Skip to comments.Archbishop Sheen Today - Denying Our Sins
Posted on 08/07/2005 5:50:41 AM PDT by NYer
An ancient tradition tells us that Our Lord appeared to St. Jerome, priest and doctor of the Church, asking,
"Jerome, what have you to offer me?"
The Saint replied, "I can offer you my writings, Lord."
Christ indicated that this was not enough. Jerome asked,
"What can I offer you then my life of mortification and penance?"
"No, that is not enough either."
St. Jerome finally asked straight out,
"Lord, what then is left for me to offer you?"
Christs immediate answer was,
"You can offer me your sins, Jerome."
It has become increasingly more difficult for us to recognize our own sins, let alone offer them to God. What has caused this loss of the sense of sin by mankind?
Why, when we try to recognize our sins, society, as well as some Church leaders, wrongly tells us that we are far too critical of ourselves and we should not appear to others as being scrupulous. The professional esteem builders in our workplaces, schools and universities encourage us to deny our sins because, they say, there is no longer any sin.
The reason for our denying our sins might be summed up in this way: there is a great loss in the belief of sin upon the immortal soul, and unreasonable concerns for what others think of us [human respect].
When man has lost belief in sin [and he has], he therefore no longer believes in The Last Four Things: death, judgment, heaven, and hell.
When men no longer believe in sin, their thinking and their laws become worldly and man-centered, seeking human respect and a false peace. The examples of this humanism are hundredfold.
"Do you know what the first temptation the devil presents to someone who has begun to serve God better?" asks St. Jean-Baptise-Marie Vianney, the Curé dArs.
"It is human respect."
One useful illustration of this confusion is the bad model some Church hierarchy gives to the faithful laity. What is most excruciating are Catholic bishops allowing the reception of Holy Communion by persons persistently, obstinately and manifestly living in mortal sin. Sacrilegious reception of Holy Communion under the guise of keeping peace among humans, albeit a false peace, leads the confused and scandalized laity to question the Churchs Divine Laws, asking,
"Why should we acknowledge and confess our sins when evil legislators are allowed to receive the Eucharist each Sunday, even at the bishops own Cathedrals? Does this mean God isnt offended by sin anymore?"
St. Paul exhorted St. Timothy, bishop of Ephesus, to remain firm in his priestly vocation, to preach the truth without being inhibited by human respect:
"I am reminding you to fan into a flame the gift that God gave you when I laid my hands on you. Gods gift was not a spirit of timidity, but the Spirit of power, and love, and self-control." 
To add to the confusion, many of our clergy speak to us only of a loving, forgiving Jesus and not of the just Jesus who will be our Adjudicator at our dies irae our Day of Judgment [or wrath].
If there is no sin, there is no need for the Sacrament of Confession. If there is no need for Confession, then, as the modernists teach, there is no hell and everyone goes merrily to heaven.
Nothing is distorted and twisted more today than the teaching of universalism. In many places, we hear that everyone is saved, that everyone who dies goes to heaven. This is the result of our denying our sins and it is very difficult to resist this tempting flattery.
How many Funerals Masses have we attended wherein the celebrating priest wrongly allows members to eulogize the deceased into heaven. In addition, the priest, in his homily, subtly conveys the false theology that everyone goes to heaven. Is there no one left who will pray the poor soul out of purgatory, just when he needs us, the Church Militant, the most?
We often hear universalists canonize their loved ones as someone we now can pray to, not pray for. The pious practice of requesting a set of Gregorian Masses celebrated for the deceased has all but disappeared. The infinite value of the Holy Mass makes it the most important prayer we have to offer up for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.
Sentimentality and misguided compassion destroy the true meaning of the Funeral Liturgy, which is to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the soul of the deceased. Only God knows the deceaseds true disposition, when he last frequented the confessional and if he had genuine sorrow for his sins.
Many parish pastors have reduced the time for the Sacrament of Penance so drastically that it is difficult for most to make their Frequent Confession. The pastors who have not reduced the times for Confession lament they sit in the confessional for 2 hours and hardly any penitents come to confess their sins. Few are they who anymore examine their consciences and tremble before God.
Rarely mentioned in most homilies these days are the sins of contracepting, abortion, sodomy, adultery, fornication, euthanasia, pornography, immodesty, so why should Catholic laymen think these actions are sinful.
"If any one declare that a man once justified cannot sin again, or that he can avoid for the rest of his life every sin, even venial, let him be anathema." 
As some priests convinced themselves that there was nothing wrong with sexual immorality, these perhaps once holy men lost their clear disposition for the horror of sin. In their denial of their own immoral sins, these priests wrongly influence many by what they fail to preach on morality.
The orthodox priests who do teach moral truths often hear from complaining parishioners who do not want to hear about sin and hell. As a result, these secular humanists, in denial of their sins, protest to the priests bishop, "Father So-and-So is too harsh. He makes us feel guilty. We want to feel good about ourselves."
The devil is never absent from those that draw near death. The Prince of Darkness increases his efforts in our final hours, tempting us to sin in presumption of having gained heaven, to cleave to the world in a sinful manner, to despair of Gods Mercy, or to deny the existence of hell.
For those who question the existence of Hell, let us read the following testimony of Sister Lucia.
On July 13, 1917, during the Fatima apparitions, [visions and messages approved by the Church], the Blessed Mother showed the young three children, Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco, a vision of hell. Here is the vision in Sister Lucias own words written while she was a professed nun in l942.
"The vision of hell Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth.
Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us [young Lucy, Jacinta and Francisco] and made us tremble with fear.
The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent.
