August 21, 2009


Do you live in a sinful ‘state’? As a Catholic, you don’t have to

Beware if you know anyone who lives in the South.

Be happy if you reside in the Midwest and western Appalachia.

At least that’s the message, albeit a not-too-serious one, in a Catholic News Service article about sin in America.

The story, featured on page 3 of this week’s issue of The Criterion, includes the results of work done by four Kansas State University geography researchers.

As you’ll read, the study revolved around the traditional seven deadly sins: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride, and how researchers gleaned census data, FBI crime reports and Department of Health and Human Services statistics to obtain their findings.

One of the researchers, Thomas Vought, said the not-too-serious study’s goals, which he termed “a fun exercise,” included contributing to understanding the habits of people around the country.

Though we won’t go into all the details, the researchers found that the South—encompassing an arc from North Carolina through Louisiana—was most prone to the seven deadly sins.

The study also showed that the Midwest—including Indiana—and western Appalachia, were the least sinful areas.

Though Vought told CNS that the study is not meant to serve as an authoritative review of the country’s sinfulness, as Catholics, it offers us a gentle reminder of one of the gifts that our faith provides us—the sacrament of reconciliation.

As the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults tells us, “Confession liberates us from sins that trouble our hearts and makes it possible to be reconciled to God and others” (USCCA, page 238).

It adds, “In confession, by naming our sins before the priest, who represents Christ, we face our failings more honestly and accept responsibility for our sins. It is also in confession that a priest and penitent can work together to find the direction needed for the penitent to grow spiritually and to avoid sin in the future” (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1455, #1456).

As imperfect people, we know that sin can rear its ugly head at a moment’s notice in our daily lives.

But thanks to our faith, we know that if we stray we can return to the path to redemption through the sacrament of reconciliation.

May we never forgot this gift of faith.

—Mike Krokos

Continuing to celebrate the Year for Priests in our archdiocese

Plain and simple, there are a lot of good priests serving the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

You have told us as much in recent weeks.

After Pope Benedict XVI officially began the “Year for Priests” in June, we asked readers to share stories of priests who have ministered to them in various capacities in the archdiocese.

We hoped people would answer the call to recognize holy men who are serving or have served our parishes and schools in central and southern Indiana, and you have done just that.

Our thinking for this reader-response was simple: many of us probably take our pastors and associate pastors for granted, and here is a chance to thank that priest or priests for their life and ministry.

Although space does not allow us to print all the responses we receive, we hope to feature more readers’ stories about how priests have made a difference in their lives of faith in the coming weeks and months.

If a priest has meant a lot to you, if you have seen him minister well or if his life has helped your faith grow, we want to know about it.

Send your stories to Sean Gallagher by e-mail at or mail to P.O. Box 1400, Indianapolis, IN 46206.

During this Year for Priests, Pope Benedict has encouraged us to pray for our priests’ growth in holiness.

As people of faith, may we continue to do our part to support our priests’ ministry and never take them for granted.

—Mike Krokos

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