michellestockman.com bupropion induced anxiety cymbalta side effects in dogs woodmizer.org.pl haltner.com importance of lok adalat how to stop insomnia from paxil how many 800 mg neurontin to get high another name for septra ds wallflore.co.uk zoloft 20 mg what is doxycycline used for in dogs zovirax 400 mg for posion ivy zovirax opary viagra india online cialis causes headaches cannot take propecia for life femara adet hashtonim.com can metoprolol tablets cause miscarriage dostinex associato a cialis nexium kosher kegunaan obat dexamethasone 0 5mg wellbutrin street use cialis taken with pine apple juice clomiphene 3 day metformin balding can i use a suboxone clonidine and hydroxyzine together carvedilol hexal 12.5mg why do smokers take flagyl going from wellbutrin sr to bupropion xl nijkerkerveen.com uncn.org amoxicillin 500 mg cap 825 clomiphene citrate 50 mg et posologie can i take mobic for back pain wellbutrin xl 300 mg efectos secundarios digoxin zero order myexactamundo.com badcyclopedia.com add amoxicillin to formula bupropion 4 generic coumadin clinics in atlanta nlpcloud.net misoprostol after 72 hours ativan and valtrex banganderson.co.uk has anyone died from taking a zpack and lexapro mycities.com.au beda ketoconazole dan miconazole time of day to take paxil atarax medication get you high buspar and cough syrup synthroid replacement dosage how to improve your ed without using viagra 500 milligrams of bactrim boredstop.com hashtonim.com half life of clomiphene citrate time amoxicillin take effect for uti sildenafil generic pfizer generic vardenafil in the u.k buy doxycycline london what happens if i forget to take my wellbutrin quanto costa diflucan 150 mg candida cuanto cuesta el bupropion what is meant by invigorate plavix tca webfin.pl cialis daily use one time prednisone and smoking cat doxycycline 100mg dosage 2016filmleri.org cost for 30 day cialis prescription for bph wpmodder.com hbtaoxian.com tamsulosin 1a pharma 0 4 mg precio montelukast colombia buy cheap cipro ip4b.de lopressor 5 mg iv indications metro2034.pl medicadent.ru muslimdate.com fungus cream lamisil active ingredient zoloft together with elivel user rating dose of metformin for ovulation viagra y asma valtrex heal time zyprexa relprevv formulation principen om riskspridning walan.com vintagevideo.co.uk flagyl and sun exposure hashtonim.com tamoxifen citrate pct for sale plavix 80 mg pret nazilliescortbayan.com carrepairmanualdoc.com lesofat and xenical prices at mercury drugstore alhafeer4dev.sy norweco singulair control center when to start cialis after prostatectomy artdecade.com hnsuresh.com dutasteride and vision ip4b.de viagra levitra confronto rheumatoid arthritis in dogs prednisone can amoxil 500mg and flagyl cause miscarriage chlorthalidone with thyroxine interaction how to taper prednisone 50 mg for dermatitis beribak.com order azithromycin for chlamydia generic isoptin propranolol migraine apa itu atarax hydroxyzine insideinsights.net should women take levitra montelukast efectos indeseables voltaren ec 75 mg uses canine influenza doxycycline western-showline.de fluconazole dosing hepatic impairment ivermectin for cats for lice dosage ambien seroquel together albuterol tablets without perscription cialis stripes online kaufen wat doet xenical 11 days late on clomid does tetracycline work for folliculitis can you mix rizatriptan with ibprophin clomiphene manufacturer levothyroxine 150 mcg weight loss warchiwach.pl generic lipitor glass shards khasiat obat vibramycin telmisartan 80 mg hydrochlorothiazide 25 mg nitroglycerin cream for sale cytotec en colombia neiva taking valtrex without having herpes mycontradictions.com aspen fluconazole 200 mg side effects nizoral corta o efeito do anticoncepcional no1fl.com zofran 8 mg pregnancy on lowest dose of neurontin nightanddaysoireeanimation.com bupropion gout ventolin adagol?sa gyerekeknek proventil inhaler buy online azithromycin 3 day im-still-learning.com can metformin raise pulse rate celexa 80 mg morbidoutlook.com esperal disulfiram hopemedicaleducation.com catholic.net price of generic wellbutrin without insurance mycontradictions.com how effective viagra hoe stoppen met cymbalta metformin kontraindikation gfr cialis prices price how much potassium to give with 40 mg lasix cara efektif pemakaian cytotec fibromyalgia quetiapine zyprexa 20 mg posologie euphytose atarax will amoxicillin help boils is bayer ciproxin gluten free tamsulosina clorhidrato 400 mcg cyproheptadine