Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Confession and Penance

Erin and her Bearing Blog have an interesting post on the pitfalls of face-to-face confession rooms.

It's just one more chance to see that overturning a tradition is a sure way to bring back all the problems that lead to doing things that certain way in the first place.

In another post, she has this by Eamon Duffy:

In abandoning real and regular fasting and abstinence as a corporate and nomative expression of our faith -- by making it optional -- the Church forfeited one of its most eloquent prophetic signs. There is a world of difference between a private devotional gesture the action of the specially pious, and the prophetic witness of the whole community, the matter-of-fact witness, repeated week by week, that to be Christian is to stand among the needy. ...
I left a comment:
"Stand among the needy"??? What a stinky pile that is.

Penance is satisfaction for sin, not some lovey-dovey-I-feel-so-sad-about-the-poor-people crap.

If through penance I gain sympathy for the poor, so much the better, but love your neighbour is rule #2. Penance is all about rule #1. The rule the Church forgot.
More on that rule the Church forgot in parts I and II of What else is there? which I hope to conclude of by Friday.


barrenstone said...

ummm---are you sure that's what Eamon meant? Not overreacting a tad are we? We stand among the needy---that is, among those who are in desperate need of God's grace and forgiveness. Try parsing it that way and see what happens. Barrenstonr

J D Carriere said...

On overreacting, I can't be sure I'm not. If I knew a reaction was excessive, I probably wouldn't react that way. And if I did at first, I wouldn't write it down.

Asking me if I'm overreacting is a bit like asking me if I'm crazy. Perhaps, is the answer. I don't think so, but how can I be really sure?

Anyway, I am sure I've read Duffy right. I'm sure because I've read the wider context. Maybe I should have linked to it (it was published in the Tablet. That should be a tip-off at least). Duffy says "that identification with the poor and hungry" is "as essential in its way as attendance at Mass". That's a mistake.

Identifying with the poor and hungry is good, and I said so, but it is not essential and it is neither the primary purpose of penance nor particularly required for salvation.

Anonymous said...

still awaiting part 3. due about a month ago, n'est-ce pas?