Wednesday, February 28, 2007

If You're Feeling Guilt, It Ain't Because The Church Is Hectoring You

Mark Shea:

Catholic Guilt is Hogwash

How often do people have to see some utterly brazen extrovert on the tube moan about "Catholic guilt" before they wake up and realize, "Waitaminnit! This person wouldn't know guilt if it bit them on the nose!" Here's a priceless piece on Gwen Stefani's "struggle" with "Catholic guilt".

When somebody like Madonna complains about "Catholic guilt" what they mean is, "I resent the feeling my conscience gives me when I blaspheme God." Being angry at this is like being angry at the feeling your fingertips afflict you with when you touch a red hot stove. Most sane people stop touching the stove and go to the sacrament of reconciliation for bandaids and burn ointment. Some people, however, have figured out ways to procure lots of morphine and novocaine so they can go on touching the stove.

I learned to dismiss the Catholic guilt thing before I became a Catholic. I was raised completely outside the Church and I can tell you all about guilt. I suffered from it, not because somebody was "making me feel guilty" but because I *was* guilty. When I met ex-Catholics who hated reconciliation, I felt like I was talking to people from another planet. "You mean, you have a sacrament where you are authoritatively absolved of your sins by the power of Christ and given the power of the Holy Spirit to start all over again? I've been searching for that all my life! What are you? Crazy? You'd turn your back on that for some crap about self-affirmation and Being True to Yourself?"

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