Misuse of language

There is a subtle difference between guilt and shame. We ignore it today. Both involve “feelings,” which is good enough for us. For guilt, we must do something wrong. Infamy, disgrace, shame, is getting caught, whether we did it or not. And shame can be shared. The idea of “collective guilt” is rubbish. You either did it or you didn’t. It has naught to do with your precious self-esteem. Guilt requires atonement. Shame is just a form of social conditioning, that doesn’t seem to work any more. There is more, but let that stand as the start for some other essay.

Gentle reader may be aware that I have taken, and take, a dim view of old hack journalists (including, shamefully, myself). But I also feel a great affection for them. The older the flatfoot, the better. There was a time when most were at least fairly honest, before something resembling ideology swept the trade, and journalists became willing slaves to the “politically correct” conventions. I think of Charles Lewis, for instance.

“Charlie,” as he is known, spent decades filling the spaces between the advertisements in daily papers. He has a gift for plain prose and the telling detail, which puts him in the ninety-ninth percentile. He has principles, which are essentially Catholic. Latterly he became the religion reporter for the National Post, until disabled by his spine a few years ago. Rising through prayer above the question of excruciating pain (“Why me?”) he has since devoted his talents to the fight against “euthanasia.”

Lots of things drop into my inbox, but I found this item (here) exceptionally invigorating. Lewis comes to terms with polls that show the great majority of people who self-identify as Catholics — in Canada, as elsewhere through the contemporary West — have no idea what the faith entails. In Canada, for instance, the most recent poll showed seven in ten Catholics support “euthanasia” — a position that is absolutely impossible for a Catholic to take. Rather than quibbling with the way the question was phrased, or the counting was done, Lewis accepts the reality behind the numbers, and the implication.

If we do not get our house in order, our influence on the society around us will continue to be nil.

The great majority of Catholics today, half-a-century after the Church embraced modernist innovations, are not really Catholic. They pretend to belong, and the Church pretends to accept them. They have never been catechized, and live in a state of moral, intellectual, and spiritual squalor. Few ever see the inside of a church, let alone the inside of a confessional. None in this state should be taking communion, for it can only compound their sins.

Lives and immortal souls are at stake: we must stop being nice about it. Bishops who can’t handle the heat of the front line, should find other jobs. We must all stop blathering pretty lies about “mercy,” and start telling people the truth. Christ came to save us. He did not come to approve our life choices.

And as for the people, it would be useless to “shame” them. Guilt is the issue. Either be Catholic, and throw yourself on the mercy of Our Lord. Or, stop abusing the term.