March 2, 2000
volume 11, no. 44

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    Pat Ludwa, a committed lay Catholic from Cleveland, has been asked to contribute, on a regular basis, a lay person's point of view on the Church today. We have been impressed with his insight and the clear logic he brings to the table from his "view from the pew." In all humility, by his own admission, he feels he has very little to offer, but we're sure you'll agree with us that his viewpoint is exactly what millions of the silent majority of Catholics believe and have been trying to say as well. Pat puts it in words that help all of us better understand and convey to others what the Church teaches and we must believe.

    Today Pat reveals the underbelly of the lie modernists love to spread about guilt which they claim is imposed on them by Holy Mother Church and which they can shed by attacking that 'source of guilt.' He points out how erroneous this is for we all have an inherent God-given checks and balance system which God has perfected through His Church. But the liberal agitators use this as a weapon against the very institution that seeks to free men's souls through the totally cleansing Sacrament of Reconciliation. We would pray they realize where the source of guilt for this attack truly lies and use the upcoming First Week of Lent to join the rest of the universal Church in asking forgiveness and forgiving and coming back into the fold as Christ wills. We are all sinners who strive for sanctity. To deny this and not take responsibility for our own actions is to deny God. That is the gist of his column today, The Guilt Weapon

    For past columns by Pat Ludwa, click on VIEW FROM THE PEW Archives   If you want to send him ideas or feedback, you can reach him at

The Guilt Weapon

        I often hear this from many people, "Iím tired of the Church making me feel guilty." This is often the excuse given by those who commit a sin dealing with sex. The thing is, it isnít the Church making them feel guilty. Itís themselves.

        St. Maximilian Kolbe wrote that: "These wild movements against the Church of Christ and His temporal Vicar on earth, were not made by men mentally deranged, but by men acting according to a determined plan, way and purpose. Because of this, wise and strong men are weakened, families torn apart, hearts corrupted, and an insane bitterness grows up. Some souls, when they are unable to throw off the infamous burden they carry (guilt), will avoid the Church, or even raise up against Her. Brothers, this is so sad, because I cannot believe that a single human being under Godís sun, would not long for happiness. The greatest possible happiness, happiness without limit, namely God." (Oct. 16, 1917)

        Guilt is the way the Holy Spirit prompts us to repentance, draws us to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. For without repentance, there can be no forgiveness. Guilt, in this case, from an informed and correct conscience, draws us closer to God. Thus healing us and removing the guilt. So, the Church, rather than being the harbinger of guilt, is the reliever of guilt. Fulfilling part of the mission our Lord gave Her. However; "Neither we nor God can forgive what is not acknowledged as a sin, a wrong. Thus, Mark's Gospel rightly begins with a command - "repent." Without this repentance, no forgiveness is possible." (On Forgiveness; Crisis, January 1999; James V. Schall, S.J.)

        So our enemy decides to attack, not with logic, but by making it seem as though repentance is not necessary. We have nothing to feel guilty about, after all, thatís the way God made us...right? God loves us just as we are...right? True, but as we are God wants us to grow in Him, to mature, not remain like children demanding their own way.

        So, in this sense, guilt is used as a weapon, not by the Church, but by Her enemy. By redirecting the focus of the guilt. The Church gave us the guilt, therefore we should reject the Church as causing this pain. But the pain is from within themselves, not from the Church. This pain acts to drive people away from the truth of the Church and to drive them into open opposition, or Ďreformí of the Church in a vain attempt to ease their Ďpainí, to soothe their troubled conscience.

        However, there is another way our enemy uses guilt. Many have nothing to feel guilty about, at least not serious guilt. What of them? How is guilt used to drive them away from the Church? Itís without question that, over the centuries, many people have been abused, used, and persecuted. Even by Ďgoodí members of the Church. Women were often looked at as cattle, as their husbands (or fatherís) personal possession. Gays have been beaten and killed; not for anything more than just being confused and trapped. ĎGoodí Catholics, among others, saw a dead Indian as the only good Indian, and blacks as only partly human, capable of working for them in bondage, but little more. Yes, these things occurred, even by people in the Church, but the Church Herself never sanctioned them.

        From the very beginning, the Church saw the dignity of all men. Men and women, white and black, slave and free, East or West. All men were Godís children. This was not to say there were no differences, but on the whole, we were the same. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christs, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise" (Galatians 3: 28-29).

        But the enemy of God and His Church uses guilt here too. Iíve heard it said that the liberal agenda is driven by guilt. Guilt over what happened to women, blacks, homosexuals, Indians, etc. I donít think theyíre driven by it, I think itís used to prompt it.

      "Look how women were treated in the past! The only way to ease the Ďguiltí is to allow women priests. After all, itís only fair." "Look how gays have been treated. Itís only fair now, in an enlightened society, to accept and bless their acts and even marriage."

        They make it seem as though they should feel guilty for being, say, women. The Church has always elevated women, cherished and tried to protect their dignity. It isnít the Churchís fault that society is only now catching up to it. Yet, we hear this as though the Church is saying they should feel guilty, or somehow less, for being women. If anything, itís they who are planting this notion in their hearts. Poisoning their hearts against the Church. And that, somehow, men should feel guilty about how other men treated women. And that the only way to make amends is to go to the other extreme; again, poisoning their hearts against the Church. It is guilt, not over what is, but what was; guilt, not from what you or I did, but what others might have done.

        In one sense, Iím a liberal. I see people in need, in pain, etc. And as a Christian, as a practicing Catholic, I long to help them as best I can. Not out of guilt, but out of love of God. "'Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?' And He said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets'" (Matthew 22:36-40).

        Without a love of God, we cannot truly love our neighbor. Without a love of God, we cannot even love ourselves, and if we donít love ourselves, how can we ever truly be happy? Happiness doesnít come from rationalizing away our guilt, or from letting guilt be imposed on us by others for diabolical agendas. No, true happiness comes when we come to God in repentance and conversion. He wipes away our guilt, dries our tears, and fills us with joy. But we see that a determined plan is in fact, in action. Many refrain from confession, being told, both implicitly and explicitly, that we have nothing to feel guilty about, and that our guilt is placed on us by the Church. And if the guilt we feel is serious enough, they tell us we have to oppose the Church, and if we canít change the Church, to destroy it (which is the same thing) so we donít feel the guilt.

        Happiness doesnít come about by making us the center of our lives by either killing the guilt we hold within ourselves or by accepting a false guilt imposed by others, but by placing God at the center of our lives. If we truly look at what many modernists call for in the Church (Call To Action, etc.), weíll see that God is not the center of their agenda, but their personal desires.

        My friends, if we have hearts with guilt, rejoice. For that means we are still working to follow Christ. We know weíve let Him down but have a means, given us by His mercy, to relieve that guilt. In that Sacrament of Penance, our hearts are healed. Our pain is eased, and our love increased. "Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin" (Mark 3: 28-29).

        That blasphemy is the refusal to act on the prompting of the Holy Spirit to repentance. Since, "Neither we nor God can forgive what is not acknowledged as a sin, a wrong. Thus, Mark's Gospel rightly begins with a command - 'repent.' Without this repentance, no forgiveness is possible" (On Forgiveness; Crisis, January 1999; James V. Schall, S.J.).

        "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us" (1 John 1:8-10).

    Pax Christi, Pat


March 2, 2000
volume 10, no. 44

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