Sunday, February 12, 2017
Feb 9, 2017
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Please express your love in a special ways this week, it is really important to do so! A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my love of the priesthood, love exampled by my parents. That column was to be in this week, but things got mixed up so you got my love story early!
I’m asked, “Why don’t you preach about sin anymore?” The fact of the matter is our sin homilies are equal to our homilies on the two great commandments of love. I must admit the question does give me occasion to reflect more deeply on the sin in our lives.
It is my understanding sin is our failure to receive God’s love as it is freely given to us. It is part of our human condition to act in selfish ways. As I reflected more, I thought that we don’t often hear much about abusive relationships in Catholic sermons. Rarely have I mentioned the serious sin of domestic violence and particularly abuse of women.
In thinking about this I remembered a column that was published in the Prairie Messenger written, some time ago, by the priest sociologist, Andrew Greeley, RIP. The column spoke about the almost universal silence of Catholic clergy and hierarchy on this topic; the lack of which would imply that there is no serious sin regarding the abuse of women. To be fair, in years past, our Diocese urged preachers to use material supplied by our Diocesan Women’s Commission and other AntiDomestic Violence Organizations, but we don’t hear enough about this very serious sin. Can we conclude that there is no such abuse in our world today? I think not.
Several times I have spoken in this column about the evil of domestic violence and have sighted statistics that indicate the high prevalence of violence against women in our culture. However, let me be explicit this week. Rape is always grievous sin, even spousal rape; especially spousal rape. Date rape is serious sin; physical abuse of a spouse is sin, as well as habitual verbal abuse. Incestuous abuse of daughters, sisters and nieces is mortal sin. Sexual harassment in the workplace or anywhere else is grievous sin.
Before I go any further I need to say that it is my opinion that most people involved in serious sin may be suffering from some type of addiction or they lack the ability to make sound decisions. If in fact this is true can they really commit a mortal sin? I would say that is sometime a confessor and the penitent need to discuss, particularly when you consider the elements of what makes sin mortal.
Vile “sexual locker room” conversation that demeans women is also serious sin. Job discrimination against women is serious sin. Treatment of women as sex objects is serious sin. Sexual exploitation of women is serious sin.
Is there a priest, bishop, Cardinal or Pope anywhere in the world who would argue publicly that any of these behaviors is not serious sin? I don’t think so. This sin is rampant in our so-called “civilized” western world. Many delight in sweeping denunciations of “sin against the flesh” and “sin against life”, but one hardly ever hears condemnation about sin against the flesh of women; against the bearers of life that are in our land. These abuses are routine and common place every day. Perhaps our hearts are desensitized to this culturally accepted abuse. We need to encourage our Church’s leaders to be the first to say that abuse of women is a serious evil and objectively disordered. Yes, there is sin in the world, but there is lots more love, and our love can be a wonderful antidote to this most grievous of sin.
Let us continue to pray for peace and for the end of terrorism in our world!
In peace and courage,