing your life.

Sonny: I've tried to change my life, Father. I left a woman I loved at the altar. I broke her heart to save her life and I went away and lost my mind. Am I giving you a confession right now?

Father Coats: Is that your intention?

Sonny: Well, if this is between you, me, and God, then I can, you know . . .

Father Coats: Yes, it is.

Sonny: (Turns to face the priest) There's a darkness inside of me, a place that has no bottom. If hell is the absence of God, then this place is the absence of light. I know it's there because, you know, I try to avoid it, I try to ignore it, but it's pulled me in three times. It's like being in a nightmare and not being able to wake up. That's what's waiting for me if I leave this life. I refuse to go back there, and I know that's selfish because, you know, I should make the sacrifice for the people I love. Do you think it will?

Father Coats: I'm not sure I understand.

Sonny: Well, God understands, you know? He understands everything. He understood when he put me in the hands of my stepfather and he also understood when he put Michael in my hands. God knows that I will protect that child no matter what. You know what? If I'm damned anyway, why not take advantage of it? Why not take the power of my sins and use it against my enemy?

Father Coats: You'll be perpetuating the very thing that brought you here. Hatred breeds hatred. The only solution is forgiveness.

Sonny: Oh, I understand forgiveness, Father. My mother used to forgive my father over and over and over and over (brief tears). You know what forgiveness is, Father? It's getting the permission to hit again. (Whispers) I won't do it. I won’t.

(Next scene)

Sonny is standing by himself in the church. He says a prayer in Spanish. (Santa Maria, Madre de dies, tu ruega por nosotros, los pecadores, ahora y en la hora de nuestra muerte. Amen). Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us, the sinners, now and in the hour of our death. Amen. He starts to light a candle, but then stops himself.