New Penance Doesn't Offset Much
By Victor Davis Hanson
What do leftist, mostly secular elites share with medieval sinners? They feel bad that their lives at times don't quite comport with their professed dogma.
Many in the medieval church were criticized by internal reformers and the public at large for their controversial granting of penance, especially to the wealthy and influential. Clergy increasingly offered absolution of sins by ordering the guilty to confess. Better yet, sometimes the well-heeled sinners were told to pay money to the church or to do good works that could then be banked to offset their bad.
Of course, critics argued that serial confessions simply encouraged serial sinning. The calculating sinner would do good things in one place to offset his premeditated bad in another. The corruption surrounding these cynical penances and indulgences helped anger Martin Luther and cause the Reformation.
Maybe it was inevitable that the old practice of paid absolution would appeal to elite Baby Boomers -- a class and generation that always seems to want it both ways by compartmentalizing their lives. The only difference is that the new sinners are not so worried about God's wrath as they are about their reputation among their judgmental liberal gods.