Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mea Maxima Culpa

"The problem, then, is not sin, but the self-absolution and self-justification of our sins… and also a total lack of honor and responsibility when it comes to sin’s consequences. Modern people like to make beds, large beds, but they don’t like to sleep in them. That is the difference between the bad Catholics of yesteryear, and even the “good Catholics” of today. Bad Catholics back then knew they were bad. They had a sense of shame. They would go to Mass, stay in the back, and slink off before anyone could see them as they went back to live with a significant other who wasn’t their spouse, or to continue living their sinful lifestyle. It wasn’t ideal, and it wasn’t edifying, but at least they had a modicum of dignity about it."

Read the full post here.

I remember back in the day when the Clinton - Lewinsky scandal first erupted, our old parish priest made a comment in his homily condemning the former U.S. president-- not so much for cheating on his wife, but for choosing such an ugly substitute. Of course, he was telling it in jest, but I can't help but think he made an important point: Why sin when you can't even enjoy it? In the Philippines, it is almost a given to expect husbands to cheat at least once on their wives. It's also common for men of all rank and age to keep a mistress, if he can manage it; in my own family I know of several relatives who kept a mistress or two at one time or another. It's not a pretty thought, but really quite common.

But what is the point of this post? Lest anyone make such a mistake, I am definitely not advising you (especially you, male readers) to take a mistress or two just because it is common. I guess my point is, people should grow a pair and start dealing with their own problems, instead of sucking up to the Church and throwing a hissy fit when She disagrees. I'll admit, I'm a bad Catholic, I hate going to confession and if I had the choice, I would much rather sleep in till noon on Sunday than wake up at 8 to go to Mass. But then again, I would be a much worse person if I opted to follow myself than face the consequences of my actions. I am thankful, at least, that the Church in the Philippines has not shed its in-your-face attitude yet when dealing with these things.

I've met too many bad Catholics to know for sure that it is impossible to live one's life without having at least one major f--k up. Perhaps it's because I grew up in a Catholic culture that I don't ever expect the Church to budge on the issues She holds dear. This is a country where divorce is (thankfully!) still illegal, although the issue has been raised to court many times already, the earliest in the 1930s. It did not work then, and it will not work now, not only because of the massive political clout the Church still wields, but because, infidelities and illegitimacies considered, the hearts of the people have not yet lost the sacred sense of matrimony. Ultimately, I am but dust and ash, and to presume that I have the right to break my vow before God would be the ultimate impiety I could commit.

In the old days, when the time for the sermon at Sunday Mass had come, the priest would order a few of his acolytes to lock the church doors from outside, since the men would choose this time to go out of the church (presumably to avoid being chastised). They would come back in time to witness the consecration, and again exit once their wives and children had received Communion (if any did). Despite the 'impossibility' of Church praxis, however, no one in their right mind would ever think of breaking with Her. She may be a hard woman to please, but ultimately, She is a forgiving Mother to us all.

And here now is the most disturbing comment for us today: we no longer have the honor, dignity, and dare I say, the balls, to call ourselves sinners. That should be cause for concern for all of us.

1 comment:

Enbrethiliel said...


I always thought there was a reasonable defense for Rizal's door-locking Padre Damaso. ;)


A Fellow Bad Catholic