side effects in adults jakarta indonesia zithromax najlepszykredytmieszkaniowy.com.pl vbtube.com buy viagra checkout with paypal cine a slabit cu xenical can you insert metronidazole pills in vagina warfarin 2c9 morbidoutlook.com muteber.com is cialis a prescription in argentina buying cheap acyclovir cream online nijkerkerveen.com mikezielinski.com levothyroxine same as synthroid nightanddaysoireeanimation.com how long does metronidazole 200 mg stay in system celebrex with cialis cabergoline australian customs doxycycline side effects back pain can lose dose erythromycin cause weight gain afsvc.com pastillas cytotec mercadolibre venezuela citalopram winthrop 20mg generic tablrys side effects of lisinopril back ache does cialis help erectile dysfunction cialis ?retim yeri prednisone price in india what is the drug methocarbamol used for azithromycin price canada clozapine online woodmizer.org.pl fasigyn 500mg tinidazole viagra for other purposes how long di i take metronidazole how much does topiramate cost in uk money mechanism.of cyproheptadine in migraines lotensin generic equivalent mobicom branch can i use ciprotab and doxycycline during my mesuration ce sunt pastilele viagra cellulite dentaire flagyl blue coating on viagra estradiol and progesterone levels during pregnancy para que sirve la pastilla de celebrex can cialis have a reverse effect isotretinoin causing eczema doxycycline used for periodontal disease can i take maxalt with mucinex what is cialis benicar hct 40 12.5 mg need prescription to buy viagra in bangalore bactrim rash how long gabapentin oder lyrica opis depresionen metoprolol heart med napabusinessadvantage.com worldwide-yacht-charter.com escitalopram 30 mg side effects centrifuge allegra x 22r estradiol level 4000 carvedilol purchase cialis with out a prescription his ans hers viagra while takingfluconazole can you masterbate napabusinessadvantage.com thefresnocojail.com adv-re.com overdose on 200 mg quetiapine is levothyroxine toxic amoxicillin syrup mox how much mg for 18 months old kid napabusinessadvantage.com will 100mg quetiapine kill a dog prednisone and nyquil interaction how long it takes for cialis to respond should you alway take two doses of fluconazole tomar viagra afecta los ri?ones celebrex before surgery long term doxycycline and birth control metspirit.com nlpcloud.net no1fl.com clomid assisted pregnancy ampicillin optimum temperature viagra online india pharmacy prednisone 20mg for 7 days vaistas quetiapine ampicillin for dogs doxycycline action trade and generic name strattera side effects for adults kegunaan obat flagyl benzoyl metronidazole association-secours-sante.cm thyroxine breast milk olanzapine withdrawal symptoms top 10 brand of telmisartan in india association plavix et aspirine glucophage xr for sale prednisone 20 mg burst and taper how long can i take accutane acyclovir leukemia baixan.com fluconazole dosing toenail fungus reviews of paxil for anxiety mebletmd.pl irontownmodular.com quanto dura effetto viagra prednisone serum creatinine gabapentin 300mg price what are the side effects of tamsulosin hcl ciprofloxacin dosing renal impairment hedleyenterprises.co.uk when you get off wellbutrin can it cause nerve damage mycontradictions.com hnsuresh.com citalopram hydrobromide to get high zyprexa zydis zyprexa muscle enzyme test lipitor michellestockman.com meloxicam anticonceptivos 30mg precio valaciclovir actavis or valtrex adv-re.com flagyl monodose uniquesarawak.com treatment for side effects of azithromycin mister-button.de can fluconazole affect ovulation buy flagyl us myexactamundo.com taking ibuprofen lisinopril and lorazepam orlistat quem ja usou kamagra oral jelly 100mg side effects should i take zoloft for panic attacks ansbach-direkt.de levofloxacin 750 mg tablet untuk apa kamagra kontraindikacije accessory-shop-frank.com how much does a 90 day supply of 40mg nexium cost wellbutrin warfarin does griseofulvin contain acetaminophen lasix safe in pregnancy erythromycin 250 mg oral suspension cuanto cuesta el micardis 30mg cyproheptadine hydrochloride infants can 600 mg of gabapentin make pain worse amoxicillin 1000 could i use clomid with pregnacare conception amoxil 500mg chest infection bactrim forte 5 days flagyl 400 used for maxalt taken food cheap cialis articles dieting while on synthroid glucophage metformin 850 mg for menstruating can seroquel cause stuttering priligy 60 mg opinioni canciones viagra escitalopram actavis 40 mg pamelor substancia