Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

February 25, 2009

The Reality of Sin

Here’s a great piece by the Colleen Campbell, author of The New Faithful: Why Young Adults Are Embracing Christian Orthodoxy and Fellow at EPPC:
G. K. Chesterton once quipped that the doctrine of original sin "is the only part of Christian theology which really can be proved" because even the most confirmed skeptic "can see it in the street."

Obvious as the reality of sin may be on our streets today, many American Catholics have heard precious little about this politically incorrect topic in recent decades. Although intense interest in indulgences is not a trend I have observed among young Catholics I profiled in my book or most Catholics of any age, I do see a connection between the renewed emphasis on indulgences and a growing hunger among Catholics for deeper understanding of the mysteries of sin, grace and repentance.
…There is a sense among these young Catholics, and among those older Catholics who return to a more intentional practice of their faith, that the do-it-yourself, take-it-easy spirituality so popular today is a dead end. They believe in the reality of sin and they want salvation.

These "reverts," as they often call themselves, also want the Church. The distinctiveness of Catholic doctrine and devotions does not repel them; it attracts them. For individualistic Americans accustomed to hearing that salvation is a private matter with nothing in particular to do with the larger Body of Christ, the idea that one believer's acts of devotion, penance and alms-giving could alleviate the suffering of another believer awaiting full union with God in the afterlife is radical, even if it is centuries old. And the requirement that comes with any plenary indulgence -- of "complete detachment" from even small sins -- is a bracing reminder that the journey toward intimacy with God entails profound personal transformation, not merely the rattling off of the right prayers.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails