Anthony Esolen’s lament in Crisis Magazine

In Crisis Magazine:

So I am looking at a world in a shambles. We do not have Pharisees who preen themselves for having followed the letter of the law and missed its soul. We have Pharisees who preen themselves for disobeying the law, even the most serious admonitions of the law, even your own clear words on marriage and divorce, while presuming to have discovered a soul-of-the-law whose existence has eluded two thousand years of martyrs, saints, popes, bishops, and theologians. “I thank you, O God, that you have made me a sinner and a publican, and not like these others who set their aim so high.”


It will be said that the one—the unrepentant or semi-repentant sinner, the one who wants to have the faith on his own terms—is “marginalized,” a word I detest, but which may serve my purposes this once. If adults in immoral sexual relationships are “marginalized,” Lord, let me speak up now for people who do not even make it to the margins, for the poorest of the poor, for people who have no advocate at all.


Who speaks for the penitent, trying to place his confidence in a Church that cuts his heart right out, because she seems to take his sins less seriously than he does?

Venturing forth into the margins, my leaders? You have not placed one toe outside of the plush rugs of your comfort. Do so, I beg you! Come and see all those whom the Lonely Revolution has hurt. Leave your parlors and come to the sheepfold!

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2 Responses to Anthony Esolen’s lament in Crisis Magazine

  1. I was one those ‘marginalized’ sinners who had left the church for more than 30 years … when I found that I could NO longer say the following line in the Apostle’s Creed: “I believe in one, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church”. Five years before I finally came back to The Church, I began my journey back to God (I’d never stopped believing that God was real). I watched evangelical programs and, several times, I prayed the “Sinner’s Prayer”, asking Jesus into my life and heart. To make a long story short, after joining a Protestant Church and much Bible reading, etc. for over 2 years, I was in despair over my life’s circumstances and the terrible choices my children were making.
    One night, in deep anguish, I fell to my knees with my head in my hands and cried out to God, asking (really, ‘demanding’) Him to tell me what it was that I had “NOT YET DONE”! In response, I felt what seemed like ‘rough wood’ brushing my fingertips. I raised my head to see what I was touching, and saw Christ on the Cross (life-sized) right there in my room! Jesus looked to be ‘dead’; but suddenly the wound on his side began to drip fresh blood onto my hand, directly below. As I looked, I saw that each drop had one of my sins written on it … sins that had never been acknowledged or confessed; and immediately, water flowed down from the same wound, onto those droplets of blood and washed them away! Immediately, I “knew” that what I had NOT done, was to ‘REPENT’! I sobbed in deep sorrow; and then I heard Jesus say through his dry, cracked lips: “If you had been the ONLY sinner in the whole world, I would have done this … just for YOU!” Over the next 3 years, Jesus ‘shepherded’ me … with His ‘rod’ and ‘staff’ … back to the “Faith of my childhood” … into a church pastored by an amazing priest .. Fr. Bob Bedard (may he Rest in Peace).
    There are so many in the world today … ‘marginalized’ like I was … who desperately NEED God, and the COMPASSION of Godly people, willing and able to tell the WHOLE TRUTH: THAT GOD REALLY DOES LOVE THEM … BUT, THAT REPENTANCE IS NECESSARY!!!

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