Catholic Culture Dedication
Catholic Culture Dedication

the meaning of lent made plain

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Feb 19, 2008

"I would suggest that we all relax a bit on our Lenten resolutions," rumbled Rembert Weakland in a deplorably ill-timed letter he issued back in March 2002, "The bombardment in the public forum about pedophilia in the Church has provided enough penance for everyone this year."

Lent is a difficult concept if you're a Thinking Catholic, because, well, we're an Easter People, and the very idea of a penitential season is repugnant to the project of self-affirmation you've substituted for that long-passé atonement business. Weakland's protégé Bishop Richard Sklba, stymied by the seasonal theme in preparing his Herald of Hope column, stumbles around in the Lenten Lectionary until he lights on an image he can warm to: water.

Environmentalists rally to object against the modern practice of blithely and constantly (mindlessly?) consuming bottled water which is virtually the same as the good H2O emanating from our kitchen taps and public fountains, and which contributes hundreds of thousands of plastic bottles to the land fills every day. Moralists suggest that the habit may even border on social sin in our more affluent Western culture, and could be the first step toward the eventual privatization of the world's water supply! I share these worries and sentiments, and Lent's annual focus on the life-giving mystery of baptismal water is a good time to say so.

Weakland must be gratified. Someone was paying attention.

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  • Posted by: samuel.doucette1787 - Nov. 02, 2009 2:54 PM ET USA

    Fr Kung: "The pope’s basic message is: “Traditionalists of all churches, unite under the dome of St. Peter’s!” And the problem with that is?

  • Posted by: peggyann - Oct. 30, 2009 11:58 AM ET USA

    ...that they may be one.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 30, 2009 10:29 AM ET USA

    If Kung is so scared, maybe that means it might really happen!!

  • Posted by: unum - Oct. 30, 2009 6:11 AM ET USA

    I will have to reread the account of creation in Genesis. It seems that some theologians believe that God created us progressive and conservative, as well as male and female. Who knew?

  • Posted by: adamah - Oct. 29, 2009 7:45 PM ET USA

    Any possibility we could trade Kung to the Anglicans for their conservative ones?