Thursday, December 25, 2008


Well, the story about more corruption at city hall will wait until Monday. As it turns out this commentary works better with my on line poll.

The great attraction to Christianity is it provides its followers absolution from accountability. The sinner is never required to simply take responsibility for his/her actions. Absolution, especially among Catholics, is the ready made easy way out from personal accountability. The concept of redemption is the same. Rather than simply accept responsibility for your actions and changing how you conduct yourself, you can turn to deliverance from evil. You see, evil is a third-party which allows the sinner to look outside himself for the source of his actions.

People who believe in absolution and redemption will never know true liberty. They permanently tie themselves to a third-party as a way to avoid accountability for their actions. Absolution and redemption are masters over their slaves. Marx understood this, but he took it too far and assumed all Faith is tied to absolution and redemption as masters of slaves. He basically threw out the baby with the bath water.

It never surprises me the worst sinners are tied to religious cults such as Christianity, or Islam. Of course there are people within each of these respective faiths who somehow see through the politics of the control and actually embrace the real message of the inspirational voice who started the movement. As I have said many a time, I am not a Christian, I am a student of Joshua, aka Jesus. I do know people who are Christians by self profession, but who live as students of Joshua.

Whether it is Pat Ahumada or other public figures they fail because they are slaves to absolution and redemption. It is an addiction. They love their daily fix of being forgiven by absolution or redemption because it means they never have to give up their addictions of choice - narcissism, or grandiose personality. They are always a victim. Such as being enslaved to absolution and redemption to avoid personal accountability they are in love with the concept of victim-hood.

So here is my proposal if Pat Ahumda is willing to do the following, the DA and US attorney should give him an offer of a years probation with an offer of an early release if he behaves.

[1] He admits publically he intended to steal the money;
[2] He blames no one, and does not ask for forgiveness - asking for forgiveness is pathetic. He needs to search long and hard within himself and change. If he truly changes people will see him in a new light and judge him based on his new self and not the confessed thief. To ask for forgiveness without having first proven through your actions you have changed is insulting;
[3] He resigns from office immediately;
[4] He promises to not run for public office or accept any public appointments for 2 years.

Pat Ahumada and Robert Sanchez would serve themselves and more importantly their families well, if they would just go quietly into their private lives, admit to their transgressions, rebuild their families, rebuild their businesses, and find a true sense of community in their hearts. Those who best serve the community do it every day and without the fanfare. Both of these men can learn a lesson from the citizen who quietly serves his community. For these citizens serve without the baggage of narcissism or grandiose personalities.

Neither of these men will find peace until they make amends for their actions. They will always play the victim avoiding personal accountability and responsibility.

The new year is around the corner. I hope Pat Ahumada will serve the city honorably by taking responsibility for his actions. I hope the DA and US Attorney will see the merits in my argument for leniency, under the conditions specified, so that the city can move forward during these hard economic times rather than be divided over whether the mayor is a victim or a very misguided soul.

Even if the mayor is a victim, so long as this mess remains open his opponents will use it to bring the city commission to standstill. Does anyone believe Il Duce Troiani and his Nancy Boys will not use these events to bring city government to a standstill. Even Nixon had good sense to resign in the interest of the people.

I hope there is someone in Robert Sanchez’ life who can tell him it is time to make amends for his ways by taking personal responsibility for his actions. It is never about the story. It is about the motivation behind the story. When the motivation is bad, the story even if true will flip on you and make you the bad guy.


Anonymous said...

I must disagree with your perception of Catholic Absolution. Confession requires exactly that .. One confesses a misdeed "through my fault" and resolve to "sin no more". Then one does the proscribed penance suggested by the priest confessor. The devil doesn't make you do it, but perhaps provides the opportunity. It is still based on free choice

BobbyWC said...

Thanks for the visit Fred.

I guess we will have to agree to disagree. I hope your post will encourage more people to challenge my position on the issue.

This is what I said. "The sinner is never required to simply take responsibility for his/her actions. Absolution, especially among Catholics, is the ready made easy way out from personal accountability"

How many times has a priest told the same person to sin no more, and then they sin again?

Why, because they can seek forgiveness from a third party rather then look themselves in the mirror and say, "I must change." They do not feel the accountability which comes with failing to change because they can simply seek absolution.

But, just a discussion. Now do you think this city commission is going to allow the mayor to function until the criminal trial is over? If not how will it affect city government?


