Chief of sinners

I may think it modesty when I draw back from declaring myself chief of sinners, but it is more likely a failure of imagination. For what sinner should I speak if not for myself? Of all the billions of people who have lived and of all the thousands whom I have known, whom should I say is chief of sinners. Surely I am authorized, surely I am competent to speak only for myself? When in the presence of God the subject of sin is raised, how can I help but say that chiefly it is I? Not to confess that I am chiefly the one is not to confess at all. It is the evasion of Adam, who said, ‘It was the woman who you gave to be with me.’ It is the evasion of Eve, who said, ‘The serpent beguiled me.’ IT is not to confess at all, and by our making of excuses is our complicity compounded.

–Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, Death on a Friday Afternoon

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