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100% of Catholics Sin Every Day

This blog was born out of friendships between women who want to be a part of the new evangelization.  Our goal was simply to share our Catholic faith.  We don’t always agree with each other.  Some moms circumcise their sons and some don’t.  We have moms that baby wear and co-sleep and moms who don’t.   We all have different ideas about private schooling, public schooling,  and home schooling.  We cannot agree on whether or not to introduce Harry Potter to our young readers. However, we are in total agreement that we do not debate the Church teachings.   This ground rule has allowed us to develop friendships with a broad spectrum of Catholic women from across the nation including single women, newly weds, women with fertility issues, new moms, and grandmoms.  The ink slingers at Catholic Sistas want to help each other and others on this journey of faith.  We have our work cut out for us thanks to the secular media that wants us to be comfortable with our sinful nature.

Recently, the Catholic Church received an onslaught of media attention related to President Obama’s healthcare mandate requiring that Catholic institutions provide free birth control and other “family planning” services.  The media attempted to sell this to Catholics and to the world by reporting that 98% of Catholics have used birth control.  In other words, all your friends are doing it, so you should be able to do it, too.  Right?  That kind of rationale never worked on my parents and it should not work here.  The Catholic Sistas countered this attempt at deception with our own poll that paints a very different picture.  We could argue the stats all day, but the fact is that 100% of Catholics sin all the time.

It is possible that the 98% statistic bolstered the confidence of some lukewarm Catholics who attend Mass begrudgingly, waiting for the Pope to change his mind about the whole birth control thing.  This is simply not going to happen.  This issue is at the crux of our faith and no amount of political or social pressure is going to suddenly make a Pope cave.   Fertility and family planning are areas of our life where our faith requires that we let God make the final decision.  We pray, we consult our priest and our doctor, we pray some more and then we let go.  When we do this, our faith grows.  But having faith doesn’t mean that you get everything you want at exactly the right time or in exactly the right way.  Rather,  Catholics who place their lives in God’s hand will find confidence in God regardless of life’s unexpected twists and turns.

When we try to control every aspect of our life and when we  require the use of chemical, surgical or other barriers to fulfilling God’s will, we deny ourselves an opportunity to grow in faith.  We are telling God that we know better.  We are telling God that we are afraid and He just doesn’t understand.  And ultimately, we are telling ourselves that we do not believe in God.  This is the most challenging aspect of our Catholic faith.  It is also the most rewarding.

During the season of Lent, Catholics practice fasting, abstinence, and various forms of self-sacrifice in order to grow in faith.  We also spend much of our quiet time examining our conscience and seeking repentance.  The more time we spend in prayer, the more aware we become of our sinful nature.  And that’s a good thing.

If I were to take a poll of practicing Catholics, I am confident that I would find that 100% of Catholics sin every day.  And, I would also expect to find a direct correlation between the number of times in attendance at Mass and the self-report of chronic sinfulness.  It’s not that those folks who keep the pews warm are degenerates.  Rather, they are self aware.  And, they know their catechism, too.  And if 100% of us sinning Catholics will take some quiet time during this season of Lent to deeply examine our conscience and become well acquainted with our catechism, I am sure that 98% of us will find joy in the self awareness that leads to redemption.

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About Shiela

Shiela is a 40-something mother of five children from middle school to pre-school. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and art therapist but her primary vocation is to be a mom. She discovered apologetics while cruising around social networks and finding her faith under attack. She approaches apologetics with humor and everyday stories and hopes to ignite a fire of joyful catholic culture that will spread throughout the world.

February 29, 2012 - 5:30 am

Marie - I’d even argue that you could expand this to be 100% of humans sin every day. God and Christ know that we sin. They understand our humanity. They GET IT. They know that we’re going to fail and fail and FAIL… yet love continues. Gifts and blessings continue. Forgiveness continues.

I work hard to live a loving and moral life, but I fail… and the unconditional love that God has for me – that I am SO UNWORTHY of – is humbling.

OUTSTANDING POST!

February 29, 2012 - 7:10 am

Lisa Maria - I have to say that the thoughts you express here are so true! We are all sinners and it would be hypocritical of us to portray ourselves as holier than thou…unfortunately that’s what people think we do when we stand up for the truths of our faith.

Somehow when we say that we believe x is wrong so we don’t do it the whole world thinks we’re being self-righteous and judgmental. Personally, I live in the confessional…I know that I could never be worthy of God’s graces and sometimes its virtually impossible to keep this mouth of mine from offending Him. I acknowledge that and fall on my knees each time.

It really saddens me that so many Catholics don’t believe that they have to conform to the Canon laws of our Church. Each person seems to add in their own conditions and remove what they don’t agree to until they have what they are comfortable with.