Anonymous said...

I must agree with Fred. The way you describe absolution is perhaps the way many Roman Catholics understand it, and conveniently so. But Roman Catholicism does not offer forgiveness via a drive thru window. The sacrament of confession was developed by Irish monks during the Middle Ages in order for the sinner to confess, as a first step towards redemption.

It is common for priests to give (what I consider to be) lame penances like 85 "Hail Mary's". But many priests will actually require you to repair the damage you have created. Again, I think there is a gap between what Chrisitianity should be and how it is actually practiced. But this is an empirical, not a theoretical problem.

Regarding Patricio Ahumada, I think your comments are accurate. This is beyond a mere apology. The situation you describe reminds me, scaringly enough, to Truth Commission hearings in Argentina and South Africa. Law enforcement and military personnel in both countries would confess to torturing innocent civilians. They would then shrug their shoulders and DEMAND absolution. After all, they claimed, they already said they were sorry.

Keep up the great work.

BobbyWC said...

I basicall agree with this. "I must agree with Fred. The way you describe absolution is perhaps the way many Roman Catholics understand it, and conveniently so. But Roman Catholicism does not offer forgiveness via a drive thru window."

But in the end Catholicism is what it has become which means it is a drive through - official doctrine rarely is reality

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

I am not a Roman Catholic and I practice no organized religion. However, I am afraid that the statement "official doctrine is rarely reality" is moot.

Theory is rarely reality; but theory is still needed to give us the primitive concepts we need to understand the world. Official doctrine is necessary in any religion or cohesive set of beliefs. It is in fact rarely a reality; so what?

You are suggesting there are problems with the theory. In other words, you are suggesting Christianity gives its followers a "drive thru" option. It does not. Then you switch arguments agreeing it does not but that, when it is all said and done, a set of beliefs is what it becomes. But the fact is, those beliefs and that doctrine have not changed.

This fundamental misunderstanding of repentance is captured in at least one literary masterpiece, Dante's Inferno. Saying you're sorry will not automatically wash your sins clean in Christianity. The controversial practice of wearing scapularies aside, your statements are still an oversimplification of Roman Catholicism in particular and Christianity in general.

By the way, the most frequent way people are inducted into Roman Catholicism is by being born Roman Catholic. It is not the attraction to "drive thru" redemption.

BobbyWC said...

Anony, great retort - remember the BV works best when people challenge the argument or premise -it allows for critical thinking - thanks,

but my retort is, you are right they are born into it- do not many stay because they believe they can merely run to confession? - hence a drive thru redemption.

my point being, mainly how people treat the doctrine - remember I went out of my way to point out I know catholics who do not act this way. In fact Betty and Jean are two of the most spiritual people I know. How they have lived their lives inspired me to dig deeper into the writings of Joshua - they were different from every other Catholic I had ever known

For nearly 25 years I attended the Catholic Church, not because I believe in the doctrine, but because inner-city priests tend to give incredible services which I believe tend to capture the essence of Joshua's teachings. For me this is the great enigma in catholicism. Soemthing inspires these priests. But it some how fails in translation at the parishioner level.

About 5 years ago I went to midnight mass on Christmas Eve in NY. After the service I commented to the priest how I thought his understanding of the symbolism of Mary was refreshing. he laughed and when I asked him why he was laughing he said he could not remember the last time a parishioner commented on something specific about his service. how sad, how very sad.

Again a lot of times the BV is about starting a discussion - imagine yourself at a great piano bar, Judy is singing, and you are with friends having a discussion about religion. Sometimes it is just about having a relaxed discussion in a nice environment.

Thanks for joining in.

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your kind words. I was a Roman Catholic for many years. My education was actually parochial all the way up to high school. In part, I grew disenchanted of the institutional church as well as organized religion in general because of my experiences there.

In my opinion, religion runs a parallel course with science. Karl Popper suggested that the key characteristic of science is refutability. A theory usually becomes established by vanquishing a previous one. This theory is tested time and time again. Particular parts of the theory are refuted or found to be inadequate; these parts are altered. But as time goes on, the alterations needed to maintain this theory become far too many, and another theory comes on the scene to vanquish it in turn.

