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Sin Question

A Xt3 Member asked at 6:40pm on September 15th 2018
Father, I'm really having trouble with a situation I just faced in church. It involves my conscience and spiritual warfare. Our priest had just given a powerful homily on making the right decision, life or death, fire or water after a reading prophesying Christ's coming. The priest mentioned facing mocking and opposition when carrying your cross, even from those in your church, mentioning Jesus turning himself from Peter saying Get behind me Satan. The sermon cut to my core and I understood it.

The situation was after however, when the ushers were walking by they passed a lady next to me and she said "Oh Jesus, they always do that." So I had strong feelings about whether or not to say something in my spirit, to make the right decision. At the same time, I felt like I was being rushed and messed with to say something as a Catholic. It's a sin to not correct or rebuke a fellow Christian correct? Saying the Lord's name in vain is one of the 10 commandments so isn't my job to rebuke her? I thought about whether or not she meant it like that and if it was ok. I do not want to be a coward and I would have gently said something but I felt like I was being messed with spiritually. However, I'm not trying to be scrupulous and do right. I'm not supposed to consent with that behavior, right?

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Hi Zachary, what's called 'fraternal correction' is when Christians help one another by noting a defect in their Christian lives. It's often used in spiritual communities where it's seen as an expression of Christian love. And it only works when it's experienced as occurring between people who love one another. In your example, I'd certainly let it go - maybe mention to the usher another time to pay that lady more attention.

The Venerable Pierre Toussaint was given the cold shoulder by an usher in Old St Patrick's Cathedral, NY, and when the Archbishop heard of this he hit the roof as Pierre Toussaint was from Haiti, and while as African American had to walk everywhere, was the most generous contributor to the church. So ushers can make mistakes too!

So, rather than correcting that parishioner, maybe if you get chance you can strike up a friendship with her. Soon to be Pope St Paul VI used to say it's not much of a parish if everyone's down in the register, pay their dues, etc., but aren't living 'where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name' - that is, ready to die for one another - without that, there isn't the true Church. Then Jesus promised us, 'I am there among you.' Very best, and wishing you that beautiful presence of Jesus among you all in your church. Fr Brendan
Xt3's Ask a Priest answered at 9:06pm on September 26th 2018 reply
 

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