Guilt is Good


Anthony Gonzales


One of the many complaints that is  frequently expressed by  traditional Catholics and even Protestants is that our present society has lost a sense of sin and guilt.  In fact, for the last 30 years guilt has been constantly portrayed by the liberal establishment as being  not  only negative but, to their minds, psychologically detrimental to their  all important  concept of "self-esteem".  This bogus principle of self-esteem is so paramount  to  liberal anthropology that, to them,  the only  real "sins" are those that somehow violate  it.  Consequently,  to  feel guilty is a sin in itself  and  should  be avoided at all cost.  Thus millions and millions  of  dollars are spent every year on psychiatrists and psychologists who use modern techniques to convince  their  clients  that  they  should feel good about themselves no matter what  they have done.  The atheistic liberal philosophy believes that the reason for the majority of the world's ills is the low self esteem of those who  inflict  those  ills.  According  to the liberals the criminals  are  just as much victims of society as the victims that  suffer at their hands.  Therefore, they have no reason for guilt;  in fact guilt only exacerbates the problem. The only solution is to try to establish  a  sense of self-esteem within these criminals and according to the liberals, you don't do this by punishing them.


Sadly, this  same  twisted  view  of  reality has  infected  much of the Catholic Church today and has had terrible ramifications for the Faith.  For the liberals within the Church, sin is merely sickness that must be healed psychologically.  This follows their utopian view that man is simply in the process of evolving and will eventually come to the point where these spiritual ills will disappear and he will finally reach the "Omega Point".  In this system of thought where psychology becomes a god there is no room for the self-destructive thought patterns of guilt. These  men  and  women say that in the past the Church was too fond of "laying guilt   trips"  on   people by  judgmental  condemnation   of   sins  which  were  actually  only symptoms  of  low self-worth and negative self-image.  Thus  a  whole new approach  came  into  being  where  the duty of the priest  or spiritual director  was not  to concentrate upon the sin of the penitent and its consequences but  rather  to concentrate upon the "unhealthy" thought patterns  that  were  the  root cause of the negative self-destructive action.  In some cases this went so far as to negate the sin entirely, as in the case of masturbation, where the priest would tell  the penitent  or  even the classroom of young men and women that masturbation was neither bad nor good but just a natural function of the body to release sexual energy. These young men and women are told that to feel guilty over masturbation makes as much sense as feeling guilty over diarrhea.


The Effects


When  determining  whether  or not  the implementation of  a particular philosophical  system has any merit surely 30 years should be enough time to see if it has been successful in achieving its  intended  goal of  a better society.  Once we determine  this we  are  then  capable  of  making  the  necessary decision to either  adopt  this  system universally or to throw it upon the trash heap of history as a failed experiment  in human progress. Has the anti-guilt self-esteem morality, implemented for the last 30 years by the liberals, been successful in its goal of creating a better and more healthy society? Let's look at the facts.




Since 1960 while the population of the United States has increased 41% the number of violent crimes has increased more than 550 percent. Violent crimes include murder, rape, robberies and aggravated assaults.  This translates in raw figures  as  follows: 1960 there were 288,460 violent  crimes committed per total US  population, that is  16.1% out  of  every  100,000 people; in 1970 this  increased to 738,820 per total population,  36.4% of 100,000 people; in 1980 this jumped to 1,344,520 per total population, 59.7% of 100,000 people; in 1992 this increased another 16%, 1,932,274 per total population, 75.8% of 100,000 people.  In 1990 alone 90,000 people were murdered.


The fastest growing group of violent criminals is America's youth. From 1982-1991 arrest rates for murder for juvenile offenders  increased by 93%.  In 1960 the major problems in high school were tardiness, chewing gum, running in the halls and the occasional fist fight. Today, in 1996, 20% of high school  students now carry a lethal weapon to school on a regular basis; this includes, guns, knives, razors, clubs or some other weapon.




Since 1960 the illegitimate birth rate has increased more than 400%.  In 1960, out of the entire population, only 5.3% of all  births that year were illegitimate.  In 1970 that figure doubled to 10.7%. In 1980 it increased to 18.4% and finally, in 1991, 30% of all births in the United States were illegitimate. The most  dramatic  figures  are  revealed  in the  fact that  among  blacks this proportion is much greater.  In 1991, 68% of all births to black mothers were illegitimate. This is a direct result of the welfare state and its consequent effects on the family.  The above figures  do  not  consider pregnancy.  These figures are increases even after 1.6 million  babies on average have already been  murdered every year by abortion since 1972.


In regards to marriage, in 1960 there were 74 marriages to every 1000 unmarried women and only 9 marriages out of every 1000 ended in divorce. In 1991 there were only 54 marriages out of every 1000 unmarried women and 21 divorces per 1,000 married women.




