(And I hold with those who doubt Pete's declaration of his own status of "sinner," I think he was just bein' lazy.)
The 78 year old Pontiff went on to reflect on today's Gospel in which Christ denounces the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, who like many today "say all the right things, but do the exact opposite."I know all times and places are not alike in their needs, in their proclivities... or in their particular sins.
"They pretend to convert, but their heart is a lie: they are liars! It 'a lie ... Their heart does not belong to the Lord; their heart belongs to the father of all lies, Satan. And this is fake holiness," he said.
"Jesus preferred sinners a thousand times to these. Why? Because sinners told the truth about themselves. 'Get away from me, Lord, I am a sinner!': Peter once said. One of those [the hypocrites] never says that! 'Thank you Lord, that I am not a sinner, that I am righteous."
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis called on the faithful to reflect during this time of Lent on conversion, forgiveness and to beware of "pretending to convert, while choosing the path of hypocrisy."
But it seems to me that the problem of sin that most presses on us today, (different laws for different cases, shorter pants need longer braces,) is not the hypocrite who acknowledges the existence of sin by pretending to avoid it, but the one who denies that sin is sin, and not only fails to avoid it, but celebrates it.
Amassing wealth while others starve.
Holding the right to abort as the highest value which trumps every other.
Preferring adultery or abandonment of responsibility to living "inauthentically" by subjecting oneself to a situation that might make one unhappy.
Accepting the collateral damage of innocent life from actions in response to anything other than the protection of othe innocent life.
The hypocrite at least tries to be the cause of scandal. (The Pharisees' hypocrisy's visibility of course did give scandal, as today's "getting caught" will do. Then all bets are off - "well, if everybody's doin' it, even those guys, why should I bother? why shoul I hold back"")
Of course, TPMMV.
(I hesitate to assure my 2 1/2 regular readers that I am not guilty of any of those denials of sin, I am not like that at all. And I thank God for it.)