“The world will be changed by your ex- ample, not by your opinion.” -Paulo Coehlo

A World Without Pity

Back in the day when I was teaching, I often told my students when we were studying the Sacrament of Reconciliation that they do not want to live in a world without mercy, a world without pity. That is a place where you will lose. Big time.

Actually, everyone loses. Big time.

Think this all the way through. Without mercy, none of my family would ever talk to me again. I have certainly done something over the past 65 years to tick them off (probably more than once). Few if any of my students, few if any of my parishioners would have anything to do with me. And my friends? Non-existent.

Archbishop Carlson used to say that we live in a world that permits everything and forgives nothing. Is there a truer statement about our modern cancel culture? It is especially aggravating to think that someone could do something when they were a teenager that people would still hold them responsible thirty, forty, fifty or sixty years later. Certainly, the sins we commit can have some long term ramifications. I am not suggesting that there is no responsibility what- soever. However…and I address anyone over the age of 35…would you want people judging you today for something that you said or wrote when you were 16? Yikes. Thank God social media did not exist in 1974.

A World without pity? A World without mercy? Uh, no thanks.

I do like living in a world where Buddy Hackett and the Buddha think alike.

“Don’t carry a grudge. While you are holding a grudge, the other person is out dancing.” -Buddy Hackett

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” –the Buddha

“Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.” -Unknown

The flip side of a world without pity is that we also can become trapped in our own anger, bitterness and re- sentment. This never ends well either. I once talked to a person who was deeply angry at her father. She shook as she spoke. The bitterness in her heart was alarming. Over and over, I told her to try to talk it out with her dad, write him a letter, call, do something.

Her rage was eating her up inside and was destroying her spirit. “I CAN’T!” she screamed at me. “Give it a try,” I said, “you never know.” “IT WON’T WORK! I CAN’T!!” “Why?” I asked.



In the brilliant film, Dead Man Walking, a Catholic reli- gious woman Sr. Helen tells Matthew, a man who is about to be executed, this: there are places of sorrow only God can touch. This is why we need the Sacra- ment of Reconciliation, this is why we have to break out of the World Without Pity.

This month all of our Day School and PSR students have been given the opportunity to go to Confession. I have been in other Catholic grade schools and high schools celebrating the Sacrament. Hearing confes- sions, celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation is not a chore for me at all.  In truth, it is invigorating and life-giving for me. Furthermore, it is a bold stand against the heartless, merciless, deeply angry world we live in. Truly, a World Without Pity.

How long has it been since you have been to the Sac- rament? As the song says: “Don’t let fear keep us apart.” Besides our regular time on Saturday, we will have special times for Reconciliation on Tuesday and Thursday night the week before Christmas, December 20 and 22 from 7 pm until 9 pm (or until we finish). And if you think you don’t need it, well… think again.

We all need it. We all seek to be set free from the dark and despicable World Without Pity.

Father Kevin

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