Sunday, January 02, 2011

Sin against the Holy spirit

The following is a synopsis of a bulletin insert entitled "Those Who Defend Evildoing," by Fr. Robert D. Smith:
... It is possible to think of a sin against the Holy spirit, the sin which Christ says will never be forgiven (Matt. 12:32), as an obscure and rare sin ... But is it really so rare?

What is it? Christ identifies it quite clearly. It relates essentially to a commitment to identifying a good action as having an evil source or else evil actions as having a good source ....

... The person who defends his own sins in a public way in conversation of some kind, is often admitting not just the sin but also that he is committing a sin against the Holy Spirit. What we hear most often is not a statement such as "I arranged for an abortion. I know it is wrong, but I did it out of human weakness." No, rather we often hear, "I arranged for an abortion and did so out of the goodness of my heart to help those close to me and to help humanity." ...

What such a person is defending is what Christ Himself identifies as a sin against the Holy Spirit. "Adulterous conduct, fornication, stealing, false witness, blasphemy" do not come from a good heart, but "make a man impure" (Matt. 15:18-20). Such actions by no means constitute evidence of goodwill.

This is why all sin is so dangerous. And any delay of repentance leads strongly away from the initial sense of wrongdoing, into the increasing, naturally human conviction that one must, after all, still mean well even in the sin itself. The person who does not go this far and who keeps his sense of his own wrongdoing has retained a strong position from which to repent. Not so with the person who has allowed himself to slip into the kind of self-righteousness which involves calling himself good for his very evil acts themselves.

Can it be that when Christ dispatches His angels on Judgment Day to gather all evildoers to hurl them into the fiery furnace (Matt. 13:41-42), it will turn out that many if not most of these evildoers heading directly and headlong for damnation will have somehow, during life, in addition to their iniquity itself, committed themselves to some kind of sin against the Holy Spirit, become involved long-term in the defense of their evildoing as good?




I am glad you posted about this. Not only is the "Sin against the Holy Spirit" a little discussed thing amongst Catholics, but you took it a step further and explained how it might not be in fact, all that rare.

Ralph Roister-Doister


"I arranged for an abortion and did so out of the goodness of my heart to help those close to me and to help humanity." ...

The person who would say this and mean it has has thrown away any concept of sin to begin with. No surprise, given the scandalous sort of "catechising" in most parishes and schools today.

But "sin against the Holy Spirit" is an interesting idea, given all the claims that certain Catholics have made to direct access to the Holy Spirit, even in matters that go well beyond dogma and doctrine -- or, in matters of dogma and doctrine, that vary significantly from what has been laid down over the centuries, and is now claimed to have "evolved" [or, more slinkily, to have been "more fully" explicated] lately into something with an acceptably contemporary bouquet.



As it has been explained to me, the reason God cannot forgive sin against the Holy Spirit is because He forgives the sins of the penitent -- but it is impossible to turn from one's sin and to turn to the good if one believes that sin is good or that good is bad.