Cleansing Fire

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Clarity vs. the Veil of Sin

November 7th, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Yes, we are all sinners.  Let’s get that out of the way first.  But there is a crucial difference between being repentant, repeatedly, with a firm purpose of amendment, or wanting to be indulged and coddled in sin.  There is a crucial difference between humility and pride.  And there is a crucial difference between the clarity of seeing our own sinfulness for what it is, and the veil of rationalization which tries to justify wrong behavior in the interest of personal self esteem, mine or someone else’s.

A recent National Catholic Register article by Edward Pentin (who followed the Synod sessions so well, and so professionally) is the short, must read article, for the background on what prompts this post.   And the first subject is Cardinal Danneels. Do you remember that just before the conclave began in 2013, there was a random generator of Cardinal profiles, “Adopt a Cardinal,” to pray for during the conclave? Well, the person assigned to me was Cardinal Danneels. In retrospect, my prayer warrior skills must need serious sharpening.  Now, thanks to the revelations associated with the Synod, we are learning more than perhaps we can stomach about Cardinal Danneels.  He is the one who has named himself as part (if not leader) of the self-styled ‘mafia’ group within the hierarchy who now gloats over his opposition to Pope Benedict XVI. He is also the one Pope Francis invited into the Synod process as a special guest.

Holy Spirit Window in St. Joseph's Church in Zabrze, Poland

Holy Spirit Window in St. Joseph’s Church in Zabrze, Poland

My purpose isn’t to probe those matters; Pentin does an excellent job and I doubt we’ve heard the last of it. Rather, it is to peer at some commonality of agenda among those who cloak their permissiveness as mercy, while really only accommodating sin or easing their own consciences. And I’ll just choose one item, the centerpiece of those who advocate encouraging what has always been against Catholic Church Teaching, i.e. the matter over which the Church lost England, and Sts. Thomas More, John Fisher, Edmund Campion and many others lost their lives. That matter is about what really does matter: the Church’s two millennial teaching, directly from Christ, that valid marriage cannot be dissolved, that pseudo-remarriage is adultery, a mortal sin in which state the Church would be less than a true guardian of the most sublime gift, if she were to selectively admit adulterers to the Sacrament.

Danneels, Kasper and other prominent dissidents to Church Teaching, and those who lobby gay activism, e.g., seem to be following in the path of the U.S. government, that the more permissive the leadership, the more they will be supported by the people whose individual sins make the ‘approved’ list; hence, the rapid slide down the slippery slope of abortion, euthanasia, same sex ‘unions’. Whether it is transgender teens using whatever bathroom they choose, or clerks jailed for refusing to sign a same-sex marriage license, or a Little Sister targeted to carry contraceptive coverage, the bleachers of the coliseum cheer on the entertainment, and tolerate each other’s sins because their own will be permitted. To have the arrogance, obstinacy and aggression to be a Church Leader and to behave in ways approving of what Christ called adultery, or to help people feel good in their adultery, betrays everything which a guardian of Eucharist should defend.  Thus, while perhaps they can’t see through their own veils, they are easy to recognize behind the veiled distortion, like through a one-way mirror.

In the current situation, dissident Church leaders and their minions would try to argue that some kind of ‘treatment’ can bring the divorced/remarried/adulterers back into receiving Communion.  The euphemism seems to be ‘walking with them.’  No, I don’t want to walk with anybody in their sin (or mine.)  I want to walk with them OUT of their (and my) sin. But those dissidents would argue it is about ‘mercy,’ a code-word that should be carefully watched as it unfolds over the ‘Year of Mercy,’ IMO. In some ways, but I hope I’m wrong, I worry that this is a year to get us more used to tolerating certain sins.  May it not be so.

