Thursday, September 04, 2008

FFM Parishes: O'Donaghue on being Catholic, 5

Another of our extracts from 'Fit for Mission? - Parishes' by Bishop O'Donaghue of Lancaster. Click on the 'label' FFM Parishes to see others. See the 'Fit for Mission?' website and download the full document. The previous title in the series, 'Fit for Mission? - Schools' is downloadable here (pdf). This generated a Facebook support group.

From section 7.4.3, p40
Pope John Paul II identified a loss of a sense of sin as a major problem within the Church and society in general, which he saw as an expression of a wider denial of God.
One of the influences behind the disappearance of the sense of sin can be traced to a catechetical approach that wrongly identifies a sense of sin with a morbid feeling of guilt or with the mere transgression of legal norms or cultural conditions (Pope John Paul II, Post synod exhortation, Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 18).
This erroneous catechetical approach has its origins in the uncritical adoption of psychological and sociological models, such as the so called ‘person-centred theory’ of counselling with its criticism of moral judgement as judgementalism’.
We must never forget our capacity for self-deception as well as our readiness to reduce conscience to an ‘excuse mechanism’ (Ratzinger). As it is expressed in Psalm 19: 12, ‘Who can detect his own failings? Wash out my hidden faults.’ The absence of any sense of guilt could be a sign of profound spiritual desolation. Guilt is to spiritual health what pain is to physical health: a warning that something is wrong and so needs to be healed (Robert Spaemann). God’s mercy makes no sense without it.

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen