Forgive Me Father I Have Sinned

Most everyone recognizes this Confessional Prayer. Catholic or not, most people can relate to the disappointing fact we all fall short. As one priest put it: “None of us is as good as we had hoped to be, but we try; and the trying is called life.”

But have you noticed lately…? All 330 million of us seem to be acting out this Prayer in very public and repetitious ways. We are doing this after virtually every terrorist act…gang violence…school shooting… and other tragic moments of rage. We have become actors in a disaster drama whose action and dialog remain virtually the same, performance after performance.

First there is the crime [the ones that most galvanize us are the random deaths of innocent children]. Next come the hordes of cameras and interviewers who swoop in on all the bloody bodies and weeping survivors they can find. Now come the candle light vigils, the grief counselors,and perhaps the coverage of the local crime by the national media. Hey, if the story has just the right mix of heart-tugging features — beautiful looking victims, weeping families, maybe if we’re lucky some shattered romance in the back story — we might even fly in the networks to shoot a special. Lets by honest — next to cheering on violence, American viewers like nothing better than crying over the violated!

Here’s the point.

All of this — the crimes and the reactions — are not only predictable, but understandable. On the other hand, what some of us don’t understand is how quickly we dry our tears in time to go on to the next story, the next headline. Does this mean we as a society use our tears and vigils mostly to expiate our feelings of guilt, then move on? I rather think so. Moving on is so much easier than sticking to a cause that might actually contain these crimes.

Forgive me Father for I have sinned…..

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