quanto costa il cialis 5mg arinijayapress.com 007 james bond viagra vytorin vs lipitor vs crestor revopac.com banganderson.co.uk amlodipine day or night quetiapine fumarate for sale atarax posologia vidal can i take celexa with elavil napahappy.com can synthroid cause miscarriage lipitor throwing up autocleaninglaundry.com diet pill redux kegunaan hervis acyclovir cozaar price comparison flagyl oral suspension buy online weltrowska.com.pl tofranil 10 mg buy on line amoxicillin 500mg dog human clomid increase my sperm count irtech.com.pl novaisi.com wast.org.uk nexium producator name of generic bactrim antibiotic cream valerato de estradiol 4 mg a1commerce.com proper dosage of erythromycin generic for azithromycin 250 mg vollemaan.org ambien side effects effects on erectile dysfunction estradiol to induce period how many weeks can a pregnant women take diflucan napahappy.com what happens if a teen girl takes viagra accessory-shop-frank.com online paypal kamagra olanzapine side effects skin artdecade.com lisinopril ibuprofen quetiapine side effects uk wbstaffing.pl apartamenty-kasztelanskie.pl nightanddaysoireeanimation.com order cozaar forzest ranbaxy how to buy cialis on line in canada celebrex urine smell mildreddeskinsjewelry.com imajji.com efectos secundarios del cialis de 5 mg levothyroxine disadvantages meastcompany.com is famciclovir a antibiotic busy-autokary-wynajem.pl much does cardizem cost can you get high off buspirone 30 mg fluconazole and nystatin oral suspension for treatment bt.sklep.pl clomid drug store el orlistat es una anfetamina is it safe to take amitriptyline with clenbuterol flagyl solning 40mg lexapro for postpartum depression wowhomes.biz boredstop.com morbidoutlook.com cipla diflucan how long does an erection last for while on cialis extended clomid protocol hortexpo.com vintagevideo.co.uk generic atorvastatin cost misoprostol cuanto cuesta en la farmacias en argentina caribdate.com singulair v cortisol does 25mg of seroquel cause weight gain meastcompany.com buy verapamil online irontownmodular.com citalopram with seroquel harelitasarim.com bactrim philippines celebrities wellbutrin does methocarbamol mess you up aciclovir na gravidez herpes labial is generic synthroid okay what is street value for a 10mg buspirone hcl bezpieczne-nawierzchnie.pl bactrim at walmart combining wellbutrin with ssri diffuse hair loss finasteride prednisone dosage limits what is the difference between lyrica and cymbalta wellbutrin to start working side effects of clomide symptoms for metformin citalopram price canada cymbalta reviews by women can i buy montelukast 10mg tablets i canada how long does lexapro stay in your system drug test vikipedija lamisil once mast mirtazapine withdrawal schedule spironolactone hair growth women cialis brand vs generic propranolol lek metformin and epidural injections websitedesignportcharlotte.com precio cialis argentina where to get kamagra in manchester does prednisone cause hunger in dogs with cancer wellbutrin not working after 4 weeks does chantrix help with depression and appiete control harelitasarim.com metoprolol biofarm how long does zofran take to work can u drink with valtrex en cuantas horas reacciona misoprostol how many cytotec need for 16 weeks for abortion ok for a man to take propecia trying for a baby heartsdirect.co.uk metformin januvia combination delayed drug reactions and bactrim ansbach-direkt.de viagra otc san diego atarax dose for 16 month old. 25 pounds can premarin .625 mg help to better uterus prolapse zoloft shelf life zyprexa 20 im-still-learning.com kegunaan obat flagyl forte 500 mg buy doxycycline rx henrycavillfan.org hbm.org.pl prochlorperazine and ondansetron how long does it take azithromycin powder to work en iyi cialis hangisi buy cheap synthroid online no prescription tab ivermectin cuanto cuesta misoprostol en farmacias del ahorro houseontheisland.com fact premarin quit zoloft.cough private viagra precscriptions at asda cgtheink.com infections treated by flagyl kesan ubat dostinex strengths for lexapro healthylifestyleart.com paxil teva buy lek zoloft kako deluje valtrex cold sore treatment dosage best alternative to viagra lasix in the prehospital setting proscar 5 mg itl msds of esomeprazole potassium storage clomid price in rupee mynitor.com metformin for pcos no period haltner.com celticdan.com sba for ciprodex wellbutrin 450 vs 300 upperbe.it renal stonefurosemidemg taking cipro and caffeine amisulpride plus olanzapine

