The church confesses that it has looked on silently as the poor were exploited and robbed, while the strong were enriched and corrupted.
The church confesses its guilt toward the countless people whose lives have been destroyed by slander, denunciation, and defamation. It has not condemned the slanderers for their wrongs and has thereby left the slandered to their fate.
The church confesses that it has coveted security, tranquility, peace, property, and honor to which it had no claim, and therefore has not bridled human covetousness, but promoted it.
I wish I could post the whole chapter entitled "Guilt, Justification, Renewal" from Ethics, but I would tire of typing long before the end...
He has gone from preaching and started meddling in this passage. Granted, it was written of the German church during Nazi times, but doesn't it ring true today?
Hasn't the church too often forgotten its prophetic calling and gotten too cozy with the status quo? Haven't we forgotten James' warning: "Listen, my beloved brethren. Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you, is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme that honorable name which was invoked over you?"
One more quote from this chapter:
Not all wounds that were mad can be healed; but it is critical that no further wounds be inflicted. The law of retaliation, 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,'is reserved for God, the judge of the nations. In human hands it only causes new disaster...