Confession and Tina Beattie
|Confession is the bridge across the Abyss|
'Those of us who tried to answer the questionnaire honestly and in a way that might be helpful to the synod on the family are misrepresented by Edmund Adamus’s ‘reflection’.
Like most other Catholics I know, I respect the Church’s teaching on marriage and parenthood. I also know from experience that marriage and family life can induce agonies of guilt over our inevitable failures and shortcomings. However, I do not experience guilt over deciding in good conscience to use contraception to limit the number of children we had. I do not feel ashamed of my adult children for cohabiting with partners who have enriched our lives by their friendship. I do not feel compelled to pass negative judgement on the loving relationships of my gay friends. I am glad that some of my divorced Catholic friends have found joy in second marriages, and I want to share the sacraments with them. In other words, I’m like the vast majority of Catholics whose answers to the questionnaire have been made public.
I seek from the Church the formation I know I need most – formation that has to do with love and generosity of spirit, with faithfulness and integrity, with wisdom and discretion, with prayer and discernment. The list is long, but it does not include learning to regard contraception, premarital sex and homosexuality as intrinsically evil, nor does it include regarding divorced and remarried Catholics as people uniquely barred from the forgiveness offered by Christ in the sacraments.'
Pope Francis has, when speaking of the Sacrament of Confession, talked of the Christian 'virtue of shame'. Shame arises from guilt, or a convicted conscience, a sense that all is not well within the soul, a sense that I have sinned. Tina makes a public profession that she feels no guilt or shame over her use of artificial contraception to limit the number of children she and her husband had. Is that because Jesus has washed away her sin in the Sacrament of Penance when she went to confess her use of artificial contraception, or that she feels it is not a matter to bring to the Lord? Does she feel no shame for not passing on the Church's teaching in the area of sexual morality to her children, or explaining it to her friends?
A question for Tina: Why seek full and active membership of a Church that on the one hand you reject, because you cannot 'in good conscience' agree with Her teachings on sexual morality, but on the other hand seek 'formation' from. Why would you want 'formation' from a Church which is wrong and therefore unholy? You may as well seek 'formation' from a Buddhist monk in Thailand or a white witch in Dulwich.
|Tips from Tina|
Lent is a wonderful season to go to Confession, but how does the Lord Jesus help those who believe, 'in good conscience' that they have no real sin to confess, even after making a public declaration of their sins and how she has 'no regrets'? What Tina is really saying is that she has no sin because those things that the Church condemns by virtue of Her Magisterium, Tina dismisses as unwanted guidance from a Church which offers some kind of vague, new age spiritual wisdom that does not touch, Heaven forfend, on her good, unsullied conscience. We Catholics have hitherto understood that the Church informs our conscience, rather than our conscience informs the Church, but try telling that to Tina.
What does the Church have to offer Tina Beattie, if it is not Salvation from sin and the graces to live a holy, faithful Catholic life that are channelled to us with such gratuity through the Sacraments of the Lord and by prayer? Can the Church and her Lord help someone who has rejected Her Teaching, which is His? Someone like Cardinal Kasper of course, is a dream come true for Tina, because his words can quite easily be passed off as Beattieism.
Cardinal Kasper talks as if the Church can bridge the 'abyss' between the Church's teaching and the 'actual situation of people'. In every situation, the Church can offer to the penitent forgiveness, the opportunity to start again and spiritual guidance and advice to live a holy and faithful Catholic life leading to Salvation.
As Catholics we know we are sinners dependent on God's grace, goodness and mercy to be found through prayer and the Sacraments. For the impenitent, however, who do not desire Salvation, you can build a bridge across the abyss, but if they really want the Abyss, they want the Abyss. You can take a horse to water, the water of Salvation, but you cannot make it drink. At some point, those who govern the Church might think to mention that there are eternal consequences if we reject the Church's Teaching and believe and do our own thing.
Say a prayer for Tina that she will seek the 'formation' rooted in Truth that God can offer through His Church. Frightening, isn't it? Such women as Tina are in teaching positions, 'Catholic' magazines and on BBC Radio from time to time, being introduced as 'Catholics'.
'Like most other Catholics I know, I respect the Church’s teaching on marriage and parenthood.'
Tina, if you don't as a Catholic agree with the Church's teaching on marriage and parenthood and everything connected with them, then you don't respect it as a Catholic. You 'respect' it in that way atheists do...
"Well, you Catholics are entitled to your beliefs, fair enough, but I think you are crackers."
If I am a Catholic and give assent to all that the Church teaches to be true and revealed by God and Tina is a Catholic who does not give assent to all that the Church teaches to be true and revealed by God, are we both Catholics? If I am a Catholic who confesses my sins when I transgress the moral law taught by the Catholic Church, and Tina is a Catholic who thinks that moral law as taught is defective, then are we both Catholics? If I as a Catholic try with God's help to live the Church's teaching in its fullness and Tina, as a Catholic, think its not worth it, are we both Catholic? Do we believe in the same God?