I would normally ignore the new attempt of the 60’s “Catholic” crowd to con the church into re-defining sin to accommodate their proclivities, particularly after Mark Shea delivered the perfect one line takedown:
Some people have lived 44 years since 1968. Some people have lived 1968 44 times.
and a follow up by Tom McDonald longer but just as good:
Their complaints are the usual litany of tediousness: less pope, more sex. That’s really it. That’s what it all boils down to: children who don’t like being told what to do with their gentiles by an adult. It’s not like they’re in a screaming hurry to rewrite our understanding of the dual nature of Christ in the incarnation, or dismantle the preferential option for the poor. They’re only attacking this make-believe boogeyman (“authority”) because it’s in the way of gettin’ biddy.
Their prescription is lots and lots of voting: voting on everything from bishops to condoms. Democracy may be a fine fit for running the occasional town meeting and deciding who gets eaten first when the rations run out on the lifeboat, but apply democracy to eternal truths, and you’ll have those Ten Commandments whittled down to three in no time at all. And that’s what they’re suggesting: putting the faith up to a vote. First order of business is to amend “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife” to add “unless she’s totally HAWT!” Can I see a show of hands? Sorry, Mr. Kennedy, you may only vote once.
But what really struck me was a particular joke he led with:
Their motto for the past 40 years? “Too lazy to convert to Protestantism.”
But the more I thought about it the more the question came up, Why HAVEN’T they in all these year converted if they thought the church was wrong? Sure some are drawing church pay but surely some like Hans Kung could find an excellent financial reward as a former Catholic, and others would be lionized by press and by various churches for abandoning the faith.
That’s when it hit me. The problem isn’t because they don’t believe in the church, it’s because they still do.
One of the important aspects of confession is contrition, even if you are trapped in a cycle of repetitive sin, like say gambling or porn at the time of confession if you actually regret your sin and attempt to amend your ways you are forgiven. You may relapse, you may sin again but if you are actually trying, actually resisting and actually trying to amend your ways that makes all the difference.
But what if you aren’t sorry for your sins? What if isn’t a question of being trapped in a cycle of sin, but enjoying, celebrating and loving your sins and don’t want to give them up? What if you go into that confessional knowing you aren’t sorry for your sins and can’t wait to commit them again?
Can this be done? Well there is in fact a way:
And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matt 16:15-19 Matthew 16:18-19
Note how Christ phrases this, not might be bound, or could be bound but shall be bound.
That leave them an opening, if they can somehow, by some quirk of fate, by some miraculous shift by the Church and the Holy Father their sins can vanish, not by repentance of sin or abstinence of sin, but redefining what sin actually is suddenly all the things they celebrate become pure as the driven snow, something to be enjoyed again and again without the slightest fear of eternity.
The logical question would be: Why bother with such an impossible task? Why not simply choose a Protestant denomination that embraces those particular sins or even one that simply preaches “Once Saved Always Saved”. That would solve the problem wouldn’t it.
Well it would except for one thing. They understand the truth of the Church..
Moral sin, the recipe for damnation, requires three things: 1. Grave Matter, 2. Deliberation 3. Understanding. If one doesn’t know the church due to never being properly taught (either from the inside or outside) that third vital piece needed to achieve mortal sin can’t be achieved.
But these people know the church, they have understanding and worse of all they KNOW the consequences of said understanding. To deliberately leave while believing the church is true is simply self damnation.
So instead they stay, hoping upon hope that best case, they will get the church to see things their way, or barring that hope they will get a chance for absolution just before the moment of death, playing the 3 in their hand hoping upon hope that the church is holding a deuce.
Me I wouldn’t bet my soul on it.
They say deceit is the tribute dishonesty gives to the truth, ironically in their feeble attempt at self-justification our friends at Church Authority are doing they same their insistence on remaining Catholic declares to all the world that this is the place for salvation.
God certainly does work in mysterious ways.