Wednesday, February 27, 2008
O. J. Logic
If you're visiting with a Catholic family member, and that family member openly (and rather proudly) admits to committing a number of mortal sins on a regular basis and then says something like, "I need my sins to get me through life, so they are just venial sins, not mortal sins for me..." -- are you obliged to attempt some gently worded correction? And when that family member expects to go to Mass with you on Sunday, are you obliged to suggest that you both go to confession beforehand? And if that family member says, "I don't go to confession, because I can't stand the guilt trip," and then goes to church with you and your small children on Sunday, are you obliged to suggest that maybe that family member ought to refrain from receiving the Eucharist?
I guess what I am asking is, aren't we supposed to look out for the souls of our loved ones and help each other achieve holiness? And when do we add action (speaking up) to our passive efforts (prayer, having Masses said for the person, etc.)?
I can't figure out why people don't apply this thinking, "I know the Church says this is a sin, but I don't think it's a sin, at least not for me, so it's not a sin for me," to other areas of their lives.
"Yes, Officer, I realize the light was red, but as I didn't see any other cars coming, I realized that I could cross the intersection safely. Isn't that what the lights are for, to make sure we don't run into each other? Mission accomplished."
"No, Professor, I found "The House of Seven Gables" boring and repetitious so I decided to read the last Harry Potter book instead. The point of the assignment was to see if I can write a critical analysis of a fictional work, so we're good, right?"
"I was here at work instead of home on my behind, so, even though you've noticed that I'm playing poker on my monitor here, you still have to pay me. I'm here if you need me."
Can you imagine trying to get away with that? Why does God have to put up with this idiocy? Oh, right. Loving and merciful.
I think of it as O.J. Logic. I believe Mr. O.J. Simpson truly believes he is innocent of any crime. Here's how the logid works. Mr. Simpson believes that his wife deserved to be killed (and that other man just got in the way). Since she deserved to be killed he didn't do anything wrong when he killed here and is therefore innocent.
Let's go hog wild and apply the same logic to the laws of physics, that way when this person hits the brakes on their car while going 60mph wearing no seat belt they won't go through the windshield because while other bodies in motion remain in motion, theirs does not.
So the question is, what do we do about it? I do think one should point out, without engaging in the argument, that the Ten Commmandments and the laws of the Church are either God's laws or they or not. This person seems to be interested in being a Catholic which means following the tenets of the faith, not the tenents of what Joe Schmoe cobbles together for himself and his comfort level.
Send him to me. I'll box his ears, make him stand in the corner, kneel on dried peas, wash his mouth out with soap, put his nose in a circle on the blackboard, clap erases together and write a thousand times, "I will not make up my religion." Whatever it takes.
As for Communion, we do not have the Communion Rail Police, or mortal sin counters. There is no chemical available in the Communion line that points out that something is not right like there is for swimming pools. We all know the deal, but we're just going to have to let it go and mind our own beeswax.