Sunday, December 09, 2007

"For the sins of others"

As you have probably read, Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles has said he was assaulted on the street back in July or August by "one or more people" irate over the L.A. Archdiocese's payout of $660 million.

A priest in his diocese said that Mahony did not report the attack to police "because he felt he could offer it up in reparation for the sins of others."

"For the sins of others"??

No matter what the Cardinal originally meant or said, this rendition reeks of sanctimony and is another disaster in public relations. The guy who could have stopped the pederasty in L.A., but didn't, is looking around for the sins of others to work on? Puh-leaze!

As Catholics, yes, we're urged to offer up our present sufferings to God, in union with the sufferings of Our Savior. But most of us were taught that we've got plenty of sins of our own to apply our sufferings to, and we needn't be paying any attention to "the sins of others." We don't regard ourselves as such wonderful people that we've worked off our own transgressions just fine, thank you, and have extra sufferings to spread around. God will take care of that bit of spiritual economy, not us.

The Cardinal's reported statement just smacks too much of the Gospel story of the Pharisee who marched to the front of the synagogue to give thanks that he was a just and righteous man, and not like that nasty sinful publican hanging around at the back.