Its wonderful to have a place to come to that encourages us to persevere despite all the worldly influence and to be faithful to our Church. Thank you!
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February 29, 2012 - 8:47 am

Emily - So well put… thanks for your post, Shiela!

February 29, 2012 - 8:59 am

John G - Terrific post Shiela! We like to convince ourselves that we are in control of our lives with our healthy life styles, oursmart phones, green cars, our visits to the gym and our birth control but deep down we all know better. Just ask the tsunami, the earth quake or cancer. We are never truly in control. Its just a matter of whether or not we admit it. We all come into this world the same way and we all leave the same way. Its amazing though how many of us are able to convince ourselves that the middle part goes on forever!
Peace.

February 29, 2012 - 9:09 am

Mary - So true! Thank you for the much needed reminder that the Church is the refuge of sinners; a much needed remedy for this world. There is no other place a weary world can go like the Catholic Church. She does not ask you to justify your existence, Only to repent and come home…A note on the 98%ers: It would appear that the secular media is anxious for us to believe that an astounding 98% of our sisters and brothers are participating in contraception. A percentage that could seem despairing to the remaining 2% if it weren’t for the source. Since this is the media that is particularly hostile to the RCC; in an environment where a non-compliant Catholic population would weaken the Bishops leadership and bolster the HHS mandate push, I think we should question their poll results. Remember in politics “the lie is sacred” .(Just take a look at these story headlines on Google: http://www.google.com/search?q=catholic+contraception+poll&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&client=safari)

Thank you again for the wisdom.

February 29, 2012 - 10:34 am

Chris - This is a very good post. I, a lifelong Catholic, and my husband, who converted as a child with his parents and siblings, have been doing a lot of soul-searching over the last 5 or so years about our faith. We’ve done several Bible studies, participated in CHRP, read the New Testament on our own, studied the Catechism, and read a lot of blogs. :) And we’ve come to the conclusion that you are right: the Church is not going to change because a lot of people want it to. However, we just don’t believe it. Deep down, in our hearts, souls, brains, consciousness, whatever you want to call it, we think most of the doctrine is just tradition. So it seems it will be us that makes a change and that is OK.

February 29, 2012 - 12:09 pm

Shiela - Chris, thank you for reading and for your honest comment. Yes, the Catholic church is steeped in Tradition and all Traditions are firmly rooted in Scripture. This truth along with the employment of the magisterium which is charged with guardianship of the Bible are what separate us from our Protestant brothers and sisters who practice Sola Scriptura. Tradition, Magisterium, and Scripture are the three facets that define our faith. We believe these three facets find their beginning in the teachings of Jesus. Godspeed on your faith journey and I hope you will continue to visit our blog and provide feedback.
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February 29, 2012 - 2:20 pm

robbie - Shiela, you forgot to mention that we also disagree on whether chili should have beans or not. : )

There’s a quote that says the Church is not a haven for saints but a hospital for sinners. That sums up why I need daily Mass–I have a chronic disease!

I also wanted to respond to Chris. While I (a convert to Catholicism) find it impossible to contemplate leaving the Church for anything else (which to me would be leaving it for LESS than what I have), I do have immense respect for your “soul-searching” and your integrity. So many people who find themselves searching try to conform the Church to themselves rather than looking elsewhere…because they are “Catholic” and would never consider being anything else. At least you have the courage and honesty to recognize the immutable truth (or at least the immutable doctrine) of the Church and walk away. It saddens me (truly!) that you haven’t been able to reason your way to belief; the historic tradition of the Church is what I find so compelling. But if Catholic doctrine isn’t believable because it’s based on tradition, anything in the Protestant tradition would be less believable yet. Or are you looking outside Christianity? Thanks for post, and my prayers as you seek the truth.

March 1, 2012 - 9:29 am

Melanie - Thank you! I get tired of people having the perception that I feel that I am better than them, nothing could be farther from the truth. I am a miserable sinner, I struggle every day, and even though I try to follow the Church, I often fall short.

March 5, 2012 - 12:32 pm

Danielle - I’m a bit late to comment on this entry, but I hope you will please consider my words even so. I love this blog, and I loved this piece except for one striking aspect. Please take this in the loving and charitable manner with which my words are intended, as I am sure you would not knowingly misguide your readers.

You have stated here, fairly nonchalantly, that some of you choose to circumcise your sons. This language about circumcision I did not expect to find on a Catholic women’s blog which professes to be well aquainted with the Catechism, and one in which the authors do not debate Church teachings. The truth (it saddens my heart so that it is absent and glossed over in this post), is that the Catechism maintains that we are to have respect for bodily integrity of every individual, and does not allow for the exception of any body part (a male’s forskin, for example).

No. 2297: Respect for bodily integrity

“Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons,
directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law.”