If we probe more deeply what these proposals mean, it seems to be yet another ‘end-run’ around Christ’s and the Church’s teachings.  There is already an answer in place which allows divorced/remarried (without annulment) Catholics to come to Communion every week, every day if they choose.  The only thing they have to do is stop having sexual relations with the person in the ‘second marriage.’  The Church used to call that ‘living as brother and sister.’  It keeps families together, and sacrifices one’s self-centeredness for the love of God.  But in today’s secular world, surrounded by enticements of SEX at every turn, the soul needs powerful medicine to get free of the tendrils of living as a pagan.  It seems that SEX is treated as being as important to the body as oxygen or water, and people who are able to surrender such needs to God as being a bit ‘off,’ like a truly celibate priest whom the world will never understand, but will always respond with discomfort to what they themselves cannot control, and envy someone else’s ability to do so.

We just had the reading at daily Mass from Luke 14: 25-33, in which Jesus says:

“If anyone comes to Me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”  

This passage is a stumbling block to many over the word “hate.”  And the word from the Greek is ‘miseo’ and does, indeed, mean “hate.” Sometimes this verse is preached to mean we should love God first, and then family, etc.  But that does not do justice to the use of the word ‘hate’ which does not just imply ordering in importance those whom we love, but rather removes God entirely from the order of love of other humans.  The use of such a word shows that, by comparison, our love for other humans should be so far removed in importance from our love of God, that the difference is night and day, hate and love.  It isn’t even on the same scale, so the word hate has to be used, not in the sense of actually hating, but of having a love for God which can’t even be on the same scale as love for other humans.

So, if someone in an ‘irregular’ marriage, to use the common euphemism of not a marriage at all, has such a love for God that he or she deeply desires to receive Communion, the Church in her mercy does provide a way, simply live in the current relationship without SEX.  That it seems so impossible is simply the disordering of the love we are called to have regarding our love for Christ.  And if we put the SEX of a relationship first, in any relationship, then perhaps we really shouldn’t be going to Communion?  And perhaps it isn’t a matter of finding tricky synod loopholes, or ‘counseling’ for ‘feelings’ of repentance.  There is a great arrogance about thinking that somehow any ‘counseling’ or ‘behavior change’ can bring souls to a metanoia ready to receive the Eucharist.  The Holy Spirit works in souls, not the spiritual advisor.

But there will still be confessors, spiritual advisors and simply people behind the veil of their own distortions, who lack clarity and understanding, or who will jump the barricade and try to ‘forgive’ a sin not being repented.  They abrogate the Holy Spirit’s working in souls at His own pace, they may well interfere with the process of true conversion of heart and finding the God to love above all, and they even (knowing better) put their own souls at risk.  I don’t understand why any priest, bishop or Cardinal would risk going to hell for somebody else’s SEX life.

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4 Responses to “Clarity vs. the Veil of Sin”

  1. avatar II Cor 2.11 says:

    This article reminds me of a saying by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen: “The truth is the truth even if no one believes it and a lie is a lie even if everyone believes it.”

  2. avatar Scott W. says:

    Off-topic: Next door in Buffalo, the SS Colomba and Brigid parish put on their marquee: “Jesus had 2 Dads and he turned out just fine.” The good news is the moment Bp. Malone found out about it, he had it removed. The explanation is that the parish was directing the message to families with step-parents. I’ll leave it to others to mull over if they buy that, but the more important lesson is to keep the Bishop informed. Ya never know.

  3. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Tonight’s LifeSiteNews has a story of Father Stravinskas’ parents living in abstinence so they could go to Communion. Beautiful story which echoes the above post, or vice versa. Father spoke at Notre Dame Retreat House during the 2012 Festival for Freedom, celebrated Mass and it is easy to see how he is a blessing of his parents’ humbly obeying Jesus.

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/my-parents-lived-as-brother-and-sister-for-25-years-so-they-could-receive-c?utm_source=LifePetitions+petition+signers&utm_campaign=d8bb0ff171-Update_to_Catholic_list11_9_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c5c75ce940-d8bb0ff171-398792133


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