Admonish the Sinner
In a resource entitled, The Blog of a Country Priest: by Fr. John Corrigan, the author acknowledges: “Of all the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, the hardest one I think — the least pleasant one, certainly — is to admonish the sinner.” Yet, he asserts that we cannot embrace some works and ignore others.
Recently, we have heard and seen all too clearly the consequences of remaining silent in the face of great sin—or outright diabolical actions. To speak on this topic to Catholics in the trenches who are striving to live faithfully the content of Faith amidst being scandalized by a substantial absence of good example may strike some as ill timed.
However, in so many crises in the history of the Church, the doggedly persistent fidelity of lay Catholics has led to authentic reform and conversion.
It takes physical strength—and often back-up—for one individual to rescue another person who is in danger of physically perishing. In like manner, in order for us to offer correction to the spiritually erring (who may well be in danger of eternal condemnation if left to a certain pattern of behavior), we need to be building ourselves up spiritually. Prayer, including prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, the practice of fasting, receiving sacramental Confession— these are excellent resources for discerning and purifying our intentions and preparing for our encounter with a fellow sinner.
Ordinarily, within our network of personal relationships, we ought to carry out an admonition in private (Fr. Corrigan states, “Don’t admonish others via Facebook, blog or Twitter!). Yet, it could happen that an instance of sin is so grave, causing such profound scandal, that a pointed public discipline by a person with credible authority is required.
Let us pray for one another, that we may use the present time to undertake the arduous work of interior purification, individually and as a Church. Once again, we call upon Our Blessed Mother to assist us in faithfully loving and serving Christ.
Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears! Turn, then, O most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.