The truth (this coming from a medical professional, a Catholic woman who regrettably has performed a circumcision) is that routine circumcision of baby boys is a non-therapeutic amputation of the foreskin. It is perfectly functional in the way our God designed it and to cut it off implies that we know better than Him.

You all seem like such honest, truth-seeking women and I would love to have a conversation with you about this particular issue. Please read this: http://www.fisheaters.com/circumcision.html
It was one of many things which enlightened me about the circumcision in the Old Testament, how Catholicism relates to the topic, and how modern circumcision in hospitals (which became popular in an attempt to sexually repress males by curbing masturbation which was thought to cause disease) has nothing to do with our God’s initial commandment in this regard.

My sincerest thanks for your encouraging words, and I pray you seriously consider mine.

March 5, 2012 - 1:40 pm

Michelle - Thank you Danielle for your input! It is much appreciated! I think the difference here is that direct “mutilation” means that we are attempting to change our bodies so that they no longer function in the way they are meant to function. Circumcision does not prevent a male from using his penis in the way it was meant to be used.

This is taken from Catholic Answers: Mutilation involves altering the body for non-therapeutic reasons in ways that interfere with the body’s ability to function. Circumcision was established by God as a sign of the Old Covenant (Gen. 17:10–14) and practiced by God’s people in obedience to him for thousands of years until it was superseded by baptism (Col. 2:11–14). Therefore, we must assume that God would not establish a ritual for his people that can be considered deliberate mutilation and thus intrinsically immoral. Even so, parents who object to non-therapeutic circumcision have the right to refuse to circumcise their sons as a matter of conscience. They should, however, take care not to make their arguments against circumcision in such ways that it casts aspersion on the legitimate choice of other parents to circumcise.

http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/the-catechism-forbids-deliberate-mutilation-so-why-is-non-therapeutic-circumcision-al

Hopefully that helps some.

March 5, 2012 - 2:01 pm

Emily - Thank you for sharing, Danielle.
Yes, we are all very aware of this portion of the Catechism – which does give allowance for such procedures for therapeutic medical reasons.
The medical community is clearly divided on this particular subject, and each individual Catholic family in turn sees unique medical professionals.
The Church makes no direct statement on circumcision either way, therefore in following the Catechism, we are able to turn to our individual medical professionals to make an informed decision for each of our own unique situations.
Scripture may indeed have the best analysis…
1Cor7:19, “Circumcision means nothing, and uncircumcision means nothing; what matters is keeping God’s commandments.”
Peace to you and yours.

March 5, 2012 - 2:11 pm

Mary - Danielle,

Thank you for your comment, and the charity with which you wrote it. While I personally would not circumcise my sons and actually feel pretty strongly about the subject, I can’t agree with you that this is a matter of black and white teaching of the Church. The passages that you cited from the CCC do not specifically mention circumcision, and while I agree that you can certainly support an anti-circumcision stance with those passages, I don’t agree that that is the only interpretation and that your stance must be applied to all people. The Church has not made a declaration one way or another on the specific issue of circumcision. For now, and as long as there are medical professionals saying that there is medical benefit, it remains a gray area that is to be decided by individual Catholics. I went to a Catholic ob/gyn practice–entirely faithful to the Magisterium– for my first two children, and even they performed circumcisions. Although I do not agree with the idea that there are justifying medical benefits to widespread prophylactic circumcision, I simply may not force that view on everyone else. A priest friend of mine always says that we may not try to bind people where the Church has not bound them. The only way the Church has bound us on the issue of circumcision is through the prohibition of circumcision done for *religious reasons*, as if to say that it actually has some salvific value.

God bless.

March 5, 2012 - 2:52 pm

Shiela - Danielle,
Thank you for your very thought provoking comments. This is one of those areas that makes for robust debate. And, I assure you that I did not include “Some moms circumcise their sons and some don’t” nonchalantly. It is a fact that the church does not bind us on this decision. Therefore, we are able to respectfully disagree without judging each other. That is why I included that as a category open to debate. Whereas, if it were a matter of definitive church teaching, we would refrain from debating. We all agree that the decision regarding circumcision is not one to be taken lightly and I applaud you for encouraging parents to get all the facts before making the decision. But, ultimately, it is up to them.
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March 8, 2012 - 2:21 pm

Judy - Well said, and you know, giving it all to God really takes the pressure off. What a relief!!
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March 11, 2012 - 6:56 pm

diana hall - Enjoyed reading everyone’s views and ideas. This is the first time I have logged on…..good job! mature audience participation, everyone able to agree to disagree without attitude….lovely….and to share their faith with one another…living by example…..that is what faith is all about and we have the Truth and the Life as architect ….. not difficult to build a life from those blue prints……

Liked John’s comments….. which boils down to our Lenten truth: “Remember man that thou art dust and to dust you shall return” Wishing everyone a successful Lent….contemplating and meditating.

Peace & Hope

Diana

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