Sinning Is Bad, But Not Being Sorry is Worse
But I remember that incident with Sister Inez where my entire world was thrown into the maelstrom because I’d taken communion without making amends for my transgressions. And I thought, if a child of 7 could grasp the monumental nature of her sin, and she’d only stolen some beads, why couldn’t a man 11 times her age realize that supporting the destruction of unborn children was an infinitely greater betrayal of church teaching? Furthermore, no amount of confessing could obliterate that sin if he continued to do everything in his mortal power to keep abortion legal, protected, and widely available. As Sister Inez said, sinning is bad, but not being sorry is worse.
That is the reason why Joe Biden should not be allowed to take communion. Some very important people disagree. One of them happens to be Pope Francis, who recently stated, “When we receive the Eucharist, Jesus ... knows we are sinners; he knows we make many mistakes, but he does not give up on joining his life to ours. He knows that we need it, because the Eucharist is not the reward of saints, but the bread of sinners.”
It’s a profoundly beautiful sentiment, but not an encyclical. It’s not meant to be a rule. It’s a pope trying to show human mercy.
And God bless him for that. But we can’t lose sight of the fact that public officials who persist in enthusiastically rejecting a core principle of the church without shame aren’t just damaging themselves. They are living witnesses to the world that there is no such thing as penitence, and that they will continue to sin because they know they can.
Jesus said, “Go and sin no more,” He didn’t channel Billy Joel and say, “Don’t go changing, to try and please me.” He does indeed “love us just the way we are,” but that doesn’t mean we get to keep trashing his church by doing everything we can to violate her one fundamental precept: Honor the sanctity of human life.
Joe Biden is the highest-profile Catholic in the country. If he can’t find it in his heart to respect and accept the core principles of our shared faith, you can’t blame the bishops for wanting to send him a message I learned over 50 years ago.
To be human is to err. To be Catholic is to seek forgiveness. And to deserve forgiveness, we need to say we’re sorry.
Copyright 2021 Christine Flowers, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at email@example.com.Copyright 2021 Christine Flowers, All Rights Reserved. Credit: Cagle.com