Is “Catholic Guilt” Bad? What About Those Who Use It to Criticize the Church?

Father John Bartunek explains how thinking of "Catholic guilt" takes the focus away from the transforming power of Christ’s saving grace.
by Father John Bartunek, LC | Source: Catholic.net

magdalen cleaning Jesus feet with hairQ: Father John, I know more than a few people who are fallen-away Catholics. They make fun the Church sometimes, or they make fun of me. But my question has to do with “Catholic guilt.” They mention this sometimes and smirk, like it’s some kind of inside joke on me. I am not sure what they mean by this, but I have a sense that it’s holding them back living their faith. I would like to be able to help them. Can you give me any direction?

A: This is not uncommon, and I think your instinct is right; their joking about “Catholic guilt” may actually be a providential opportunity. I will share some thoughts, hoping that you can use them to spark a fruitful, healing conversation the next time one of your friends takes refuge behind this rhetorical shield.

A Critique of the Critique

Some people who have left the Church (actively or passively) use the concept of Catholic guilt to help justify their exit. They explain that as they grew up in the Catholic Church, they were constantly badgered about sin, and were taught that God is angry and vindictive, watching over our every move, just waiting for a chance to catch us doing wrong and condemn us. This negative view of God and religion stifled their spiritual growth, they go on to say. They didn’t think it was healthy, or fair, and they didn’t like it, so one Sunday they walked out the doors of their parish Church after Mass and simply didn’t come back.

In one sense, this evaluation of the Church’s view on sin is correct: the Catholic Church is energetically against sin. We believe that sin is real, destructive, and to be avoided at all costs. Jesus even said we should cut off our hand or gouge out our eye if they caused us to sin (see Mark 9:38-50). (By the way, he didn’t mean that literally – after all, how can our hand or eye “cause” us to sin? Sin is always a free choice of our will against God’s will, and those choices stem from our heart.) Sin is the number one enemy of God and the human race, and so it is also the number one enemy of each one of our lives, the biggest obstacle to the happiness and fulfillment we crave.

But the next part of the fallen away Catholic’s critique isn’t so obvious – the part about God being constantly angry and our spiritual lives being stunted by guilt. In fact, that critique comes from a misunderstanding of what the Church teaches about guilt. If we can have in our minds the right understanding of guilt, we may be able to avoid straying off the good path ourselves, and help our wandering brethren come back into friendship with Christ.

Good Guilt

Basically, there are two kinds of guilt: good guilt and bad guilt. To use a rather clumsy analogy, good guilt is like a spiritual nervous system. Our physical nervous system is designed (at least in part) to help us recognize and avoid physical danger. So, for example, when we touch a hot piece of metal, our immediate reaction is to pull away, so we don’t get burned or damaged by it. Or, to take another example, if smoke from a fire seeps into a room, we start finding it hard to breathe; we start coughing. These are signs from our physical nervous system that we better get out of that room before we suffocate. Imagine if your nervous system was malfunctioning, and it wasn’t able to warn you about these kinds of bodily threats – you would be in an extremely dangerous situation.

Well, good guilt, healthy guilt, performs this same function for our souls. Physical health is good for our bodies in the same way as moral health is good for our souls. And moral health means doing good actions and avoiding evil actions. If our conscience is in good condition, it will register guilt when we commit, or toy with committing, evil actions. That guilt is a warning against performing or persisting in evil actions, because committing evil strains or breaks our friendship with God and damages our interior peace and integrity, just as a hot piece of metal will damage our skin and breathing smoke will damage our lungs. In this sense, the Bible’s and the Church’s warnings against sin are not the expressions of an angry and vindictive God. On the contrary, they are a sign of God’s infinite love; he knows that committing evil, even though it sometimes appears to give us a short term benefit, is destructive, both for ourselves and for others.

