June 06, 2010

Why Being a Catholic Means Always Having to Say More Than: Sorry

Some of you may have seen the cover of the June 7, 2010 issue of Time, or as Father GW calls it Slime.

It's preposterous. Most of the media coverage of Catholicism is preposterous. But, people buy this anti-Catholicism and distortions of the Faith, if they didn't the publishers would stop printing it. Never let facts get in the way of making money and selling copy.

I find it curious that so many who try and minimize the Holy Father's role as spiritual leader of Roman Catholicism, suddenly want him to take on the sins of others. I have news for you, the Holy Father is not Christ. His Holiness has never claimed be to Christ; none of the Popes of all the ages of the Church have ever done that.

In fact, truly holy men would flinch whenever they are called "His Holiness". It doesn't mean that we quit referring to them as such; in their office they are, it's just the man himself is probably thinking: "Oh, if you only knew how far from holy I really am"

I can't speak for the man, Joseph Ratzinger's, state of personal holiness, anymore than I can make a Confession on his behalf. Similarly, the Holy Father can't receive Absolution in the Confessional for the sins of his brother priests or his flock.

But, as members of the same Body of Christ when one of our members is sick we want to help them. We pray for them, we apologize for them, we make reparation for them as much as we can, we nurse them. That is what the Holy Father is doing and those are actions that those who have no clue about Catholicism can't get their heads around. They want the Holy Father to "step down", they want him to pay out a bunch of money. He's not the CEO of BP or Toyota and by the way do those CEO's always step down and pay out a lot of money? When or if they do does that make it all better? No.

The Holy Father as a Catholic, regardless of his office, is doing the best he can with what he knows. We should all do the same.

As the Year of Priests closes, I'm reflecting upon how thankful I am to God that it's not ME "up there" on the Altar offering The Sacrifice; it's not me "in there" in the Confessional guiding people back to the Lord.

This past week as I was so mired in mortal sin, prior to my Confession and Absolution on First Friday, I was so ashamed of my sins I could not even talk to God. My prayer life dried up for a week. Can you imagine being a PRIEST and feeling that way? Yet, I'm sure many do. Unfortunately for them, but fortunately for us, they can't take a vacation and leave town while they "get it together", they can't call in "sick" and expect someone to fill in for them at a moments notice.

Saying "sorry" seems so inadequate. That's why we have Confession, Absolution, Atonement, Reparation: big words with big meaning. Don't worry, people of faith and more credentials have spent centuries trying to define them. We can't expect those who do not share our faith to grasp what I mean when I say "sorry" is not enough and that's not the entiriety of what the Holy Father is doing. Sorry is too limiting. It's a start but it's an almost infantile one. Is that why the Holy Father is perceived by some as falling down in "his job" because he has not said "sorry"? Some want us to believe sorry is enough. We know there is more to it than that.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a good response, Cathy. I wish more people would understand this, especially your comments on priests and (even more so) our Holy Father. I used to receive Time as part of a free subscription (emphasis on "used to"). The day I received this June issue, I canceled my subscription. I do not have time to read filth.

June 06, 2010 12:02 PM  
Blogger Joe of St. Thérèse said...


June 06, 2010 1:22 PM  
Blogger nazareth priest said...

Spot on.
Very profound, moving and an excellent "teaching" on what it means to "take on the sins of others".
The Catholic mystics have always taught (in line with Church teaching, based in Sacred Scripture) that when we sin, we hurt one another; when we grow in holiness, when we atone (with Jesus) through penance and prayer and suffering, we help others.
I think our Holy Father is suffering much and probably is doing much penance for all the horrid sins and infidelity of his priests; may we, in turn, do the same.

June 06, 2010 4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said, dear Cathy!

June 07, 2010 7:39 AM  
Blogger ignorant redneck said...


Thank you.

I have to admit though, that Times shrinkig and dying magazine is a consolation to me--it's brand of journalism is dying.

June 07, 2010 9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too will not subscribe to Time Magazine after recent articles about the Pope and the Catholic Church. Very disappointing.

June 14, 2010 8:16 PM  
Anonymous Austringer said...

Excellent observations.

One correction: priests CAN take vacations and leave town, and actually they should for their own well-being. They are allowed a certain number of days per year, just as with most jobs. Our priest takes several vacations a year, and due to generous and well-heeled parishioners, he can stay in nice places that most of us ordinary pew warmers never could. Priests are also to go on retreat at least once a year.

June 15, 2010 11:07 AM  

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