Sunday, March 24, 2013

Catholicism Through My Eyes: Sin! has occurred to me of late...that if Lent lasted more than one more week...I might not ever go back to facebook. Of course the fact that this last week was Spring Break didn't give me much time to even check my messages....and my house is much cleaner with the absence of fb. However....I do miss my friends! Sigh!

I had to laugh. I checked my fb before I came to blogger and low and behold I had a couple of messages from people asking me if I was going to do my Sunday blog. Fear not....I am here, better late than never. I thank you for reading and once again....I hope I do my subjects justice.

Today's blog is going to be about something that we all do and most of us don't really like to think about. SIN! I was told once that the problem with Catholics is that they spend way too much time thinking about sin. This is probably true and I can't say that it is a bad thing. In any Christian religion....sin is looked upon as soul killing and they key issue that will keep us out of heaven. I did have one Protestant friend tell me once though....that they were saved, meaning that they were heaven bound regardless, therefore God forgave their sins automatically....regardless. Now I am not an expert in how Protestants believe but I would almost bet there was more to the story than this Protestant was inferring. I would say that more than likely...sin puts you sideways with God....saved or not.

Did you know that all sin is not created equal? In the Catholic church there is much talk and reference to sin and it is closely tied in with all the Seven Sacraments of the Church....and especially closely tied to the the first three Sacraments....Baptism, Penance (Confession) and  First Communion. Now here is where I am not sure how other Christian religions believe as I have been told by some that they view all sin equally horrific to God, but in the Catholic faith it is believed that there are three types of sin. The first and one that we all have because we are born with it is....Original Sin. Original sin was the sin passed on to us from Adam and Eve. Had they only listened to God and stayed away from that apple....there would be no sin, but alas....they were the first to show human frailty, human error and human arrogance in the face of God. Because of this....their sins have been passed down to all their decedents which includes each and every one of us. This is why Catholics unlike many other other Christian religions baptize as close to birth as possible. The sooner the baptism, the sooner the soul is cleansed of sin. From that point on.....we see children as basically sin free as they (in most cases) do not have the ability to openly "sin" because they don't really have the knowledge of real sin. At seven is the time we begin teaching about sin, our souls and the importance of the next two Sacraments.....penance and their first communion.

Penance as I have explained in another blog (also known as Confession or the Act of Reconciliation) is what cleanses our souls from sin in preparation for communion. In order to receive communion (the body and blood of Christ), it is imperative that our souls are as pristine as possible and penance is what accomplishes this. So you see....sin and the first three Sacraments walk hand in hand.

The other two forms of sin which I referred to are venial and mortal. A venial sin is a lessor sin such as a white lie, a slipped out curse word or an unkind thought about another person. Although still a sin, they are not soul destroying and often a heart felt Act of Contrition accompanied by true sorrow for the act and maybe even retribution such as admitting the lie to the one you lied to....will suffice until you can get to Confession. The mortal sin on the other hand is a grievous sin. This type of sin such as a willful murder, an act which harms someone either physically, spiritually or mentally or habitually committing the same sin over and over again.....can leave the soul open to evil and cause you to risk hell. These are sins you want off your soul as soon as possible and amends must be made for these acts to the best of ones ability. Dying with a such a sin on your soul endangers the soul for all eternity.

I have been told by some that they think very little about sin because sin is subjective. Not everyone sees sin in the same light nor do they view the same things as sin. In todays world...especially if you are young, I can see where this might be an issue. We are a world who seems to steer clear of labeling anything as sinful. Then there are those who view EVERYTHING as sinful. A certain Topeka, KS based Baptist church (no insult intended towards Baptists) comes to mind. So how do we really know what is sinful and what is not? God actually made it very easy for us. Back many years ago....He hand wrote the rules and gave them to Moses. Since that point in time.....they have pretty much stayed the course and new sins have been invented that don't in some way link back to the Ten Commandments of God. These ten rules have been the basis for not only church laws but also secular laws, ethics and morality. Try as some might to circumvent them.....they are still as relevant today as they were in Old Testament times. And not only that....they are the laws by which all Christians....Protestant and Catholics alike along with those of the Jewish faith all base the foundation of their religious beliefs in. So what are these Ten Commandments?

