Thursday, May 16, 2002

Bright Promise, Failed Community

One can point to many examples of the religious and moral rot found within the once solidly Catholic nature of the Church's ecclesiastical institutions. Many priests in their parishes today, purposely or unselfconsciously, blur the important distinction between God's infinite mercy with the uncritical acceptance of a therapeutic mentality. Psychologist William Kirk Kilpatrick, for instance, speaks of a priest in one Catholic Church who tells his congregation, "The purpose of Christ's coming was to say, 'You're OK, and I'm OK'". Kilpatrick continues, "In other churches, parents are told that their children are incapable of sinning, because 'that's what psychologists tell us.' ...Almost everywhere, salvation is being equated with self-growth or feelings of OK-ness. In short, Christians have let their faith become tangled in a net of popular ideas about self-esteem and self-fulfillment that aren't Christian at all." As such, sociologist James O'Kanes (1991) study indicating that priests are themselves going to confession less often today than in previous decades should come as no surprise.

-Page 71, Bright Promise, Failed Community : Catholics and the American Public Order by Joseph A. Varacalli (2000, Lexington Books)

If anything, that very last sentence is the scariest part. Our priests, obviously, lead us by their preaching of the Gospel, but like it says at the top of my web page, leading by action is just as important, if not moreso. When we diminish the importance of the Sacrament of Confession, we trivialize the very serious nature of sin. I'm sure this pleases Satan to no end, but it sets a very deadly trap for ourselves. One need not look very far nowadays to see where that has led us.

Go to confession this weekend folks. I beg you to go. Lord, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

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