DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     September 25-27, 1998     vol. 9, no. 188


To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO and SECTION THREE

    INTRODUCTION      "Getting to the Heart of the Matter" is what Sister Mary Lucy Astuto pinpoints in every issue when she takes a common sense approach to living our faith with her practical columns. In this issue, she continues to bring to light the need to pray for Bill Clinton's conversion and what repentance truly means as well as forgiveness which then calls for absolution, but not without some form of penance to indicate one's sincerity that they are truly sorry as we see in her column FORGIVENESS: WHAT DOES IT MEAN? .

         Her column, along with columns by Father John Hampsch, C.M.F. and Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv., provide effective, vital insights into our faith and ways of fulfilling God's Will every day in every way. You can visit Sr. Lucy at her web site for Heart of Mary Ministry at http://www.heartofmaryministry.com or you can reach her at Srmarylucy@aol.com by e-mail.



          To forgive, according to Webster, means "1) to cease to feel resentment against; 2: to give up resentment of or claim to requital for; to grant relief from payment of." These are good definitions, but are too short of an explanation of what really is involved in an act of forgiveness.

          Whenever I (or any Catholic) goes to confession, Jesus forgives us through the absolution of the priest, but we always receive some sort of penance to perform. It may be some prayers or some act of kindness, for example. In other words, we may receive “forgiveness” but there is something that we must do to “pay the price” or make restitution in some way.

          Catholics know that temporal punishment due to our sins may not ALL be taken away through the Sacrament of Penance. Therefore, the need to pray or do something as a penance helps in this matter and also reflects to the confessor our sincere repentance and desire to improve.

          Even in a secular sense, forgiveness may require some restitution. For example, if two people are in a car accident where the cars in question are damaged, it would be wonderful if both drivers would “forgive” each other. However, the fact remains that the cars are damaged and they are in need of repair. Either an insurance company must pay for the damages (in which cases the insurance premiums may likely go up) or one or other of the offending parties must dish out monies to pay for the damages.

          “Forgiving” very often does not mean offenders can go scott-free as though nothing ever happened. If that were true, then we shouldn’t have anybody in prison. Let’s let them all loose! Let them free! What I’m leading up to is simply that President Clinton and many of his supporters seem to want forgiveness for the evil acts of Mr. Clinton, but that the forgiveness should be in the simple area of censure. They say, “Let’s forgive him and get on with the work of the country!”

          Well, dear reader! The gravity of the offense may require more serious restitution. I am all for “forgiving” the President, if he is GENUINELY sorry. Let’s remember that even God cannot forgive us unless we are sorry! A priest could refuse absolution to someone if the priest had reason to think that the “penitent” was not really PENITENT.

          An oath is the calling on God to bear witness to the truth of what we say. If a person lies under oath, he/she calls on God to bear witness to lies. This is a very great evil. There is a “price to pay” for perjury, if there is evidence of such. If President Clinton is guilty of perjury, he must pay a price like any other American citizen who commits perjury. The chief executive of the legislative branch should not be above the law himself.

          In previous articles I have called for prayers for the conversion of our President. I make that call again. God bless you!

September 25-27, 1998       volume 9, no. 188


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