- Enjoy living
- Are neurotic depressives
- Don't agree with the speaker
- "Malignant Virtue and the Monkees"
(April 13, 2013)
As a Catholic, I have to believe that sin exists, but I do not go around trying to be miserable.
We live in a world that's basically good, but not perfect. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 299, 309-310)
Pleasure is a good thing. What can get us in trouble isn't pleasure: it's letting our desire for pleasure get out of hand. We are rational creatures, and are meant to make reasoned decisions: not emotional ones. The goal is using created things in a balanced way. (Catechism, 1730, 1804, 1809, 2362, 2351)
"Original sin," again in the Catholic sense, is what happened when humanity's original harmony was damaged by our first parents' decision to defy God. (Catechism, 396-409)
I've posted about original sin before. (July 11, 2012, June 13, 2012)
Although sin is real, I've run into opinions about sin that are imaginative: to be kind about it.
I check in at a few 'prayer request' clearinghouses on the Web. It's one way I take care of the human need for prayer. Most of the requests are quite sensible: asking others to join them in asking for help, or giving thanks.
After particularly nasty crimes, like mass murder, hit the news. I usually run into at least one anguished prayer request that I'm sure is sincere: but is anything but sensible.
They generally say something like, 'GOD FORGIVE US FOR MURDERING ALL THOSE DEAR SWEET CHILDREN!'
But asking God to forgive me for killing those kids? The crime was committed by someone else: without my knowledge, permission, or assistance.
I am a sinner: that's a consequence of original sin. I've also done some really stupid things that are also sinful. But I'm not guilty of that particular crime.
Then there are folks who apparently think we're all guilty of sins committed by someone else, generations before any of us were born.
I find that particularly unpleasant when the guilt is assigned to 'those people:' folks whose sin and shame is apparently having not having the same ancestors as the speaker:
- "Japan, Good Taste, Common Sense, and a Duck"
(March 15, 2011)
- "Haiti: Voodoo, Pat Robertson, and the Catholic Church"
(January 16, 2010)
"All this evil is inflicted by ourselves, no one else. The starvation of people like in Africa was deliberately planned by conspirators dreaming of a new world order. This starvation need never have happened, but God permitted it because of man's sins."As I've said before, some of the billion or so living Catholics believe things that just aren't so. An individual Catholic may believe that there's a global conspiracy plotting "a new world order." That doesn't make it true.
(from a discussion thread about sin)
I enjoy conspiracy theories: in some stories. But that doesn't mean I believe them, although the one about space-alien shape-shifting lizard men running the world could make a rip-snorting thriller. (Another War on Terror Blog (January 14, 2009))
Come to think of it, it's been done: sort of. ("V" (1983))
attire for bias, or an effort to hide in a crowd.
I suspect that some folks may like the idea that 'we're all guilty' because it spreads responsibility out. In the short run, it's sort of like getting forgiveness at group rates.
The problem is that, although most humans are members of at least one group: we're also individuals. A corporation's board of directors may unanimously decide to swindle stockholders: but each individual makes a personal decision to go along or not.
The closest thing to 'group discount' forgiveness is general absolution. It's a sort of emergency procedure for situations where many folks will probably be dead before they can go through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
The way it was explained to me was that if a ship was sinking fast with no rescue in sight, and impatient sharks circling the wreck, a priest could run the entire crew through a general absolution. If someone survived, that individual would be expected to go through the sacrament as promptly as possible.
Finally, the Bible talks about group guilt and even "evil races." It's important to read the Bible in context. ("Understanding the Bible," Mary Elizabeth Sperry)
These verses are not the sort of thing I'd care to stretch into claims that 'all [insert despised group] are evil.' That sort of thing is against the rules. (Catechism, 597, 1934-1938)
The footnotes are worth reading:
"1 'Tell the Israelites: When a person inadvertently commits a sin against some command of the LORD by doing one of the forbidden things,I've met folks who seem to feel that the 'right sort' are indignant or outraged pretty much all the time: and that's another topic.
"2 if it is the anointed priest who thus sins and thereby makes the people also become guilty, he shall present to the LORD a young, unblemished bull as a sin offering for the sin he committed.'
"Virtue exalts a nation, but sin is a people's disgrace."
"3Ah! sinful nation, people laden with wickedness, evil race, corrupt children! They have forsaken the LORD, spurned the Holy One of Israel, apostatized."
"We recognize, O LORD, our wickedness, the guilt of our fathers; that we have sinned against you."
- "Freedom, Joy, and Tau Ceti's Planets"
(December 21, 2012)
- "Connecticut School: Mass Murder and Prayer"
(December 14, 2012)
- "Love, Hate, and Leaving an Impression"
(November 21, 2012)
- "Battling Sin, Living in Hope"
(July 25, 2012)
- "Original Sin and the Unfairness of Gravity"
(July 11, 2012)
- "Freedom, Joy, and Tau Ceti's Planets"
"ORIGINAL SIN: The sin by which the first human beings disobeyed the commandment of God, choosing to follow their own will rather than God's will. As a consequence they lost the grace of original holiness, and became subject to the law of death; sin became universally present in the world. Besides the personal sin of Adam and Eve, original sin describes the fallen state of human nature which affects every person born into the world, and from which Christ, the 'new Adam,' came to redeem us (396-412)."Background:
"SIN: An offense against God as well as a fault against reason, truth, and right conscience. Sin is a deliberate thought, word, deed, or omission contrary to the eternal law of God. In judging the gravity of sin, it is customary to distinguish between mortal and venial sins (1849, 1853, 1854)."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, Glossary)
- Code of Canon Law, Book IV, Part I, PART I, Title IV, Chapter I, 961
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1422-1484
- "Public acts of contrition in the age of spin control"
Mary Ann Glendon, Jubilee 2000 Magazine (July 15, 1999)
- "Penance and Reconciliation"
International Theological Commission (1982)
- "Pastoral norms for the administration of general sacramental absolution"
Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1972)