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PopeWatch: Sin and Corruption

The Pope distinguishes between sin and corruption:

 

— Corruption is worse than any sin because it hardens the heart against feeling shame or guilt and hearing God’s call for conversion, Pope Francis said.

“Situations of sin and the state of corruption are two distinct realities, even if they are intimately linked to one another,” he said when he was Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The future pope’s comments come from a small booklet that was originally published in 2005.

Titled “Corruption and Sin: Reflections on the Theme of Corruption,” the booklet was based on an article he wrote in 1991 in the wake of a scandal in which local authorities in Argentina tried to whitewash the death of a teenage girl because the murderers’ fathers were linked to local politicians and the governor.

In the booklet’s introduction, the future pope said he wanted to republish the article because the problem of corruption had become so widespread a decade later that people began to almost expect it as a normal part of life.

While many sins can lead to corruption, sinners recognize their own weakness and are aware of the possibility of forgiveness, he said. “From there, the power of God can come in.”

People who are corrupt, on the other hand, have become blind to the transcendent, replacing God with their own powers and abilities, he said.

“A sinner expects forgiveness. The corrupt, on the contrary, don’t because they don’t feel they have sinned. They have prevailed,” he said.

One who is corrupt is “so holed up in the satisfaction of his own self-sufficiency” that his bloated self-esteem refuses to face the reality of his fraudulent and opportunistic behavior, he said.

“He has the face of someone trying to say, ‘It wasn’t me!’ or as my grandmother would say, ‘The face of a darling little angel,” he said.

The ability of the corrupt to disguise their true self should qualify them for an honorary degree in “social cosmetology,” he said.

They hide their thirst for power by making their ambitions seem frivolous and socially acceptable. With “shameless priggishness,” they adhere to “severe rules of a Victorian tint,” he wrote.

“It’s a cult of good manners that cover up bad habits,” he said.

Go here to read the rest.  People who sin of course often attempt to fool themselves that their sin is not a sin.  The odd thing is that the examples that come to PopeWatch’s mind are in areas where Pope Francis has said little:  birth control, homosexual conduct, envy of the wealth of others, etc.  In regard to Catholics in adulterous second marriages the Pope has offered endless excuses as to why these people may receive communion without repentance and amendment of life.  How much harder it is for people to recognize their sins, when the Church is silent about some sins or seems to say that a particular sin maybe is not so bad.  Such activities on the part of clerics truly is corruption.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

3 Comments

  1. Aristotle in the Nichomachean Ethics draws a distinction between the Incontinent (άκρατης, akratēs) man and the Intemperate or Licentious (ακόλαστης, akolastēs) man. (In Aristotle’s usage, someone who is carried away by sudden passions is incontinent, whereas someone with ingrained, unresisted, bad habits is intemperate or licentious.) Since passion soon passes, whereas a habit is “a disposition difficult to remove,” the incontinent man repents at once, as soon as the passion has passed; but not so the intemperate man. In fact, he rejoices in having sinned, because the sinful act has become second nature to him; for custom and habit are a second nature.
    Compare Proverbs 2:14 about those“Who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perversity of evil”

  2. “Such activities on the part of clerics truly is corruption.” There is a reason this pope is so knowledgeable about corruption. Apparently, hypocrisy is a huge issue for him as well.

  3. How rich of Pope Francis to talk of corruption. Perhaps no one in the history of the Church has done more to corrupt the Catholic faith.

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