I've been searching for about a year to no avail. I read this story about 6-7 years ago in what I'm pretty sure is a print short story collection, although I could be mistaken.

The story starts with the protagonist going to a church to make a confession; we find out that he's telepathic, and makes a living scamming casinos. He starts by talking about how he has to be careful to not take too much. He then tells how he gets noticed by another guy who's telekinetic in the parking lot, and the two of them become a team.

Now obviously, there's a love interest - this lady who works in a coffee shop or a bar of some sort. It turns out that she's also telekinetic, but not very good. Our protagonist falls in love with her, and vows never to use his power to make her love him. Unfortunately:

Because the telekinetic guy spends lots of time teaching her how to improve her powers, they end up together. Eventually, the love triangle gets out of hand. In the end, he ends up killing the telekinetic dude. I remember the scene where the telekinetic guy crashes down the stairs, and he's not quite dead, but then the protagonist gets inside his head and basically convinces him to 'give up' and he dies.

Eventually the story zooms back to the confession scene:

where the priest says he can't forgive him for his sins, but then the guy ends up using his power, forcing the priest to forgive him, and he leaves the church crying.

ANY help would be incredibly appreciated in identifying this story. Thanks in advance

EDIT - additional information. I believe it's a catholic priest because he's in a confession booth of some sort, and calls him 'father'; at the very end, he asks for forgiveness (for the murder) and the priest, after hearing the story, essentially says he can't do that. The protagonist gets agitated, and unwittingly uses his abilities of mind control. The priest halts mid-sentence, and says something like "oh...sorry I lost my train of thought. I forgive you", and the protagonist, wracked with guilt, says "I'm sorry Father"

I have no idea what conditions priests use to forgive! I didn't write this story - just describing what the story was about.

  • Could you explain the part about the priest saying he can't forgive him? What kind of priest is that? Catholic priests, as far as I know, are empowered to forgive any and all sins, and have no discretion in the matter: the penitent confesses, the priest says "ego te absolvo," that's his job. – user14111 Sep 29 '16 at 5:46
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    I don't think it's your story, but the description reminds me of Robert Silverberg's Dying Inside. – Joe L. Sep 29 '16 at 5:52
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    @user14111 - Plus, using telepathy to make a priest forgive you seems…odd. The absolution comes from God (as they used to say, “Dominus noster Jesus Christus te absolvat.”), and is dependent on the contrition of the penitent. – Adamant Sep 29 '16 at 6:10

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