Go here to read an interesting article entitled "A rite that's passing" which appeared in the Boston Globe recently.
The article speaks about a rite that is what is termed "passing" and in a homily given, explored reasons why Catholics no longer go to confession. One veteran priest, who wished not to be identified, said "many catholics today have a more modern view of forgiveness." He admits to: "hardly ever hears confessions-"which I consider the sign of a healthy parish."
According to the article, it was said in VerEecke's sermon, that there is "too much emphasis on love and not on eternal damnation." and..."Fear worked for centuries. It should work again."
I am not shocked to read that a religion allegedly can hold "captive" the mind, and soul of a person by instilling in them "fear." It is what I was exposed to growing up, the fear of punishment. It worked well for my parents, I admit. Yes, it did probably also work for centuries. Control is not a healthy way to nurture as you learn through experience, it drives people away. Maybe that's the reason for the poor attendance and dwindling numbers which reflect many who no longer want to subscribe to or agree with this way of thinking. The area I live in has seen the closing of churches. These churches have softened their hold on communicants from what I remember, years past. Still they are not attending, and most in my generation, had a more liberal view of forgiveness, unlike the strictness my forefathers knew.
Do fear tactics really work on children or people for that matter? Can you really love someone your afraid of? Does Fear of God keep you from a Loving God? Belief in a God who died on the cross for you, but is out to punish you at every whim and is responsible for all the calamities in the world, in my view is irresponsible. Children who grow up with that type of influence leave with bad feelings. Truth has always been known to work better. The God that I know and serve is a "loving God".
(The bible, in 1John4:17-19, taken from the Orthodox Study Bible, clearly answers the question). "Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. (18)There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. (19)We love Him because He first loved us."
If your faith journey is based on force, or fear of damnation, it may be time to reflect the gospel message.
Fear has nothing to do with Love. Love is God. And, perfect love casts out all fear. If your message is based on fear and not on love, you are doomed to fail.
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