Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Thursday, 22 October 2015

"Yeah, he's really sorry, so if you could just apologize to him...."

 Image result for big bang "panty pinata"
It is a staple of sitcoms and rom-coms, dating back at least to "Much Ado,", (so I guess, dating back to whatever the source from which Shakespeare lifted the plot of MAAN,) that two people have a falling out, and their circle, either because the enmity of the two is just wearing on their friends, or simply for sport, try to convince each that the other has more or less expressed contrition, so can't we put all this animosity behind us?
Can't we all just get along?

I keep thinking of the innumerable iterations of this situation as we hear, over, and over, and over the words "mercy," and "repentance," and "forgiveness" and "amendment."

Mercy, as I have always understood it, is as unmerited as Grace.  
If I am entitled to something, my receipt of it does not require mercy from anyone but simple justice.

You can extend forgiveness to anyone who has sinned against you, whether he asks for it or not; and God can extend mercy to and pardon whom He wills.
But does the Church have the authority to forgive someone who doesn't ask for it?
Mercy invites the sinner and it becomes forgiveness when one repents and changes one’s life. The prodigal son was greeted with an embrace from his father only when he returned home .
-- from the Synodal intervention of Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas
She can, She must show mercy, to all sinners, (that is, to all human beings, everyone of us,)  in inviting to repentance, but can she forgive them, on behalf of all Her members and especially on behalf the those who may have been wronged by the sin, if it is not sought by the sinner?

And if he "asks for forgiveness" *wink *wink, for a "sin" *nudge, *nudge, that he does not believe is a sin and in which he intends to continue to engage, is not "the last imposture worse than the first"? (Am I queering my own argument by using the words of the chief priests and Pharisees?)

And I fear sometimes, that those in high places urging admittance to the sacraments for those in "irregular" marriages, (is "irregular" like "disordered" and "indissoluble"? is it too harsh to say?) not those in the marriages themselves, urge with such fervor not because they think mercy is required but because -- and I apologize, this is a serious accusation I make --  because, ultimately, they do not see such situations as sinful.

Now I am not the kindest of human beings, and yet more than once I have apologized to someone when there was no question in my mind that nothing I had done merited remorse or regret much less a mea culpa.
But it made people feel better, or calmed someone down, or just seemed the easiest way out....

And as I said, not the most gentle or conciliatory, so if I've done this, EVERYONE has probably done it at one time or another.

So is that dishonesty on my part? is that a sin against the eighth commandment?

And to bring the conversation full circle, that is a staple of prison dramas, the innocent man, falsely imprisoned, who serves years longer than he needed to because he will not perjure himself by confessing to and showing contrition for a crime he did not commit.

When I was a kid, expedience being one of my core values, I always thought such nobility was the mark of a sucker and a patsy.
(So, another mea culpa.)

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