If you ever wondered why to go to Mass, read the following:
Out of the mouth of babes comes perfect praise.
One goes to Mass not because one is good, but because one is not.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me a sinner!
It’s precisely the same problem of failure to recognize weakness that goes into many types of “liberation theologies” (my ossified Thomist mind puts “theologies” in quotations because it cannot grasp the possibility of multiplicity in the science of sacred doctrine). Other people will claim things about Jesus: He just comes to change our mindsets! He comes to show us the perfect communist revolutionary!
The problem with all of those is that they ignore the elephant in the room: sin. Original sin, to be precise.
We Catholics do not believe it destroys human nature (contra to Calvin/Luther/Protestantism), but that it seriously wounds nature. Nevertheless, that wounding is a real wound which all of the above “theologies” fail to take into account. Instead, with Pelagius, they say we’ve just had bad examples.
Too many Republicans have been in power, or too many of the bourgeouis, or too many of the religious right, or too many stuck in the “capitalist-totaliarian” machine, etc. etc. That’s why Marxism still hasn’t worked. That’s why my political theory hasn’t yet created a utopia. That’s why I don’t need God.
But it’s never a question of whether the revolutionaries themselves are sinners.
We are all sinners and prone to sin, even if never actually committing sin. We believe, as Catholics, that you CAN avoid sin some of the time and do good things without God’s sanctifying help. But it’s VERY hard, really impossible, for any person to keep themselves unstained by the world for any significant length of time without God’s help.
Instead, we cannot do anything supernaturally good without God’s grace. And even when we cooperate with it (we, as Catholics, firmly believe that God cooperates with us in saving us), it is wholly God’s work through and through.
So, if you ever wondered why I go to Mass (or confession), the answer is simple:
Because I’m not stupid enough to think I’m perfect.
Yours in Christ,
Br. James Dominic, OP