November 10, 2011

Benedict XVI on Suppressed Guilt

Over the last two days covering parish-priest duty as part of my new found employment, I had the chance to do a lot of random reading. One of the things I read was this volume of Benedict XVI's catechetical talks on creation and the fall, which one of the brothers lent me so long ago that I have forgotten whom it was.

Here's one of my favorite parts:

"Thus sin has become a suppressed subject, but everywhere we can see that, although it is suppressed, it has nonetheless remained real. What is remarkable to me is the aggressiveness, always on the verge of pouncing, which we experience openly in our society--the lurking readiness to demean the other person, to hold others guilty whenever misfortune occurs to them, to accuse society, and to want to change the world by violence. It seems to me that all of this can be understood only as an expression of the suppressed reality of guilt, which people do not want to admit." (63)

So, if I want to become more charitable and less aggressive, more peaceable and less violent, the first step is to confess my own guilt and surrender to the forgiveness of sin we have in Christ. If I don't let God heal me of the hatefulness of sin, my self-hate will only come out in further disregard and contempt for others. It is by the experience of the God who loves the sinner in Christ that I can learn to love my fellow sinner.


Rachel said...

That reminds me strongly of the writing of J. Budziszewski on "The Revenge of Conscience"... how our suppressed knowledge of guilt lashes out in different ways.

We have a brilliant thinker and teacher for a Pope. :)

Lee Gilbert said...

This reminds me....Our pastor told of a mother who when she saw her children bickering with one another would get them all off to Confession so she could have some peace in the house.

Greg said...

Have been rewriting Taming the Wolf, doing a 2nd edition polish, and just yesterday I finished a section that notes a similar theme in conflict resolution — the overly angry party is often suffering from guilt.

There is a twist on it that I bring up... the reaction is usually out of control when the guilty party does not know if their transgressions have been discovered. Do they know? Or do they not know?

Perhaps angry ex-Catholics suffer from this painful condition...did they find out, or did they not find out?