“It’s Not My Fault” and Other Legends

Andrea Solario, "Christ crowned with thorns"

“I stopped going to Mass because the priest was not inclusive of my own oh so very sensitive nature”. “I stopped going to confession because I didn’t react what the confessor said to me”. “I will not convert to the Church because you Catholics are all so insensitive you won’t allow me to have my own theology as I’ve always done”.  The list is very long.

You go around the Internet, you read a lot of this: it’s not really my fault, because another made me do it. It seems the culture of refusal of responsibility for pretty much everything (from one’s own sins to one’s own weight) does not stop in front of the keyboard, rather finds a new elan through it.

I profit of this occasion (rather fitting, as Good Friday has just begun) to say for the avoidance of doubt it was my fault when I stopped going to Mass; it was my fault when I stopped going to confession; it was my fault when I refused – or thought I did not need to – seriously examine Catholic teaching. And it was, most grievously, my fault when I refused to face the problem of abortion, thinking I could solve the moral issue just by avoiding it staring at me in the face.

Of course, there are extenuating circumstances. Still,  pretty much everyone has them, most thieves and most prostitutes among them; do we excuse the thief or the prostitute when they tell us “I stole because the priest refused to tell me what a unique and wonderful being I am”, or “I prostituted myself because the priest told me sex outside of marriage is a sin and made me feel a slut”? Thought not…

In my modest opinion, the day we learn to face our faults in this most important of matters (our soul) we have made a great step toward salvation. But please let us stop saying others caused us to do something.

The cause of what we do is always us.


P.s. by the way, it is I who nailed Christ on the Cross. Not physically of course but no, seriously, really, yes it is I. I do it, actually, every day in some way or other. And strangely enough, I can’t even find ways to stop hammering those nails.

Still my fault.

Posted on April 5, 2012, in Catholicism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Simple, yet profound. Thank you.

    Having worked in London for five years for charities serving drug addicts and convicts, I can say honestly that most of my clients, who were simply devout and had a clear knowledge of their sinfulness, tried to stay close to God.

    They had a multitude of excuses, including rape by stepfathers, but would say that it was all thier own fault.

    God bless!

    • Leftfooter, thanks for your beautiful insights.

      A question: do you mean most of your clients were devout in general, or do you mean that among your clients who were devout most said it was their fault? Was it a Catholic charity?

      I read your message and was surprised at reading most drug addicts and convicts try to stay close to God. Would be beautiful to know, though.


  2. Sorry – “their” own fault!

  3. Many were Catholic, and some Muslim, but nearly all were full of shame and a desire to be better and more pleasing to God. They were, I am sure, more pleasing than I am.

    I have somewhere on my blog the tragic story of a young Muslim. When I find it I will send you the link.

    God bless!

  4. Sorry it’s so long, but I can’t do links. You can find it on my WordPress blog.


    Posted on December 1, 2010

    This story is, I believe, completely true, but I do not know how it ended.

    Nine years ago when I was working for a homelessness charity in central London, I was key-worker to a young Muslim resident, aged 17, from a West African country. His parents, who were dead, had been Egyptian shopkeepers in a small town and during the civil war, militia arrived at the shop and told him, “We are going to kill your family, but if you are a brave boy and don’t cry, you can come with us and be a soldier.”

    He was 13 years old.

    He said they butchered his mother, father, and sisters in front of him, he did not cry, and for the next two years, until he was 15, he was an irregular soldier, killing, raping, using drugs, living in terror at what he was doing.

    The most horrible thing he told me was that when they came across a pregnant woman, they would take bets on whether the child was a boy or a girl, and disembowel the woman to settle the matter.

    He cried continually while telling this.

    He escaped and made his way, a long way, to Zimbabwe, where he was cared for by Protestant missionaries who arranged and paid for him to come to London.

    In London, he attended a secondary school in a South London suburb, where he passed his GCSEs while living rough on the streets. I telephoned his former head teacher who confirmed this.

    When I knew him, he was still smoking cannabis, and perhaps sometimes crack cocaine. Without self-pity, he talked mainly about his feelings of remorse and guilt, and how he might atone to God for his wickedness.

    He would not go to a mosque, so I spoke to a helpful mullah on his behalf, who said that God would accept his sorrow and penitence and forgive him. I did not need the mullah to tell me that, but the client did. I am not sure he accepted the assurance.

    Unfortunately the hostel closed and I never heard what happened to him, only that he had been given a flat.

    I regularly pray for him and for so many of my clients (as we called them) from 2000-2005. In some ways they were the most penitent people, always trying and (like the rest of us) often failing to be the people they wanted to be.

    And I cannot imagine them in Hell.

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