Rorate Caeli

Ralph's Idle Mind

Let’s say, just for a moment, that you are the Chief Executive Officer of the Worldwide Sin Corporation. You are desperate to expand your market outreach. Although the market for sin and depravity has been growing by leaps and bounds, your success only makes you more ravenous. There must be a way! So, you call a top level conference beside the executive sulphur pit. All of your best and brightest minds are there, blue-skying like mad. Suddenly, Smithers, an especially devious junior executive whom you’ve had your eye on, snaps his elongated fingers, and shouts, “I’ve got it! Let’s marginalize confession!!”, and the following dialogue ensues:
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CEO: Hmmm . . . interesting. How would you do that?
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Smithers: Well, you might start by renaming it.
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CEO: Yee-essss. The very act of renaming suggests a break with the past, perhaps a relativization . . . . What name?
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Smithers: Well, of course they chose "reconciliation" Not bad! Confession implies that one party has been at fault, and has, through grace, summoned the humility to admit his fault, and to seek the forgiveness of the other party. Reconciliation, however, obscures the notion of fault: let’s just give each other a big hug and be pals again! If the notion of fault is obscured, so are the concomitant notions of responsibility and redress. In fact, temporal punishment is at odds with the whole idea of reconciliation. After all, if we are two former buddies seeking to restore our good relationship without clear reference – a tacit one at best -- to who was at fault for the rupture in that relationship, how does the idea of temporal punishment apply?
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CEO: So, "reconciliation" is in. What else?
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Smithers: Next, you might try to undercut the uniqueness of the sacrament of Confession by emphasizing the ability of other sacraments to forgive sin. Baptism, the most powerful of the sacraments, is, of course, is a special case. And the Church has long taught that the Eucharist cleanses the souls of recipients of venial sin. That isn’t enough – we want people to think of all sin as essentially venial -- you know, pecadillos, mere bagatelles, even emblems of a bold, sassy, totally outrageous lifestyle.
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CEO: Yes, oh indeed yes, I do like "sassy"!
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Smithers: However, we have been monitoring an extremely promising recent development regarding another sacrament, Extreme Unction, now called the Sacrament of the Sick. Certain priests are becoming rather liberal in their distribution of that sacrament. In fact, some simply invite anyone who feels he needs healing of some sort, to step up, be anointed, and receive the sacrament and all of its graces, including the forgiveness of sins (We find it deliciously ironic that those for whom the sacrament was originally intended -- the mortally ill -- usually cannot manage this!) .
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Of course, if a priest offers this sacrament, say, every week, and one is partaking of it every week, what need has that person, one might well ask, of the sacrament of Confession?
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CEO: Pit one sacrament against another! That’s brilliant, Smithers! That, plus the usual saturation-bombing of secularist ridicule, should have Confession up there with the sixth commandment in no time! This catechetical disinformation project that we’ve been pushing the last century or so is reaping handsome rewards, gentlemen! A tribute to my brilliant long term planning, of course. . . .
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ALL: Yes, SIR!!

1 comment:

Br. Alexis Bugnolo said...

You are of course speaking of Bugnini and the Consilium, no?