Monday, July 30, 2007

Kevin Takes on the Priest

The Franklin Guy, aka Kevin Fisher, doesn't always like what he hears from the pulpit.

...the visiting priest during his homily suddenly launched into a loud dissertation about child abusers and the general attitude most people have towards them. He gestured with his hands and asked everyone in the pews if they wouldn’t like to warp their hands around the throat of a child abuser. The priest used similar rhetoric about identity thieves and illegal immigrants.

The rhetoric is inflammatory. This priest is either ignorant or deliberately provocative. I'd prefer that the former be the case; but then, we have to ask "who let him out without a complete education?" If it is the latter, he needs remedial work with someone who actually knows something about the world.

Because of this deliberately provocative and ignorant beginning, he manages to achieve exactly the wrong result:

I was not impressed or convinced.

[I find] it extremely difficult, if not damn near impossible to forgive vicious criminals or illegal immigrants, many of whom are vicious criminals, am I rejecting my faith, neglecting to follow its teachings?

Umnhnhhh... all that stuff about 'seventy times seven', Kevin...

Were the priest to have begun with that particular verse (70x7) and worked his way through, sympathetically speaking to those of us who 'find it extremely difficult' to forgive, one suspects that the result may have been different. It is our obligation to forgive, difficult as it may be.

But "forgiving" the trespass does not mean "forgetting" the punishment due the trespasser; nor does it imply that "forgivers" are idiots who will leave their children unattended around a convicted molester.

And just to show you how that works, I forgive the priest who made those asinine remarks.

7 comments:

RAG said...

The Gospel is very clear that while forgiveness of the sinner is our faith, so too is holding the sinner accountable for the sin.

Geez. That's not high tech theology, folks.

m.z. forrest said...

so too is holding the sinner accountable for the sin

Not particularly, but it has been repeated so many times people don't know any better. It is for God to hold the sinner accountable. In so much as it serves the public good and leads souls to heaven, it is for the competent authority to establish penal measures. An obligation is indeed placed upon the offending party to make retribution to the offended party. There is no obligation for the offended party to seek justice against the offender; carried to extremes such acts more often resemble vengeance.

As for Mr. Fisher, he is wonderfully illustrative of why one doesn't want to be a public figure. The danger of always having to have an opinion is ever present, particularly when one is paid to have them. As for the line about "forgive us our trespasses" being a dangerous line, I believe Father Corapi has used it a million times. Archbishop Fulton Sheen may have used it as well. It has a long pedigree.

Billiam said...

Forgiveness, especially for pedophiles, comes with much difficulty. It took me 30 years to forgive, and I never sought "justice". Yet, I've not been able to recap the well of anger that was opened by that. I understand where that priest is coming from. It may not have been appropriate for the pulpit, but, I understand.

Dad29 said...

Maybe you understand 'where he's coming from,' but I think you understand him differently than the way I do.

Billiam said...

Of course, Dad! That's why I so enjoy our conversations! I'll be down the weekend of the 11th. Going to see Tim. Maybe you could stop buy his place that afternoon? Otherwise we could do breakfast, maybe?

Dad29 said...

So far, the 11th afternoon looks fine, subject to all the usual crap.

Tim's place is fine, or we could meet at a nearby joint for coffee. Whatever works.

Billiam said...

Already told Tim I'd be there. It'd be great to see you.