An interesting fact comes into play here. Catholics, Protestants and Jews all believe in basically the same Ten Commandments....the only difference is the wording and in some cases the way they fall numerically. Also...Protestants have a commandment about worshiping any graven images such as statues. While Catholics cover the no worshiping any other gods in the first commandment, Protestants often feel that because Catholic churches have statues that we worship them. It is an unfounded belief but still one that causes contention between the two Christian sects. Perhaps that will be a good blog for another day. At any rate....I found an interesting site called the Biblical Heritage Center, which has all three versions side by side. For sake of ease and since this is a blog about Catholicism....I will give you the Catholic version.

1. I, the Lord, am your God. You shall not have other gods besides me
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord God in vain 
3. Remember to keep holy the Lord's Day
4. Honor your father and your mother
5. You shall not kill
6. You shall not commit adultery
7. You shall not steal
8. You shall not bear false witness
9. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife
10. You shall not covet your neighbor's goods    

Regardless of the version you choose....they all give us the guide lines for what God asks of us. Disregarding these wishes in any way is to put it quite simply.....a sin. They tell us that; there is only one God and no other gods shall be worshiped, that God's name should only be used in prayer and with respect, that the Lords day should be a day of rest and one that is dedicated to the Lord through church, prayer and family; that we should always show respect to our parents; that we should not kill, we should not have sex outside of marriage, that we should not steal, lie, be jealous of someone elses spouse or what someone else has materially. They are still relevant and will be until the end of time. Yes....of course there will be debate on biblical times and biblical thinking vs. modern times and modern thinking but still today....morality and ethics tells us that stealing, lying and cheating are wrong. We do tend to get off kilter though when we start trying to mesh God's law with man's law as often man's law is secular and has justification built into it, thus believing that somehow it is okay to veto God's law. Perhaps this is why my mom always said that "Just because man makes a law does not always mean it is a good law." Important words to always keep in mind.

Because of all the man vs. God law making and because we as humans fall prey to our own wants and desires as well as what society says opposed to what God says....sin is committed daily. However...when we break the Ten Commandments we are committing a mortal grievous sin because we are breaking God's specific rules. It as if a child commits an act which a parent "specifically" tells them not to commit. That is going to carry a much heavier sentence than say not putting his clothes in the hamper or forgetting to set the table. The child is in the wrong for all three, but the one that is going to get him in the most trouble is the one where he was deliberately defiant against his parents wishes. The wonderful thing about God and sin though.....with true sorrow and a willingness to avoid future sin....God ALWAYS forgives even the most horrific of sins, an ability that most humans have not nor will ever master.

So there you have it....SIN! It is something that we all fall prey to. We have all done it on one level or another and we will all likely do it again. I have often wondered how different things would have been if Adam and Eve had just listened to God that day, but us humans often do.....they chose the hard way and gave us a legacy that has caused wars, crime and if we aren't very eternity in hell.


Arthur said...

This is a very interesting blog. I had no idea the way catholics viewed sin. This does make sense as to why catholics baptize babies. I always thought it was just a way a to brain wash the kids into a belief early. I know that sounds bad but that is how I was taught. Understanding the thinking behind something other than just the prejudice of others helps to me to understand catholics a little better. I have catholic friends and these Sunday blogs you do helps me to see things about them a little better. As a protestant to a catholic let me say thank you for the time you spend doing this.

Anonymous said...

It has been years since I have attended church and this blog took me back to my old Baltimore Catechism days. I hadn't heard the terms original, venial and mortal sin in years. Although I took a break from religion in general I still can't help but get irritated when I hear someone speak in ignorance when it comes to the catholic church or its beliefs. I like that you try to clear up myths and misinformation that many have about catholics. I have to say that today's blog almost made me homesick. I have no doubt you will give some grief on the topic of sin because most of us don't like the fact that we are all sinners thrown in our face. Sometimes the truth sucks. Great blog.

Anonymous said...

I like this because it really shows that catholics, protestants and jews are really not that far removed in their beliefs. Well there is that whole not believing in Jesus thing with the jews but in our basic core and moral beliefs we all fall back on the 10 Commandments. Nice blog.

