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Bless Me Father For I Have Sinned

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Angie O'Gorman
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Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been a long time since my last confession. I am guilty of many things but mostly of misunderstanding the Gospels.   I thought they called us to a life of service.   The Catholic bishops have showed me a better way.   I understand now that God wants us to judge others first, then if they're worthy, we can serve them; perhaps talk to them about God's unconditional love, like Jesus did.

Too often to count, I've helped someone without asking if they use contraceptives or had an abortion, or were homosexual.     And if I knew they were homosexual I never asked if they were sexually active or, in the words of the bishops, "objectively disordered."   I just, well, I just didn't know that's what God wanted. The nuns were my teachers in school.   Maybe that is the problem.

Really Father, since the Catholic hierarchy focuses on these bio-sins to the exclusion of most everything else, I thought they had it covered.   But that left a lot of life issues not covered, like poverty and the economic systems that thrives on it, and war, and homelessness, greed, domestic violence; all kinds of things that kill people left and right once they're born. Think of it: if the hierarchy gave as much time and attention to the sins of capitalism as they have to, let's say, contraception, lives could be saved by the millions.

Forgive me, but I thought these lives mattered too.   I thought life mattered whether it was pre-born, homeless, starving, bleeding from the shrapnel of a drone attack, or bleeding from rape.  

Life matters to a lot of people who do not focus on ending abortion or contraception or homosexuality.   Some of these people are Catholics.   Some of these Catholics are nuns.   Some of these nuns have been so disrespectfully treated by your brothers in Christ that one wonders if their lives matter at all.

I am almost sure that somewhere in the Gospels Jesus talks about the last judgment when the people will be separated, like sheep and goats, to stand by the right and left hands of God.   And to those on the right it is said, "Come, O blessed of God, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."

I know I shouldn't be quoting scripture to a priest, but just this last little bit seems important: "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me".Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me."   And the goats are told, "go to hell."   (Matt, 25: 31-42.)

The work of the nuns your brothers in Christ have once again disrespected and dismissed and found in need of controlling because it lacks focus on abortion, contraception and homosexuality, is so obviously the work of those inheriting the kingdom that I'd be worried, if I were you, just exactly who is in the group going to hell.  

And now Father, let's talk about penance.

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Angie O'Gorman's essays and articles have appeared in America Magazine, Commonweal, and National Catholic Reporter. She has worked on human rights issues in Honduras, Guatemala,the West Bank and the United States. She is the author of The Book of (more...)
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