Back during Lent, this article on penance by Russell Shaw-or should I say the missing emphasis on penance in some quarters:
.... there was something deeply moving and pastorally fitting in this testimony that, at least for some Catholics, the sacrament of Penance remains a normal, natural part of their religious lives.
It hardly needs saying that today this isn't everywhere true. There's been a drastic decline in reception of this sacrament in the last 30 or 40 years. The question is, why?
You can see a hint of an answer, perhaps, in a Catholic News Service story noting the topics of some of this year's Lenten pastoral letters in the United States: "immigration reform, an end to the death penalty and helping children in need."
Immigration reform, ending the death penalty, and helping kids are good causes that I strongly support. Nor do I question a bishop's right to determine what needs saying in his diocese at any given time. The question I'm raising isn't the goodness of the causes or the rights of bishops. It's whether, generally speaking, it makes sense to focus the meaning of Lent on issues like these....
While many factors account for the dropoff in receiving the sacrament of Penance, a well-intentioned but misplaced emphasis — arguably, overemphasis — on social justice issues in place of sorrow for personal sin appears to be one. The two things, penance and justice, aren't in conflict. Rather, they mesh. And unless we get the penance part of the equation right, the justice part will be forever at risk.
Read the whole thing. There are some interesting points I didn't excerpt, including a few of the comments to the article.
Did some printing, binding, and cutting yesterday. Then I got the garage cleaned out so I can get some stuff made/repaired for Mrs. Curley. My boys helped and did a good job. Was going camping today but it is pouring rain. (I am not opposed to backpacking and camping in the rain-have done it plenty of times-but why do it if you have the choice not to?) I have some work to do on a consulting job, so I will try to wrap that up today so I can be free for the rest of the week.
From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!