Forgive us our sins, as we forgive..

Posted by Christine Nusse on Mar 4, 2007 | Categories: Seasons of the Spirit

Forgive us our sins, as we forgive..
Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil

“Sin, sin, sin, and scandal”, say our Catholic teaching authorities (the Magisterium) when two out, and committed, lesbians want to be active in their parish.
“Sin, sin, sin, and scandal” we say in turn when the women’s bishop and pastor kick them out from the communion table.
It’s sure not easy to know what sin is! I will give, for a moment at least, the said teaching Magisterium the benefit of the doubt. Let’s assume they do believe active homosexuality is a sin and thus a scandal if we are unrepentant, happy and public with our so-called sin. After all why should we have to hide, since we do not believe it to be a sin?
Sin is very subjective, wouldn’t you say? This feeling that sin is subjective is one of the most disturbing consequences of the Church’s obsession with the sins ‘of the flesh’. Our Church’s obviously outdated understanding of sexuality leaves us without a sure understanding of sin.
But sin does exist. We do recognize it so well when we see images of Darfur’s refugee camps, Baghdad’s markets after a bombing, young soldiers stuck in an inadequate Vet hospital, New Orleans 9th Ward one year and a half after Katrina, working children, abused children, polluted water sources.. All this we understand clearly as being consequences of sin. In fact today we experience it deeply in ours, the collective conscience of a nation at war.
But how does it relate to me, my choices, my moral understanding, my freedom to sin, my own participation in the very scheme of evil?
Sin, like the Spirit, is easily observed in its results. But where it comes from is quite another story.
When we see some images or we witness certain actions, we do believe in evil, don’t we? But if we go back to the human causes of this evil, to the individuals directly or indirictly causing the evil, all becomes very subjective and it is so very difficult to attribute sin. Only God sees in the heart!
So much so that both the Church’s sexual obsession and our subjective understanding of sin leave us so uneasy with the whole issue of guilt, evil and sin that in the end we prefer not to think about it altogether.
Lent is precisely the time offered to use to go against the grain and do just that.

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