Thursday, April 7, 2016


As a student, for a summer, I lived with an alcoholic.  At first I was living on my own, house sitting through the graciousness of a friend and then was told, “This guys needs a place to stay.  He’s just coming off drinking and is trying to get his life together so I though he could stay in the house with you.”

I was cool with that and realized that I would need to get rid of the wine in the refrigerator that I enjoyed with dinner at night.  Now, I could have whined (ha) and complained and said, “I have every right as an American citizen to eat and drink as I wish and choose.  Everybody else should be responsible and control themselves.  This guys should be responsible for his drinking and I should not have to live differently just because he isn’t.”

The problem is that there is a modicum of truth to that but it would be cruel and idiotic.

Yet that is exactly what we do as a nation with something far more powerful and potentially damaging.  We push sexuality to the fore, we exploit it for advertising, use it gratuitously in art, demand that in the name of equality men and women be put in potentially compromising positions with each other (aka the near occasion of sin,) and push to promote the rights of those who wish to act out provocatively in public as far as possible with just the barest and thinest veil of modesty still in place.  Then, when people act out inappropriately (as we all agree they should NOT do) we are surprised, shocked, angry, and vengeful.

This is a broken model that is not working well.  It is a problem when we both celebrate liberty as license and do not recognize the fallen nature of man.  It is problem when we overly celebrate the individual and not the communal (catholic) nature of humanity.  It is dangerous when we don’t balance the dignity of the individual with the life of the Body of Christ.  It is not dealing with the fact that, while under our clothes we are all naked, there is a reason for fig leaves.

1 comment:

Pat said...

St. Paul (writing in 1 Corinthians, chapter 8 speaks of a contentious issue in the early Church: eating food that had been sacrificed to idols:

". . . So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that 'An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.' ” (verse 4). . . Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak (v. 9). . . . Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall. (v. 13)

The analogy is far from perfect but seems to parallel the concerns expressed in this post.