Fraternal Society of Saint Peter
Guilt is Good
As a priest, if I had to recommend a reading every time I heard a confession, I could do no better than recommend this wise and well-written essay, “Guilt is Good” by Jerome Schmeidler whose education includes the study of psychology and training in therapy.
For too many people, guilt is a stumbling block and a heavy burden, while others throw off their guilt like a cheap blanket. The truth is, God gave each of us a conscience as the gateway to grace and true repentance and guilt is an invaluable expression of it as long as conscience is formed correctly.
Schmeidler drives home this truth in clear, strong language, and then he goes one better. He explains that, while psychology does have legitimate functions, too often our secular culture misleads so many people – even faithful Catholics — to turn to psychology and “self-help” methods to solve their mental and emotional burdens rather than face what he calls “The awful, unspeakable ‘G’ word.”
However, what would our lives be like without our God-given, inborn guide conscience and its critical expression called guilt? “It would be like living in a world without gravity,” Schmeidler writes. “Without our God-given conscience and guilt there would be nothing to keep us grounded. It would be complete chaos, because we all share one thing in common: we are all imperfect.”
As Schmeidler explains with great insight, even though it sounds contradictory, to accept guilt is to be made free of the burden of it. For anyone who faces that burden of guilt, or anyone who simply wants to examine their conscience carefully before confession, Schmeidler’s essay will help put guilt where it belongs, as an invaluable light which can turn us back to God.
– Father Regis Scanlon OFM Cap
Praise for “Guilt is Good”:
“Guilt is Good”. May this text help many people to be truly freed from the slavery of sin and from the deceits of the unbelieving modern psychology. May they find the only Savior Jesus Christ and His redeeming and freeing grace.
God bless you! In Christ + Athanasius Schneider