In fact, the “punishment” for sin isn’t something that God adds on, the way a judge in a court of law sentences a criminal. Rather, it consists precisely in the pain and misery caused by the sin itself; it is the result of the sin – just as the child who plays with knives even when his parents warn him not to suffers pain and misery when he cuts himself. It would be a mean and selfish God that didn’t warn us about the destructive consequences of evil actions. But it is a good and wise God who has given us the gift of a conscience, which helps us experience good guilt to warn us against committing sins, and to move us to repent if we have committed them.

Bad Guilt

The second kind of guilt is bad guilt. This occurs when we feel guilty without having done anything wrong. This is the kind of unhealthy guilt that can stifle our spiritual and emotional maturity by leading to moral confusion. Unhealthy guilt makes us blame ourselves for things that are not blameworthy, or for things outside the purview of our responsibility. When we do that, we become emotionally and spiritually tangled up, almost paralyzed, because escape from this feeling of false guilt is impossible: we cannot be forgiven for something we were not responsible for, or for something that wasn’t a sin.

Bad guilt becomes like a cul-de-sac; we go round and round in our minds trying to find mercy and a fresh start, but we can’t. It drains our energy and inhibits us from growing in our friendship with God and others, because we don’t feel worthy of their love, and so we keep them at a distance.

Bad guilt can come from at least two sources. First, it can come from not distinguishing between sins and simple mistakes. For example, if I sincerely forget to send my mom a mother’s day card, I may have strong feelings of regret, but I shouldn’t feel morally guilty about it (even if she tries to make me feel guilty) – it was just a mistake, an oversight, not a morally evil act. If, on the other hand, I purposely avoid calling my mom on her birthday because I’m nursing resentment about something she said five years ago and I actually want to make her suffer, then I should to feel guilty; Christians honor their parents, they don’t hold grudges against them.

Second, bad guilt can result from experiencing a defective authority figure (authority figures are supposed to help form our consciences, our ability to identify moral good and evil). This happens often in families that go through a divorce. The pain and conflict between the parents inhibit them from giving proper love and discipline to the children. As a result, the children begin to feel responsible for the problems their parents are having; they blame themselves for the neglect they are experiencing.

Or take the example of an unhappy, angry priest who is in charge of teaching the faith to the children of his parish. Every week he rants and raves about how sinful and evil people are, and how painful the punishments of hell will be. He never speaks about the unlimited mercy of God, which is always ready to forgive us. He never speaks about the goodness of our heavenly Father, who has prepared a place for each one of us in heaven. He never speaks about the wonderful mission that each one of us has received in this life, a mission that only we can accomplish. Instead, he focuses over and over again, week after week, on the fires of hell and the selfish tendencies of our hearts, drilling into the children a lopsided and distorted conception of God, and of themselves. Over time, that can feed bad guilt, an unhealthy feeling of guilt simply for being alive, as if our existence itself were some kind of sin. Nothing is worse for our relationship with God than that. And if someone leaves the Catholic Church because of this kind of experience, it would be unwise, but understandable.

Seeking a Solution

In either case, whether we are dealing with good guilt or bad guilt, the remedy is the same: returning to the loving embrace of God our Father and Christ our Lord. If we are experiencing good guilt, we need to repent and ask for forgiveness and mercy, which Jesus Christ won for us by suffering on the cross. God never runs out of mercy; he is always eager to dish it out. In fact, he invented the sacrament of confession in order to make dishing out his mercy as tangible a thing as possible. If we are experiencing bad guilt, then we need to go to God in prayer, reading and reflecting on the Bible, God’s own Word, which assures us, over and over again, that we are infinitely valuable in God’s eyes, that he is always thinking of us, that we have nothing to fear. Sin is real, and it matters; but God’s mercy is even more real, and it matters more. As the Catechism puts it, “The victory that Christ won over sin has given us greater blessings than those which sin had taken from us” (#420).

I pray that the next time a friend or acquaintance jibes you about Catholic guilt, these ideas will help you speak to them about what they really need to hear: the transforming power of Christ’s saving grace.

Yours in Christ, Father John Bartunek, LC

On the Net:
For more questions and answers on the spiritual life, go to www.rcspiritualdirection.com/blog

Click Here to Donate Now!

Join the new media evangelization. Your tax-deductible gift allows Catholic.net to build a culture of life in our nation and throughout the world. Please help us promote the Church's new evangelization by donating to Catholic.net right now. God bless you for your generosity.




Post a Comment
Write a comment on this article

Email required (will not be published)
required Country

Most Popular