Thursday, 16 August 2012
Claiming the moral low ground
Sin in the Anglican tradition is reasonably clear-cut, being basically a deliberate rejection of ethical, religious and moral codes or mores.
We are told to believe that even if we choose deliberately to sin, there is always hope of salvation provided we reject our sinful ways and accept Jesus as our new path.
One of the things which repels and fascinates me in equal measure is the concept of sin as seen through the eyes of the Catholic Church.
There is a long history of individuals, communities and whole continents whose way of life is seen as deeply sinful and whose only possible ultimate end is in Hellfire.
Breast-beating, rending of garments and self-flagellation are not viewed as ridiculous or 'over-the-top', ways of doing penance. Instead it is seen as at least one step on the way to salvation.
Another rather unpleasant manifestation of the "I am saved, and I want everyone to know it" faction in the Christian church is the "My sin is greater than yours", where individuals dwell loud and long, and usually very publicly on their past wicked ways, compared with their new stainless mode.
For me, having had the opportunity to view at very close quarters, quite a long time ago, one of the Catholic church's 'fallen angels', persisting in his chosen sin, while attending mass daily and confession weekly. From whence he would emerge shiney new, and all ready to continue on his hedonistic way. It seems to me, that there is a very great difference between the absolute certainty of forgiveness, provided the formula is followed, and the trembling, uncertain hope that there may after all be a chance of forgiveness if all previous ways are set aside.
Over simplistic I know, and biased I know, but to me it seems that the Catholic Church can be seen as "purveyors of misery to the masses", while the Anglican Church can be seen as the hope in the bottom of Pandora's box.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 3:05:00 pm