On Reconciliation and Penance

What to look at next on this site? I suppose I could focus exclusively on the “Way of Beauty” document from 2006. That will continue daily for an estimated two to three months. It’s a good document; quite interesting. A good companion and follow=-up to Pope John Paul II’s Letter To Artists. I hope y’all are reading along.

I was looking over that list of apostolic exhortations, an overlooked set of documents that followed up the synods of the last half-century. Except perhaps when Pope Francis pokes the bear. These documents have an outsized effect on the Church. Evangelii Nuntiandi, for example, I think is one of the most significant writings to come out since Vatican II, possibly equaling the insights of any of the massive encyclicals that came from Pope Paul VI’s three successors. The only problem is that Roman Catholicism continues with a sense of entitlement and apathy when it comes to the importance of evangelization.

Back to that list, I was struck by 1984’s Reconciliatio et Paenitentia. It’s a massive 30,000 words, including footnotes. Perhaps that document is done a disservice by the pope’s clamping down on Penance form III. It’s not the only liturgical moment in the piece. And liturgy is a prime interest here, even if it’s shared a seat with other concerns as of late.

The Holy Father takes a piercing look at the phenomenon of sin in the world. I’m interested in seeing how the synod and its follow-up document have fared in the last four decades. The Church’s mission has been hampered by sin and scandal in our midst. It’s been less about the bogey-figures of 1978-2013, and more about the institution. A lot of questions. How do we move forward?

If I do start this document, it will like be in a week or so.

Australian Tom Roberts‘ aptly titled “Reconciliation,” above right, I’m considering for a visual “marker” on this. What do you make of the painting?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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