From 1960 to 1991 the  births  of  children to  unwed  teenagers  has  increased nearly 200 percent. Out of 1000 unwed teenage girls in 1960 only 15 had births.  Over the last 30 years this has increased to 45 births per 1000 unmarried teenage girls. Now this must be weighted against the fact that from 1972 to 1990 abortion has had a tremendous  increase within this category. Instead of births if we looked at teenage pregnancy and abortion the figure increases  dramatically. From 1972 to 1990 the pregnancy  rate has nearly doubled. In 1972 there were 49 pregnancies per 1000 unmarried  teenagers;  of  these  there were only 24 births, 20 abortions and 5 miscarriages.  Teenagers have  approximately 400,000 abortions per year.


From 1960 to 1990 the rate of teenagers committing suicide has more than tripled. According to the National Center for Health Statistics suicide is now the second leading cause of death among adolescents.  Per every 100,000 15-19 year olds in 1960 there were 4 suicides in 1990 this had jumped to 11.3 per 100,000.


The Experiment Has Failed 


Now I  could  go on and on with the statistics and cold hard facts but I think the point has been made. The anti-guilt  and self-esteem advocates have failed to create a better society.  In fact they have created a horrifyingly worse one.  Liberalism is  a totally bankrupt  philosophy and pseudo-religion. It  doesn't  work because  it  has  an unrealistic view of humanity.  Liberalism is  the modern Tower of Babel.  They have tried to enter heaven by mere human effort, and with unmitigated  pride they have shot  an arrow into  the sky as an act of defiance of God.  Their efforts have ended in confusion, disunity, and division.  Where once there was a moral consensus in this country, there  is now only fractious, disintegration of the society's fabric. In every area where our culture was successful it is now in ruins.  We see this not only in secular society  but within the Church as well. Can anyone who reads this  newsletter today  in 1996  say  that the Church is as healthy now as it was  in the 1950's?  Yet the liberals will do just that trying to convince us as we stand  amidst the ruins of our Faith that  everything is wonderful and we have progressed so much.


Guilt is a Natural Consequence of Sin


So we finally come to the main issue of this article, guilt.  In denying guilt there are more people in mental institutions then ever before in history.  Why? Because when  you  try  to  mess with the natural process of things  it causes revolution within that process. To violate the natural law  is  to  bring  disorder  and  disharmony  within oneself and one's environment.  Guilt is good.  Just as pain in the body signals injury or  disease, so  guilt  is the pain of the soul as  it  is injured by sin and  spiritual  disease. Without  the body's ability to have pain we would not realize when we were injured or needed the assistance of a physician.  In like manner without  guilt we cannot realize the magnitude and horror of sin.


The truth is, dear reader, that  sin  is  the  greatest  evil  in  this  life. All other sorrows find their  root  in sin and are the consequences of sin.  Therefore, when we  sin,  the pain of  guilt  should be great enough to  either  warn us that we are too close to the fire of spiritual injury and death or the death scream of our own spiritual suicide.  Unlike the physical nature  death in the realm of the spirit is not permanent now that Jesus provided the means by which our dead souls  can be resurrected to new life. By the application of the merits of His redemption in the sacrament  of  Confession  our  souls are healed both of  injury  and of spiritual  death  itself.  But without a true horror for sin we will continually place  ourselves  in the dangerous position of  falling  continuously into sin again and again. Guilt,  if  highly attuned, can prevent this  from happening.  Confession is the only  God-given remedy for the guilt  of  sin.  In  His  infinite wisdom Jesus gave us this sacrament  for both  our spiritual  and mental  health. Our humble  submission  to  the  authority  of  Christ  given to His Church is  the ultimate cure of our pride which is the foundation of all sin. And love is the only means by which we can implement this humility of spirit. Love is the opposite of  sin, just as good is the opposite of evil.


There  are two things  which  are aberrations  of the guilt process that  can  happen within  the  psychology of an individual . The first is what we call  a "Seared Conscience".  This means  that  after  repeated  sinning without  repentance in  a particular  area the pain of guilt is lessened or almost  entirely negated. The great sorrow for souls in this state is  that it takes  almost a miracle of grace to overcome their coldheartedness and bring them back to repentance.  The  second aberrant  condition is that of scrupulosity. This unhealthy condition is an obsession with the  feelings  of  guilt. It  is  a kind of  spiritual hypochondria.  For the scrupulous  the  least minor transgression of the law, even when it  is not deliberate becomes a source of turmoil and obsession to the point of distraction. 


Both of the above mentioned conditions  come from pride,  the first from the concept that there is no consequence to sin and the person becomes the  arbiter  of his  own actions, usurping God's position.  The second  is  pride because the  person cannot accept  the limitations of his own humanity.  In both cases the sacrament of Confession is the necessary remedy. However, the scrupulous need the extra assistance of  a  good spiritual director who will not mitigate the true horror of sin and at the same time will direct the penitent to spiritual balance.  

of the Blessed Trinity became man suffering death "once and for all..." to save all those who have human truth  book upon book  could  be written  based solely upon theological speculation concerning the existence of intelligent extraterrestrials and their place within the providence of God.  As long as we realize that their souls would h