A Public Confession Kathy the


A Public Confession

Kathy the Carmelite writes at Disputations:

In Comments at Disputations

How about obey the Pope by praying and fasting, offering up all of our interior angst to the Lord to use as He sees fit? Such angst as most Catholics feel would be quite a powerhouse IF MORE PEOPLE BOTHERED TO OFFER IT UP.

Humanitarian aid contributions or other support are good, too (taking in refugees, etc.). Even if your contributions are not applicable directly to this Iraqi conflict, in God's economy what goes around comes around, so to speak; so your heartfelt gift will be applied by God as needed.

And I respond:

If it is only interior Angst, then it may be offered up. But if I have sinned, it must be confessed, and each time repeated--confessed again.

With each innocent life taken, I am complicit either by not actively opposing or by tacitly approving. I sin in the death of innocents. I sin in doing nothing to prevent that death. What is there in this to be offered up? All there is is confession and constant knowledge of the fact that I am responsible. That isn't angst--that is a wedge separating me from God--a sense that no amount of confession can undo it because I sin both in doing and in inaction. Every person who dies weighs on my conscience, on my soul, is my personal responsibility either because I did not pray the way I should, I did not speak up when I should, I did not do whatever it was that I should have done.

This is not mere angst, this is a crime against God and my conscience sits as constant judge upon it. (Unless of course I'm deeply immersed in other work or in sleep--the only time I am not praying for some enlightenment, some sense that I have not completely cut the bond that unites me to God.) And yet I know that I have not done what should be done. You can only offer up what is not sin--sin is not an offering--it is a matter of confession and until confessed impedes any clear communication.

Hence, "They all cry, 'Peace, Peace,' but there is no peace." I suppose you could say that I am overwhelmed with my sense of responsibility, indirect though it is, in all of this. I could take no position for or against, and still cannot, and so I am all the more responsible for lack of clarity.

The only hope is the infinite mercy of God and the hope that this will soon end, and perhaps end my complicity. And then, what is my responsibility in other regimes, other areas of the world? I do not like the cast of the questions this dredges up. Where does my personal responsbility end--how can I cut off my sense of sin in this, and should I? I want to be realistic about what I expect of myself, but as I spent all of my time trying to figure out the truth of what is right in this case, I feel doubly responsible. Where does individual responsibility end, or does it? This may be why the Saints were so aware of their own sinfulness, knowing how much they could have done to help others and failed to do, for whatever reason.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on April 7, 2003 6:54 PM.

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