13 October 2010

Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin


I was watching a video of one of Archbishop Fulton Sheen's programs today on the issue of false compassion. This was made in the 1960s, but how true his words remain today. +Fulton Sheen truly is my favorite bishop of the modern era. He conveyed Christ's love while never being afraid to make a distinction quite openly and forcefully between right and wrong. It was a rare enough trait in +Sheen's time, and it is at least as rare now. It is probably even more rare. +Sheen died a little more than thirty years ago, but we desperately need men like him now.

So, what was this false compassion of which +Sheen spoke? It is the showing of pity and compassion where it ought not to be shown, and not showing it where it should be shown. To give an example, it is feeling pity for the rapist instead of the victim. There is indeed a lot of this notion today of blaming the victim. The leftists and liberals and social experimenters always have some excuse for the criminals while not caring much if at all about the victims. A large number of times, criminals come out of the prisons worse than when they went in, and then go commit crimes again. What's worse is when people stand up for themselves and defend themselves, their friends, and their families, they often are condemned for it. Sometimes they find themselves defending themselves in a court of law against the criminals instead of the other way around. Something is indeed very wrong with this picture. Nothing much has changed since +Sheen made that broadcast, and I would say it has gotten worse.

Archbishop Sheen gave a prediction for the future, and I believe he was right. He remarked on how the kids using alcohol have to switch to dope just to achieve the same high. In general, we habituate to the new level and much intensify the stimulus in order to achieve the same effect as before. We need only look to modern television to see how the "shock value" has had to increase in order to get the same level of shock in the audience.

+Sheen continued by suggesting that the future would be a revival of "bull fights" of sorts. We would turn to masochism and cruelty. I believe he was right. Today we have both of these things. We have people engaging in self-destructive and self-harming behavior, and other people stand by and say "Well, if that's what they want to do, it's ok. It's their form of self-expression. It doesn't mean they are a bad person." After all, that's what they say on television. That's what many modern television series promote. Well, they may indeed be a good person inside, but their behavior is not good and should be called what it is. Such behavior eats at their soul, tearing away at it, until it, too, is utterly destroyed. How can we stand by and say nothing? Perhaps these days we delight in watching this self-destruction in others. A "bull-fight" of sorts.

This is not the only form of cruelty we enjoy. America is one of the most litigious nations in the world, if not the most. Americans sue each other at the drop of the hat, often over nonsensical things. Why? Often for money or even some form of sadistic revenge. On top of that, the juries sometimes make bizarre judgments awarding large sums for the strangest reasons. What is going through their minds, I do not know. All I can say is that the notion of true justice must not be entering their thought process.

So it's a type of economic cruelty we face today. The rich despise the poor for being poor, imaging themselves to be better and to be able to do whatever they want simply because they are rich. The poor despise the rich because the rich have money and the poor believe that if they only had money, they would be better and have a better life. People sue others just to chance this elusive goal, thinking that money is the source of happiness. Or perhaps they see it as the source of power and want more power.

Money is often used to harm rather than to help. This is not unique to the present time period, but it is certainly a problem now. People are held helpless by companies that threaten to take their job away, even if only indirectly, if they do not go along with policies. A form of extortion arises, only it's perfectly legal, despite being immoral. People abandon their moral positions simply for the "almighty dollar." The government, which should be the guardian of freedom and should be there to help the citizenry, is seen by many, perhaps by a majority, as completely incapable of handling the people's money in an effective manner. They have lost the public trust because they can't tell the difference between right and wrong.

And that is what it ultimately comes down to: Right and wrong.

Archbishop's message was the message of the Church throughout the ages, and it is the same message I profess today in this writing. Hate the sin, but love the sinner. Hate the sin. Condemn it. Call it what it is, and never equivocate. Always, though, love the sinner. Pray for the sinner. This is the true compassion +Sheen spoke about, and it is what Christ meant by the term. When we put more Christ-like compassion into the world, we will have more love in the world, the world will be a better place, and salvation will be yours.