Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Last night I posted on Facebook

Has anyone out there ever had anyone who hurt you, other than a spouse or child, actually apologize to you - or apologize in anything but a very limited and conditional way? It has happened to me once in my entire life, and that was an actor who wanted me to hire him again. I did, and it was a huge mistake. Other than that, a genuine "I'm sorry" is never heard, among Christians, pagans, or atheists.

To my surprise, I got a number of comments.   Many people said that they and their spouses are always apologizing to one another, and sincerely - but that it's a very rare thing for those outside of our immediate families to do such things.

I think this is the mystery of Reconciliation.

The reason friends or strangers who hurt us hardly ever offer sincere apologies (or even the occasional "I'm sorry, but -") is the reason they hurt us in the first place - they don't care.  A sincere apology requires contrition, in the same way that the Sacrament of Reconciliation requires contrition, and contrition consists not only in a sincere sorrow for having done wrong, but also a desire not to do wrong again or even to put ourselves in a position to do wrong: the motivation behind genuine contrition is repair, the re-instatement of an old status.  Bad friends or strangers have no desire for such a thing, for they were not seeking that to begin with.

So the decline of the use of Confession in the Catholic Church is not just because priests don't recommend it enough or offer it enough, but because most Catholics don't have any desire to be Reconciled - to be in full communion with Jesus Christ.  To do so would mean giving up our secret pleasures - judgmentalism, promiscuous sex, pornography, false-tolerance, love of money, etc.  Why would we want to be Reconciled with a Body that requires such renunciations in order to be intimate with it, in order to be friends?


Kevin Tierney said...

Reminds me of Paul, who emphasized in the present tense "Be Reconciled to God" and constantly stressed the importance of the present being the acceptable time, now being the day of salvation.

If we actually want geuine reconcillation, we tend to want it later, so we can brood a little longer.

Joey Higgins said...

I've had one person apologize to me.

I've apologized to a few people.

I agree with your sentiment.