Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Back to the Future

Rocked by sexual scandals over the past two decades, the Catholic church in America lurches between poverty and bankruptcy. So some dioceses have returned to an idea popular in the late middle ages--indulgences:
The announcement in church bulletins and on Web sites has been greeted with enthusiasm by some and wariness by others. But mainly, it has gone over the heads of a vast generation of Roman Catholics who have no idea what it means: "Bishop Announces Plenary Indulgences."

In recent months, dioceses around the world have been offering Catholics a spiritual benefit that fell out of favor decades ago -- the indulgence, a sort of amnesty from punishment in the afterlife -- and reminding them of the church’s clout in mitigating the wages of sin.

The fact that many Catholics under 50 have never sought one, and never heard of indulgences except in high school European history (Martin Luther denounced the selling of them in 1517 while igniting the Protestant Reformation), simply makes their reintroduction more urgent among church leaders bent on restoring fading traditions of penance in what they see as a self-satisfied world.

"Why are we bringing it back?" asked Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio of Brooklyn, who has embraced the move. "Because there is sin in the world."
Yes, I know indulgences do not pardon sin; they only remit some of the temporal punishment allotted when a sin is forgiven--repentance remains required. But given the Church's financial crisis, wouldn't it be prudent to set-up a card table at McCarran International Airport? How much would it be worth to ensure that whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?

(via reader Josh A.)

11 comments:

bobn said...

"An indulgence is the extra-sacramental remission of the temporal punishment due, in God's justice, to sin that has been forgiven, which remission is granted by the Church in the exercise of the power of the keys, through the application of the superabundant merits of Christ and of the saints, and for some just and reasonable motive."

Holy cow, what absolute and complete CRAP! Belief in this is what righies lord over the lefties?

Hatless in Hattiesburg said...

bobn, i don't think there's any direct correlation between this small portion of one (granted, it's the largest) denomination's beliefs and either right or left political alignment. despite being a "righie" (sic), i share your disdain for the idea of indulgences.

OBloodyHell said...

> But given the Church's financial crisis, wouldn't it be prudent to set-up a card table at McCarran International Airport? How much would it be worth to ensure that whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?


LOL. I'd say a booth, but yeah. What an idea. (snicker)

> Holy cow, what absolute and complete CRAP! Belief in this is what righies lord over the lefties?

bob. Bob!!

BOB!!!!

Can you hear me...?

Yes...?

Good ... I thought it might be difficult with your HEAD that far up your ASS.

Hear this: Certain Catholic ASSHOLES don't represent either God, his actual Followers, nor the principles which their actions are based upon.

That shouldn't NEED any explanation, but apparently it was lost on you sometime in the process of your little self-pretzeling activity.

Glad to see I could at least put THAT part of you straight.

Now go see a good proctologist about that other problem, huh?

.

Carl said...

I agree with HiH.

bobn said...

Hear this: Certain Catholic ASSHOLES don't represent either God, his actual Followers, nor the principles which their actions are based upon.

That shouldn't NEED any explanation,


Even accepting your point, there's all these right-wing jerks claiming moral superiority based on their fervent belief in something for which the evidence is dicey at best.

For just one example, P. J. O'Rourke:
"God is a Republican and Santa Claus is a Democrat."

I am agnostic. I concede I can't prove that God doesn't exist (though watching the news makes me lean that way). More importantly, nobody else can prove it, either way. So why do they keep harping on it? And why do they keep endorsing Republicans?

Hatless in Hattiesburg said...

"jerks claiming moral superiority based on their fervent belief in something for which the evidence is dicey at best" is also an across-the-board human behavior, not limited to any part of the political spectrum. (peta, global warming, white/brown/black superiority, etc.)

and watching the news can make anybody lose hope. it seems almost designed that way ;)

Carl said...

Uh, bobn, P.J. O'Rourke's quip was satire.

bobn said...

Uh, bobn, P.J. O'Rourke's quip was satire.

I disagree. Google it and read it in its entirety.

Anonymous said...

Let's make organized religion illegal and give PEOPLE a chance.

Religion steals freedom from the living.

At least can we stop subsidizing religion with tax breaks? Please?

OBloodyHell said...

> At least can we stop subsidizing religion with tax breaks?

Does that mean the government can no longer put money into promoting Global Warming?

Might be worth the trade off.

OBloodyHell said...

> I disagree.

You can disagree all you want, EVERYTHING O'Rourke writes is satire. Although there's a measure of seriousness underlying anything he speaks well of, it's never said with a straight face or to be taken too seriously.

There's a reason one of his books is titled "Eat The Rich".