Saturday, April 9, 2011

That'll Be 20 Our Fathers And 10 Hail Marys—Now Bend Over And Grab Your Ankles

Isaiah 40:1 & 2

Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the LORD’s hand
double for all her sins.

I ask you, is there anything at all in the NT that reads like the above? This is typical of OT thinking, and is the way we deal with people in the secular penal system today. Commit the crime—do the time.

But is this what Jesus taught or did? When a woman drew water from a well for him, and he told her about all her husbands among her many sins, did he then tell her to go sacrifice a lamb? Give money to the church? Did he repeat his now famous "Our Father" prayer for her and tell her to repeat it until she was sick of it to atone for her sins? Hardly. What he did was to atone for her at the cross.

There is nothing I've ever come across in the NT that shows anyone doing anything to atone for their sins. Only Jesus made an atonement—once and forevermore. No penitence was, or is, necessary. Repentance—yes. Penitence and atonement—no. "To obey is better than sacrifice." "Go, and sin no more." This is the NT recipe. Jesus says to let him worry about penitence and atonement. That's his job, and the toughest of all jobs it was/is. He did away with our atoning and penitence at the cross. Will someone please tell me why the Catholic Church decided to defile the cross by trying to undo everything the cross was ever about?

The Catholic Church is very big on penitence. This is carried out by atonement and absolution. The atonement is a kind of punishment handed out by the priests, usually nothing more than a rather dull and mundane repetition of prayers over and over. This is unbiblical, pointless, and anti-Christian. I've yet to find anything within Catholic doctrine that links any NT teachings of Christ with punishments being meted out by priests. He told his disciples to forgive people's sins—not to punish them. Even the woman brought before him on grounds of adultery was forgiven and sent on her way. Jesus made no demands of penitence by way of punishment with her, nor with anyone else that we're aware of. He simply says, go and sin no more. However, he also says to pay our debts and the like, so I think he certainly expects retributions to be paid for harming people or damaging their property in our sinning. But beyond that, he just wants us to stop sinning, to be better people, to try our best. Why the change? Jesus taught us something completely new at the time, to be good servants, to constantly look for ways to serve others. Could it be that our good works take the place of any need for punishments and sacrifices? Isn't a good deed a sacrifice in itself? And of course, all atonement was settled at the cross.

The Catholic Church has not only rejected the work of the cross by their demands of penitence, they've done it in a harmful way in my opinion. Does it really make any sense whatsoever to make prayer a form of punishment!? Demanding people to pray the same repetitious prayers over and over as a form of punishment can only serve to make those same people hate prayer! What good thing could possibly come from it? Mark tells us that Jesus, in the garden of Gethsemane, went and prayed that the agony of the cross might in some way not have to happen, but to let that "cup pass" from him. A short time later it says he went back and prayed "the same thing." So yes, it appears even Jesus prayed the same prayer at least once, though I doubt he used the exact same words. But he was in distress at the time, and had every reason to be. We often find ourselves praying without ceasing during times of distress, and truthfully, it's during those times that our prayers seem to be answered most fully. But this is very different from vain, repetitious prayers as mere punishments—something that belittles the work of the cross. Something like praying the Rosary may be a good thing, though repetitious, if done in the proper frame of mind and spirit. But it should never be a punishment.

Personally, I think Catholics would be better off to avoid confession, and especially not to send their children to confession, lest you want them to grow-up hating prayer, the very thing they ought to learn to love doing most. Prayer, when done properly, transcends the hard turf of materiality, passes through the thin places (made thin by the power of the resurrection), and seeks out the Light of Heaven. Prayer is our only connection with our origin. It's a call home from a homesick boy at camp-Earth.


shadowlands said...

I think confessions or rather penances given have somewhat changed over the years, possibly since Vat II, although there are those (esp on blogger) who would sweep all that change away and become uber-strict again!! Talk about fundamentalist, I have never known the like since joining blogger, my own fellow Catholics outdo any pentecostals from my past when it comes to deciding who's going to be saved and who isn't. I can't stand them, the real right wing traddies, they really make me feel ill. Ofcourse, they would say this is because I am on the way to perdition and as I am susceptible to scruples, their condemnation causes the same deep soul insecurity that the pentecostals used to give me, when they said the same!

Devil's work!

So, give me my modern-ish Mass and tell me about the Saviour's love for me. I am motivated more to be and do good then. Fear just paralyses me, or worse still, tempts me to dive into a bottle!

Father forgive them, they know not what they do.

Oh, by the way, you might be vaguely interested in this snippet of news, I know this guy is a personal favourite of yours (not).

C W Seper said...

You know, I always wondered if that Voris guy was an atheist posting tongue-n-cheek stuff to make fun of the Catholic Church by making himself out to look like a dingbat on purpose. The Devil could (unfortunately) learn a lot from Mr. Voris.