Wednesday, June 10, 2009

And it breaks my heart

I am Irish, and Catholic. And while these may be accidents of biology and upbringing, they are identities that I take pride in. Well, that I normally take pride in. Sometimes I read something like this, and I feel like I need to preface that statement of identity with the phrase that I learned while preparing to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation: "Forgive me Father, for I have sinned."

I wish that I could say that that Church is not my Church. In a way, it is not. My parents sent me to a Jesuit high school, St. Robert Bellarmine, and the Church I met there is the reason that I am still Catholic. Fr. Jerry taught me that God would never be angry at my for using the intelligence that, after all, God had given me, to ask questions. Br. Paul always called God "She," because She is infinite, not one or the other, and using the alternate pronoun would remind people of that, and had us read Asimov and Clarke for World History, to get another sense of the infinite. All the Jesuits on the faculty were good people, as well as good priests. When I think of my Church, they are who I think of.

It was, I think, Fr. Jerry, who in talking about the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which has also been called the Sacrament of Penance, explained that a sin was something that hurt a person's relationship with God, with another person, or with her self. If her action had done any of those things, she ought to confess, seek to make amends, and try to reform her actions. By that definition, even the Church, which is made up of people, can sin. I pray that she remembers her own sacraments.

And as a person in that Church, I am so very sorry.

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