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The Notion of Sin

At the Synod in Rome last October a very important talk was given by Archbishop HERMANIUK on Monday, October 3. We print it here as it was reported in L’OSSERVATORE ROMANO in the 17th October 1983 English edition.


by Most Rev. Maximus Hermaniuk 
Metropolitan Archbishop of 
Winnipeg of The Ukrainians (Canada)

If the Church truly wishes to reconcile man with God, with himself and with his brothers and sisters, then she must restore the true notion of sin among the faithful. She must help them to understand that sin is a rejection of the love of God, which brings with it a division in the heart of man himself and an estrangement from his neighbor.

Today this notion of sin is deeply falsified among many Christians through a “humanistic atheism”, which by denying the existence of God makes man the supreme master of his destiny, the sole legislator of good and evil, the sole judge of all his actions. Penetrated by this pagan, hedonistic philosophy, many of the men and women of our time accept as good what pleases them and reject as evil what does not please them, thus making pleasure the ultimate end of human life. However, this reversal of the order established by God, rather than lead men and women to unconditioned pleasure, produces a profound disorder in the personal life of man, and in his social, economic and political life, replacing the absolute and objective norm of action with the principle of egoistical passions, the fruit of this is separation from God and of the estrangement from his neighbor. The Church alone can save man from this disaster through reconciliation with God, with himself and with his neighbor through the Sacrament of Penance.

This is why we recommend: a) that the Church make every possible effort to restore the true notion of sin; b) that she publish a message of hope addressed to all men of good will, to help them understand that with God’s help man can overcome his weaknesses and become reconciled with God, with himself and with his neighbor; c) that man must do this if he is to arrive at the destiny prepared for him by God the Creator and restored to him through Christ the Redeemer.