Pope Francis Speaks Frankly

Two days ago, Pope Francis made waves when he announced that priests had the ability to grant absolution to anyone who repents for the sin of abortion. Naturally, this was met with both praise and condemnation alike. However, I think it is important to remember a few key points when discussing the matter on a purely theological level.

First, my own personal views on abortion should have no standing in a post like this. That being said, in the interest of full disclosure, I am pro-life. I am pro-life but I am also aware of the fact that I am not a woman and therefore do not now nor will I ever have the faintest idea of what emotions course through a woman when she finds out she is pregnant. So while I am pro-life, I am usually rather quiet about it. Perhaps I should be more vocal. However, that is something that I will have to answer for at the particular judgement. Now that my personal stance has been revealed, let’s get started.

The Unforgivable Sin is not abortion: Christ clearly states that there is only one sin which cannot be forgiven. In Luke 12:10 Jesus says; “Everyone who says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven, but no one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will be forgiven.” The question is then; what is blaspheming the Holy Spirit? Is it using foul language or cursing the Spirit? Is it the destruction of sacramentals such as crucifixes and miraculous medals? The answer is no. For the truly repentant, there is no sin that cannot be expunged by the infinite mercy of God. This means, that if a person is truly sorry for their transgressions, willing to take ownership of them, willing to wash them away in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and willing to make amends through prayer and acts of mercy and charity; God will most assuredly forgive them. So then what is the unforgivable sin? What did Christ mean when He referred to blaspheming the Holy Spirit as unforgivable? Simple. The belief that one cannot be forgiven for their sins and the rejection of God’s infinite mercy is unforgivable. Essentially the unforgivable sin is unforgivable because the transgressor doesn’t want to accept the forgiveness. St. John Paul II explains this thoroughly in his 1989 encyclical, Dominum et Vivificantem when he writes, “”blasphemy” does not properly consist in offending against the Holy Spirit in words; it consists rather in the refusal to accept the salvation which God offers to man through the Holy Spirit, working through the power of the Cross. If man rejects the “convincing concerning sin” which comes from the Holy Spirit and which has the power to save, he also rejects the “coming” of the Counselor-that “coming” which was accomplished in the Paschal Mystery, in union with the redemptive power of Christ’s Blood: the Blood which “purifies the conscience from dead works.” Anyone who opposes Pope Francis’ outreach to those who have had abortions through his allowance of priests to absolve them must ask themselves the following question. If the Church makes it nearly impossible for a truly repentant person to receive absolution for their sins, are they fostering the belief in some that there are sins that cannot be forgiven? Are they in fact, encouraging blasphemy against the Holy Spirit in individual’s minds regardless of intention? No sin, is unforgivable if someone honestly desires forgiveness.

My point: the grief, guilt, anguish and longing for a return to the Grace of God caused by sin and the faith and charity of the confessor should be the only criteria for an honest, heart-felt, soul-searching, legitimate confession. It is the infinite mercy of Christ that forgives sins. Not the ecclesiastical rank of the confessor. 

It is the Church’s responsibility to offer as many avenues to Christ’s mercy as it possibly can. I may be wrong in my support for the Pope on this. I often am. However, I’d prefer to be wrong and on the side of mercy. Because Lord knows, we all need it.

Pope Francis Speaks Frankly

PRESIDENT TRUMP!(?) or, Calm Down

It is not without a certain flavor of crow in my mouth that I have had to discuss the election results with friends and family. It is only fitting to point out that my amateur analysis of the campaigns and projected outcome of the election was proven to be accurate in only one respect; amateur. Painfully so. In my defense, however, I relied heavily on the polls which had proved to be largely accurate during the primaries.

Now we are seeing protests all over the country. People are actually protesting a legitimate election. This would be as effective as protesting the night when the Sun goes down. I have no problem with peaceful protest and neither should any American. These particular protests are at best, silly. At worst, symptomatic of the larger problem within American society. I assume that it is also a problem among other members of society but as I am a member of American society, I can only really speak for what I personally observe. So what is the problem? This; most Americans, due to their coddled upbringing and the detrimental effects of helicopter parenting, believe that not agreeing with something or someone is more than enough reason for that something or someone to capitulate to their tantrums.

I fought against Trump and will continue to be skeptical of his motivations until he proves me wrong. I still think the man is an absolute buffoon. I still think that the majority of his supporters were willing to trade dignity for rage. I still think he was as poor a choice as Hillary for President. However, I am also aware that no one cares what I think. I am fine with that. This is because I was brought up in a time right before the generation of, ‘if I think it, it must be so because mommy said I was special.’ So, I am laying out the following list of things that still hold true regardless of who had won the election and things that I am still concerned with. I do this with full knowledge that all three of you who read this blog will either agree or disagree. I am fine with either.

  1. Donald Trump’s election makes the United States look awful in the eyes of the world, especially Europe.
  2. I do not care about what the United States looks like in the eyes of the world, especially Europe.
  3. Alex Jones is still an unhinged lunatic who is the media equivalent of the guy who sets up a ‘5 Dollar a Play’ 3-card monty stand in front of a special-ed school.
  4. God willing, I will never have to hear about Hillary Clinton again and that makes me happy.
  5. Not all of Trump’s supporters are racists.
  6. Not all of Hillary’s supporters are brain-dead.
  7. In four years we get to do this again.
  8. Milo is still spot on about feminism but he is also a caricature who has pulled the wool over the eyes of his followers.
  9. Most people who hate Hillary have Obamacare.
  10. It is highly unlikely for anything that energized Trump’s most questionable supporters will actually happen. See; mass deportations.
  11. The massive hypocrisy being displayed by the left at the moment coupled  with Trump’s more vocal support proves that there is no political, moral high-ground. See; “not my president” signs.
  12. If Lena Dunham leaves the country, all of our lives will be better.
  13. Watching Hollywood go absolutely ape has made this whole thing incredibly entertaining.
  14. Hannity, Ingraham, Mitchell, Coulter etc. were right. But being right doesn’t mean you’re not a laughably transparent shill. Or asshole, if the adjectives are too clunky.
  15. Rejoice! The Young Turks are sad!

Let me leave you, dear reader, with some words of advice. Immediately unfollow, unfriend, block or delete anyone on social media who over the past year has posted any meme featuring R. Lee Ermy or shared any post from that Adonis of man, Brandon Weber. Now that the election is over, we no longer have to suffer fools and reactionaries nor do we have to give them a pass because they were fools and reactionaries during an election.

Put it behind you. It’s finally, thankfully, mercifully over.

PRESIDENT TRUMP!(?) or, Calm Down