Catholic furore

To spill some pixels on yet another comment on the issue, I would like to mention something which is rather sadly absent. It strikes me that many of the press releases and those of the Catholics' comments that are posted tend to emphasise what they have done. In the Times, we read that the Catholics in Britain are free from this problem because effective safeguards were put in place years ago, and that the Irish would be alright if they came clean and did the same.

This is exactly how I instinctively try to manage my sin too. When I am grossly immoral, I feel contrite, then tend to go straight to thinking how I can root out the sin, make sure it does not happen again, and get back in the position of being an upstanding citizen. However, this is exactly what we are told is wrong. The response to sin should never be go straight to showing how we can (or already have) solved the problem, but to actually receive grace and beg to be freely received, not tomorrow once we have had a clear day, but right now, before the sun sets, on the basis of Christ's completed work.

For the Catholics, as part of that process, some organisation will set in and the church can put some structures in place as part of their ongoing love for Christ's service, but sadly they have failed to be counter-cultural enough to get this into the papers. All the reports focus on the secondary response. Even though the Catholics must realise that they can already be saved from whatever happened through their initial and continuing profession of faith, before a single meeting or consultation, if they are clear on this, they have not communicated it.

So, the world needs to understand the basis of our communion with God. In addition, there is the question of how the church tries to gain the trust of the world. Firstly, of course, the best way is to do good deeds before the pagans. When that fails though, I think the principle must apply that what is good enough for God is good enough for our confession to the world. So, even if our response before God is right, the church is not finished until it is on the same basis, grace, that the trust of the world is won back, not by confessing works to win the favour of anyone.

Having said that, a few more good reparations might help!