Thursday, February 18, 2010

An Examination Of Conscience

In having private conversations with priest friends I have heard this over and over - the story about the parishioner who told their priest they had nothing to confess. The story is always told in confidence, no identities revealed, no details given on actual confessions by the penitent, but the thing that constantly grates on me is the inability of the everyday Catholic to recognize sin.

Since the Second Vatican Council there has been in the Church a concerted effort to marginalize sin. Whether this was purposeful is up for debate, but I cannot find in any Vatican II document where it was mandated. That being said, it must have come from somewhere else. The re-writing of the Council, the re-interpreting of the Council is where these post VII people went astray.

But the fact remains that it is very rare to enter a Catholic Church today and hear a sermon on sin. I do not mean a sermon where the word "sin" might actually be used, but a sermon focusing entirely on sin is the rarity.

As we all know (I hope) it is required of us to partake of the Sacrament of Confession during the Easter Season. It is my hope that you all will go to confession during the Lenten Season to help prepare yourself for the joy of Easter. Before we actually go to confession though, it is necessary to do an examination of our conscience to see where our faults lie.

So lets actually make an examination of conscience using the Ten Commandments and the precepts of the Church as our guide to see if we are truly committing sin or not.

Let's start at the beginning

The First Commandment:
I Am The Lord Thy God; Thou Shalt Not Have Strange Gods Before Me

Here is the list of sins which are contrary to the fist commandment. Are you ready?

Neglect of prayer; ingratitude toward God; spiritual sloth; hatred of God
or of the Catholic Church; tempting God (explicitly or implicitly, e.g. by
exposing one’s self to danger of soul, life, or health without grave cause);
not behaving reverently when in church (e.g. not genuflecting to the
Blessed Sacrament when entering or leaving the church, etc.); excessive
attraction to things/creatures (e.g. over-affection to animals, sports
fanatic, having movie star /music/TV idols, love for money, pleasure or
power); idolatry (worshiping false gods such as giving honor to a creature
in place of God (e.g. Satan, science, ancestors, country); superstition
(ascribing powers to a created thing which it does not have); hypnotism
(without sufficient cause); divination (communication with Satan,
demons, the dead or other false practices in order to discover the
unknown, consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, fortune
telling); attaching undue importance to dreams, omens or lots; all
practices of magic or sorcery (e.g. witchcraft, voodoo); wearing charms;
playing with Ouija boards or rotating tables; spiritism (talking with the
spirits); sacrilege (profaning or treating unworthily the Sacraments,
especially the Holy Eucharist, and other liturgical actions, as well as
religious persons, blessed things such as sacred vessels or statues, or
places consecrated to God); sacrilege by receiving a sacrament, especially
the Holy Eucharist, in the state of mortal sin; simony (buying or selling
of spiritual things); profane or superstitious use of blessed objects
(sometimes done in order to remain in sin); practical materialism (one
believes he needs and desires only material things); atheistic humanism
(falsely considers man to be an end in himself, and the sole maker with
supreme control of his own history); atheism in general (rejects, denies
or doubts the existence of God, either in theory or practice, i.e. ignoring
Him in the daily living of our lives); agnosticism (postulates the existence
of a transcendent being which is incapable of revealing itself, and about
which nothing can be said or makes no judgment about God’s existence
declaring it impossible to prove or even to affirm or deny).

And that's not all for the First Commandment, folks! Tomorrow, we shall look at sins against Faith, Hope, and Charity. See ya then!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well isn't that a charming little list.

I don't understand the fellow who says they have no sins to confess. I guess they aren't being self-critical enough (which I just can't comprehend lol)! Even if you have a list of 80 items to go with each of the 10 commandments, amounting to 800 possible wrong things you can do in a me -- and maybe this isn't the "correct" Catholic lens I should be looking through -- the ones I think are probably always lingering are those seven deadly sins. Lust, anger, pride, gluttony, greed, sloth, envy. To me, those are daily things people probably 'violate.' You know -- where you unnecessarily rude/mean to someone? Did you let your anger get the better of you and throw a tantrum at someone? Are you holding hatred in your heart towards someone/something? Did you chose to be a prick when you could have chosen to be kind/forgiving/let it go? Have you been deceitful and manipulative? Have let envy and/or jealousy get the better of you? Were you arrogant and boastful instead of humble? Were you acting like some horny jerk towards someone who didn't want it? Did you uninvite a family member to a get together over some quarrel? Turn your back against your kid b/c s/he misbehaved?

Really. The fact those said Catholics think they do no wrong is pride in itself which is one of those sins. I know they are not commandments but..God still hates 'em. I think those should be monitored as well. Again if Jesus is our guide...he was humble, peaceful, loving, forgiving, all that. Not letting bitterness, hatred, indulgence get the better of him. I daresay that's a day-to-day struggle for everyone.

Know what I mean?

- L