Where he lost the desire to priest (or preach or what have you) was in the penance. To sit in a dusty box (metaphorically dusty-for Allister did take care to dust regularly-which you may have already deduced) and listen to people dump all their sins and ask for advice on how to make them better was too much for him. There was a discomfort that crept in him.
Sure, he could offer penance to many sins easily. The stealing, the adultery, the murder. The penance for these in most particular order went like this: return the item, apologize and be honest, and turn yourself in to the proper authorities. These were all followed with a special caveat to bear the punishment that you deserved. It can go without saying, that Allister did not necessarily wish for bloody murderers in his church. But, it was easy to offer them advice. Whether or not they took to the advice was not up to Allister. So, in these easy cases-though they be awful in many ways-Allister could crank and turn the penance out like a penance factory. Most of these people knew the answers to their guilt anyway.
It was in the common sins. The lying. The cursing. The disobeying. How do you answer these questions? How do you offer advice when you, too, find yourself stumbling? Is it not part of life? Is it not okay to make mistakes? What do you tell someone who has lied and feels the pang of guilt?
At first, Allister would crank these out like the major sinners. Kneeling and prayers were the simple answers from the books. But, people kept coming back broken. They would keep lying and keep feeling those pangs. Allister wracked his brain. You could not make someone promise not to lie again. Nine and half times out of ten those promises are also lies, which lead to a deeper guilt. Do you make someone fast? For how long? Until they stop lying? How will they know when that will be? What if they were children? Fasting with no end was too cruel for someone so young.
Allister felt guilt for all the minor sins that he could not alleviate. He felt guilt that he did not feel as guilty for his own minor sins. He began looking into the eyes behind the iron mesh in the confessional box and asking why they felt so guilty. Began saying blatantly, “You do not need my help. If you are harming someone, correct it. If you are not harming someone, stop feeling guilty. If something makes you feel guilty, stop doing it, for heaven’s sake. If you keep doing it, stop feeling guilty about it. We are probably all doing it.”
Allister felt it not his decision to condemn those that wanted to be condemned. It led to people feeling powerless in correcting their own problems on Earth. He meant no disrespect for the priesthood and, on the contrary, held much respect for many priests he met. But, it was not for him. And so, Allister hung his collar in the sacristy of Saint Vitus (though, as I said earlier, he kept his robe for some time after).