Jesus Sinned?

Deacon Greg and his commentariat are concerned that an alarming percentage of New Jersey Catholics think Jesus sinned. 57 percent is an eye-opener, whether the 1950 level was at eighty percent or twenty-eight or even less. (We don’t know, do we?)

I suspect that some Christians, perhaps with a skewed sense of sin, associate sin with the basic nature of humanity. Jesus was indeed fully human. That does not mean that he sinned, as we believe all but two human beings have done.

I think it no coincidence that the Church calls for adult catechesis in this and other documents. Repeatedly in Church teaching coming from the popes, the curia, and the Second Vatican Council, adults are underscored as the proper first priority. Adults parent children. Adults live lives in the world. We Catholic adults are responsible for continuing Christ’s mission of spreading the faith. Clearly, a focus on children and youth, largely a professional focus delegated from clergy and parents to catechists and school teachers, is not giving us the results we think proper.

It’s perhaps easy for me to say that catechesis in the Church, both before and after Vatican II, has been gravely deficient. It is certainly easy for Catholic bloggers to lament. But with respect to Deacon Greg, his colleagues at Patheos, and many of my friends in the Catholic blogosphere, I have to wonder what the heck they are doing to promote learning. Looking at the main page of the Catholic Channel at Patheos, I  note a Bible study on Mark’s Gospel from Julie Davis and I know Lisa Mladinich’s column Be an Amazing Catechist. Otherwise, many items on spirituality, politics, news commentary, a spot of psychology and history.

Aside from being a parish liturgist and church musician, I do feel committed to faith formation in the Church. It is a commitment I offer my parish (serving this past year as the staff liaison for the Faith Formation Commission), and the Church at large (as a workshop presenter for decades). Many years ago, I made a conscious (more or less) choice to devote a substantial share of the information posted here to church teaching on the liturgy. One son of Vatican II does not redeem the whole blogosphere, or progressive Catholicism, or even the state of catechetical affairs. But I do think it illustrative that the bulk of commentary online blames others, and perpetuates the abdication of direct responsibility in our homes, our workplaces, and yes, even in the blogosphere.

Alas, blame is easier and more enjoyable. And given the comparison of commentary on my document posts with things of a newsy or political nature, I’d say some degree of catechetical avoidance is to be found here, too.

What do you suppose the answer is? Should Catholic bloggers, especially conservative ones, the ones who know Jesus was without sin, be paying more attention to Church teaching? Maybe so.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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3 Responses to Jesus Sinned?

  1. Liam says:

    Well, traditionally in Catholic and Orthodox thought though not necessarily dogma, St John the Baptist and St Joseph have been considered free from actual sin, too.

    That said, the culture of blame-as-witness-and-prophecy seems, at least in the American context, to be ruddered strongly by egoism and self-dramatization (even melodramatization): the sense that *I* am doing something by admonishing sinners and witnessing to the Truth in a Sinful World. People do a twist on the Ignatian method of putting themselves in the Gospels by imagining themselves to be Jesus cleansing the Temple in a fit of Holy Anger(TM), with this image from popular culture often in their minds, it seems:

  2. This was a jocular provocation, yes, Todd?

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