Friday 28 February 2014

The Sin of God

In a dissertation during my time in seminary I noticed that, my typing never being good, I had frequently typed the phrase ‘Son of God’ with a lower-case ‘s’. I had a function on my then-computer of ‘replace all’, so I retyped the phrase and pressed ‘replace all’. On getting the paper back after marking I was horrified to see that although I had corrected the lower case ‘s’, I had replaced the ‘o’ in ‘son’ with an ‘i’; consequently, the dissertation was replete with the phrase “The Sin of God”. While I can look back on it now with some humour, there are situations in which the ‘sin’ of God is far from humorous. Read on...

Last weekend I said in my homily that sin is not a natural part of humanity; that it is the result of the fall and that in fact, sin makes us less than human. Our Lord and Our Lady were perfectly human and perfectly sinless. After Mass Andrew was asked by one of the youngsters (about 11 years old), “Didn’t Jesus sin only once, when he cleared the temple and turned their tables over?”  Andrew said no; that this was not a sin; Our Lord was acting in rightful anger; doing a good act by putting sin out of the temple. The boy responded, “But our teachers told us Jesus sinned when he got angry and tipped the tables over”. Andrew asked the boy to speak to me, and the whole conversation took place again, this time between me and the youngster. I asked which teachers had told him this and he gave me two names, saying that he’d heard all the teachers’ say it at some time or other. Sadly, this youngster is in a Catholic school...

I have two ladies in my parish, both in their 50’s, who claim to have been given house-points at school for saying that the only sin Jesus committed was turning over the tables. I thought such nonsense had stopped. It obviously has not. Any priest would feel the need to address this with the school, but might be undercut by someone quoting Pope Francis who reportedly said that:

“When we go to confession, for example, it isn’t that we say our sin and God forgives us. No, not that! We look for Jesus Christ and say: 'This is your sin, and I will sin again'. And Jesus likes that, because it was his mission: to become the sinner for us, to liberate us.” (Vatican News, homily at Mass at the Casa Santa Martha).

I think I can see what Francis is saying: that Jesus has been made sin for us in the sense of 2 Cor.5v21, and that we are likely to sin again, as in Rom.7v15. But his words are not clear; they will confuse many of the faithful, I think, and be misread by those who actively seek to undo the Faith. I can only hope that our Catholic teachers are not following Francis on the web (what a sad thing to say) since he is not always easy to read in an orthodox way. Indeed, the selected quote even implies that we need no firm purpose of amendment: “I will sin again”. We have seen how he was misinterpreted by the world when he said in response to a question on homosexuality, “Who am I to judge?”, for although he was rightly saying he cannot judge individual souls he cannot have been undoing 2000 years of Church teaching by saying he cannot judge homosexual acts. The world, however, claimed he was changing Doctrine and refusing to condemn homosexuality per se. Francis words carry much weight as Pope; I hope and pray that insight by Rome as to how the world is abusing Francis’ words will bring about a change.


  1. It is very sad how the Faith has become diluted by years of poor catechisis in the so called Catholic schools. Now those badly taught children are in turn teaching the next generation.
    Pope Francis has a huge responsibility to be very careful in what he says. He is not just a priest who has got the top job. He is the Vicar of Christ and the successor of Peter. He surely must know that every word he says will be jumped on and analysed by the media. He has a huge responsibility . .
    On the topic of Communion on the tongue and keeling. It could be reintroduced just as abruptly and without discussion as it was so unkindly imposed by our clerical masters all those years ago . . . Lord bring back the Church . . . .

  2. Thank you brandsma,
    I have to say catechises does not seem to have been diluted but distorted, there are so many wrong ideas around. I think too many took 'development' to mean any new idea, and of course, the more palatable a new idea was, the more easily it spread...

    As for a change in the method of distributing Holy Communion, I was disappointed to discover Benedict VXI extended it to Poland. I am with you on this one: we should change back overnight in accord with the mind of the vast majority of the Bishops of the world (who, when consulted by the Pope in the 1960's, voted to reject the innovation) and with Pope Paul VI, who said that where it could only be approved where it was already in use. There was no provision for extending it to the UK, the USA etc, where it was not in use at that time. Nor was it expected that it would be extended to Poland.
    God bless.

  3. in order keep the Faith one needs to ignore the bishop of Rome, ignore catechists, ignore most homilies, and pretend one is not being knowingly irreverant by standing and receiving Holy Communion in the hand, and pretend the average novus ordo mass is fine nurturer of the Faith. I must say, the modernists must be pretty close to dusting the hands, giving satan a high five and saying, job well done.

  4. Thanks again!

    Yes, so much teaching needs to be ignored. I frequently advise our congregation to take everything they hear preached by anyone with some caution and read the catechism on whatever issue has been comment upon. Referencing back to official teaching is the only way forward.
    As for Holy Communion, there is nothing like reception on the tongue (while kneeling) for reminding us of the glory and dignity of God; our nothingness before Him and our total reliance upon him. as St Catherine was reminded in her 'Dialogue': "I am He Who Is; you are she who is not".
    God bless


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