Just came across a quirky thing: eco-confession. Which is the Roman Catholic sacrament of confession, or reconciliation, for folks who are feeling a tad guilty because they’re not quite doing their bit for Mama Earth.
As the only creatures who are made in God’s image, we sit atop that creation. With this comes great responsibility: the earth and its treasures may be at our disposal, but we need to be humble and know that it’s all a gift from God.
We are stewards of this gift, and when we abuse the earth, it isn’t a sin against the earth, per se. One can no more sin against the earth than one might sin against a tin can. But abuse of God’s creation is a sin against God.
What appears troubling about the eco-confession business is that it brings up, yet again, the notion of indulgences. In this instance, things like carbon offsets. Now, since the confessional booth is sealed, we don’t know what kind of penance, if any, is assigned to those who confess to mixing paper with plastic, or, shudder, not recycling at all.
What is odd about the whole enterprise is that, with the many, many sins against God in the form of blasphemy and abuse of our fellow men and women, eco-sins are probably not at the top of any credible list of things for which we need to ask God’s forgiveness.
Finally, and this is something one sees among the wealthy liberalati in politics and entertainment, isn’t it rather sinful to be, in effect, boasting about our ecological credentials while traveling about in private jets and limousines to a from our many houses?
The whole thing, including specialized eco-confession, strikes me as being just a little idolatrous — elevating ecology and conservation to a status akin to God, something that is so special it requires its very own category of reconciliation. I’m hardly against conservation. What I am against is elevating it to something that, somehow, requires special dispensation from a priest.
Sin is sin. All sin is against God. Sins against people are sins against those made in God’s image and in whom God has placed a special trust, so that when we do not love our neighbors as ourselves, we sin against the One who established this commandment.
Now, if we could just settle down and satisfy Jesus’ two great commandments…