Religion in my view is similar. A religion becomes established, typically as the result of an older faith or a lack of faith not being sufficient for people to establish a meaningful relationship with God and with their fellow human beings. From time to time, the orthodoxy is challenged by reformers who manage to shake the boat, and modify religious practices.

However, there are episodes when the heterodoxy is so fundamentally antagonistic to the dogma that one of three things occur. One, the heterodox members may actually take control of the religion (by fair or foul means). Two, the heterodoxy breaks off and forms its own relgious group. Three, all heterodox members are eliminated, humiliated, or vanquished.

The third possible outcome is clearly the worst. Any cohesive set of beliefs needs a certain amount of heterodoxy to revitalize it from time to time. Those heterodox sectors, I believe, are what you found in inner-city parishes and what I found in campus parishes in public universities. However, any religious hierarchy has to be conservative by nature; after all, they are in charge of CONSERVING religious practices. Sometimes, in an effort to conserve something other things, or even what is being conserved, becomes distorted. This is what I think you are referring to in the first part of your essay.

I believe this is the current state of Roman Catholicism in Latin America and Islam in South and Southwest Asia. Reformist movements, heterodox elements that want to refresh religious practices, are facing stiff opposition and persecution by orthodox hierarchies.

It is difficult to reform Islam, for example, when most Islamic education is funded by millionaire fundamentalist Muslims. Among other things, they believe women should not drive and can be beaten by their husbands.

This, of course, is NOT a set of beliefs shared by Muslims in general. Just like female genital mutilation is not a part of Islam and is denounced by many Muslims across Africa. This battle between orthodoxy and heterodoxy, dogma and reform, is really a battle on how to practice official doctrine. But official doctrine itself is not in question.

Anonymous said...

By the way, going back to the main topic of the essay, I do think that authorities should show some leniency if the mayor simply admits to his wrongdoing and resigns immediately. I agree with your five stipulations and I hope Patricio Ahumada seriously considers them.

However, I do not believe authorities should be too lenient with Mr. Ahumada. They should simply be as lenient to the mayor as they would be to any citizen who commits a similar crime, confesses to that crime, and attempts to repair it in some way or another. If authorities are too generous with Mr. Ahumada in this regard then public officials will have an incentive to commit acts of corruption. The probability of punishment will remain the same but its magnitude will be lowered by simply confessing and resigning.

We must not agree to solutions which generate moral hazard.

BobbyWC said...

So we come full circle back to Hegel's dialectic. This is an important part of what I am saying. Doctrine is never what is written - it is what man makes of it. Catholics make of it as a drive thru fix to sin - of course not all Catholics - there are always the Bettys and Jeans.

As to the mayor, because I believe among the most heinous crimes is a crime against the community by a politico I would normally be for the maximum punishment. But my concern is, given the hard economic times we are facing and the tone of this City Commission, is a long drawn out battle good for the city? I say no.

If I were answering my own poll, under normal circumstance, I would have voted "Say what" in disbelief anyone would suggest leniency. But the times we are facing force me to think about the consequences on the city,

Bobby WC

now if I only had a nice cognac with a cigar while listening to Judy sing something blue - the chat would be complete.

Brownsville needs a piano bar

Anonymous said...

In looking at Catholicism, I must agree that some do take the easy drive through but that is not the way much of the worlds Catholics take it. They understand that one must genuinely admit the fault and be willing to do penance or make restitution.
In my adolescence I became disenchanted with the "organized religion" and searched for alternatives. I felt that the religeous meetings were there to discuss the problems of the yime and how to do better. Re: The Oxford Groups and Step Self Help Groups. I resolved not to let the weakest of my church chase me away but look to the best and try to do better. To me that is what it is about not the name of the group. I have made some real poor personal choices and my search has helped me along the road.
As to the Mayor I find it difficult to believe that he would be so dumb to think he would get away with something so obvious. I for one will wait and see.

Anonymous said...

Actually, doctrine is precisely what is written. The literal meaning comes from the latin "doctrina" which means "teaching". Theory is taught; sometimes empirical evidence supporting that theory is taught. But just like physics in the classroom, which assumes perfectly smooth planes, doctrine is taught in its purest form. It is supposed to be this way.

Sometimes a long drawn out costly battle is what society needs in order for it not to shy away from drastic measures against corruption. Sometimes, however, people are condemned to repeat mistakes. I think the most valuable thing your form should promote is transparency in public affairs.

Good night and keep up the good work.