This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition [May 13, 1917], to take us to heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror. We then looked up at Our Lady who said to us so kindly and so sadly, You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go."
By Barbara Kralis
Here, below, is a popular Bishop Sheen vignette on this subject.
(Read, "Denying our Sins Part Two" next week.)
By Bishop Fulton J. Sheen
This is a story about a girl. I received a call from two little girls who came to the rectory, to go immediately to an apartment house near the Hudson River. And they said,
"Kitty is dying."
"Who is Kitty?"
They said, "Dont you know Kitty? Everybody knows Kitty."
I inquired about her illness and the little girls said, "Shes dying."
I took the Blessed Sacrament and holy oils. I climbed up five dingy flights of stairs to one of the dirtiest rooms that I was ever in. Meat, fat, papers, rags were all over the floor. And over in the corner lay a dirty cot and this young girl on it. She was very sick.
"Are you Kitty?"
"Yes, everybody knows me."
"Kitty, would you like to make your peace with the good Lord?"
"No, I cant, because Im the worst girl in the city of New York."
"No," I said, "youre not the worst girl in the city of New York because the worst girl in the city of New York says shes the best girl in the city of New York."
I begged and pleaded with her to go to Confession and she said, "No, I cant. Im too rotten."
She said, "Look at my arms, all black and blue. That is from my husband. I dont bring in enough money from the streets and he beats me. Now hes poisoned me and Im dying of poison."
I rehearsed for her the parables of our Blessed Lord and, finally, she went to Confession. But, I had not anointed her because it took so long to convince her of Gods Mercy and the poison was getting into the different areas of the brain. And, as it did, she seemed to have the impression of losing the external organs.
For example, she would reach for her ear and say, "Mother, heres my ear, you keep it when Im gone."
And, there was a girl that came into the room. Kitty begged to give up her life by saying,
"Here, Ann, heres my eye. And, heres my tongue, you keep that."
I realized, then, that she was very serious, and I anointed her and immediately she was all right. Then, I said,
"Sorry, Kitty, youre back in this world again."
"Yes, just to prove that I can be better," she said.
So, she became an apostle among the very people with whom she worked. And, I would be hearing Confessions on a Saturday night; I would open the slide,
"Father, I am the girl that Kitty told you about."
"Father, I am the boy that Kitty told you about."
One night Kitty came to the rectory and said,
"I have a girl who committed murder."
"Where is she?"
"Shes in the Church."
"No, the Church is locked," I said.
"Well, she is across the street, then, seated on the stoop."
So I went to the door and called her over and in a short time she went to Confession.
That was the way that Kitty continued to exercise the apostolate of Mercy, after having been forgiven.
Now, we all have enjoyed this Mercy. We are the most fortunate people in the world because when we are burdened, we can go to the good Lord and receive an external sign that is needed. An external sign that we have been forgiven.
Sin is not the worse thing in the world. The worse thing in the world is the denial of sin.
If I am blind and deny there is any such thing as light, will I ever see? If I am deaf and deny there is any such thing as sound, will I ever hear? And, if I deny that I am a sinner, how can I ever be forgiven?
So, worse than sin is the denial of sin, which is our modern attitude toward life.
If then your soul is burdened, take it to the Lord in Confession. He died for you. He will forgive you.
And, just as there is hardly anything more refreshing than a good bath, so there is nothing spiritually more refreshing than absolution. The beauty of it is that we can start all over again.
The Lords Mercy is unlimited, but we just have to have trust in Him. So, I will leave you this consoling thought. If you had never sinned, you never could call Jesus, Savior.
Thank you and God love you. 
Always a timely reminder.
The author touches on this, but really doesn't expand on it - what has been lost is sorrow for sins. In recent conversation with some fellow Catholics, that has become pretty apparent. "Why should I confess it as a sin when I don't feel bad about it and know I will do it again." The sorrow is gone.
I've certainly noticed this trend over the past few decades from praying for the soul to praying to the soul of the recently departed. Amazing how now everyone goes to Heaven .. like THAT.
As to the glories of the Eucharist; as to the Sacrifice of the New Testament/the Mass, as to the effects of Grace in the soul...well, one didn't get much of that from our Priests and Nuns who ran CYO... The focus was nearly 100% negative. Don't do this...don't do that...kissing for 10 seconds is a mortal sin... (I am not making this one up. that's a quote from a Nun)
Once I became a parent, and a member of a private group of Christian men who weekly met for prayer and reflection, we all decided to adopt a different approach. We rejected the approach based upon Evil and we adopted the approach of teaching Christianity to our children beginning with the idea of Happiness, not sin; Goodness, not evil; Chastity/Purity, not pollution and disease. Now, that doesn't mean we rejected sin and its consequences, we just had other truths as our initial focus.
All our Children are regular Communicants at their Parishes all over the U.S. One is currently on the way to becoming a Legionaire of Christ, another a member of the FFSP.
Your results may very :)
"If everyone lit just one little candle, what a bright world it would be."
Thanks NYer, nice article.
I think a lot of cradle catholics our age (I am 40) can emphathise with that story that you told. It is unfortunate that we lived in such a time where Jansenism was still rampant among some priests and nuns. Fortunately, we have moved away from the negative and the pendulum has swung back to look at the positive aspects of Catholicism - that God made creation good, to be enjoyed. That obeying rules and regulations is not what Christianity is about, but about love - and all the rest follows from this love.
The Holy Spirit is working in us, brother.
And God saw all the things that he had made, and they were very good.
sorry about the double post.
no fair. you posted twice to me then apologized to yourself :)
My most sincerest apologies for both the double post and for apologizing to myself.