Anonymous said...

Do you teach religious ed at your church? If not then you should. I think you should teach an adult class because even as a Catholic you have brought up certain things in your weekly blog that I did not know. I find it interesting and informative and feel that your church is doing itself a disservice by not utilizing your Catholic education to the fullest. Another nice blog.

Anonymous said...

Reading these comments it looks like you do this blog weekly. Why? Are you an expert on religion or are you just trying to shove religion down others peoples throats. I am no friend to any religion, sect or cult but I especially do not like people who try to make the world religious and spout their garbage as if anyone gives a f*ck. There has to be some kind of sin involved in shoving religious beliefs in the face of people who aren't interested. How about, thou shalt keep thy religious rantings to thyself and shut up!

J'nelle said...

Hey dude, there is an easy fix to this. Don't read it. This blog is actually pretty interesting. She isn't shoving anything down anyones throat. She started it as explanation of what Catholics believe as opposed to what the rest of the world thinks they believe and do. She has also stated she is no expert that these are just her thoughts and how she believes. Maybe if you had actually done your research before spouting off you might have known this. I love this blog and I have learned a lot. Don't like, then don't read it.

Anonymous said...

Haters gonna hate!!! Some people just hate anything that has to do with religion. God forbid anybody open their mind and actually learn something. Keep up the good work cmom and ignore the ignorant stupidity of people like anonymous up above. He obviously is one who likes to make issues where none exist.

Anonymous said...

How christian of you to call someone ignorant and stupid because they don't agree with you. I didn't do my research because truthfully it didn't interest me enough to read back any further. I read today's blog and felt preached to. Is that how this person explains the differences between catholics and others by spouting her religion? Doesn't sound like much of an explanation to me. Sin! Is she an expert? Makes you wonder just how sinful this little miss is. In order to be an expert you have to have experience. Should you all be taking expert advice from someone who is such an expert in "sin"? Christians! What a bunch of hypocritical crap!

J'nelle said...

What are you talking about anonymous? She never claimed to be an expert and I think at least one other person here told you that. These are her opinions and beliefs. Not her expert opinions and beliefs and I think she also said that we all commit sin. That would include her. You too for that matter. I know that you are here to stir up issues and I know that I shouldn't be buying into it all, but I would hate for someone to read your remarks and take them as fact instead of just what they are, your uneducated opinion on a subject you know nothing about.

Anonymous said...

How do you piss off a christian? Disagree with them. So because I don't think this blogger is a saint for throwing out such ridiculous christian folklore I am uneducated. Again let me say what a christian attitude that is. Not surprising though as it is the typical christian attitude the world is used to.

Ben said...

J'nelle leave this conversation disturber alone.

I know what you are trying to do but you will never succeed because he or she is not doing it with any point other than to cause a fight. I doubt he or she cares one thing for or against religion they simply are here to see if they can bait others into an argument.

As long as anyone responds then they are getting their jolly's and will continue with this ridiculousness. I have seen this before on blogs and you can tell this person has no real point because they make no real point. They are just generally throwing BS bombs at Christians to see who will bite. The fact that this person keeps repeating things that anyone who has read this blog or any of the other religious blogs the blogger wrote and knows aren't true, shows that this person is just trying to fuel a fire he or she started. Just ignore this person and I guarantee that he will move on to another blog and try to start the same thing.

These blogs are great blogs and no fight baiter is going to turn this bloggers readers away.

Anonymous said...

Wow Ben. You have hurt me to the core. You know me so well. It couldn't be that I am commenting because of the hypocritical way christians talk, believe and try to shove their beliefs down my throat. No it must be because I am just trying to start a fight. I made some very good points about both this blog and christians in general but of course I am just a rogue blog disturber and now I have been found out. My point and my only point was that this blogger is trying to make christians and catholics especially sound like they are above the rest of the world. Catholics only are guilty of the those small venial sins while the rest of the world is accused of the large mortal sins. I can't believe more of you were not upset. I am done here. Drink the religious grape juice and follow this self proclaimed expert. I really don't care. This is why christians give the world a such a huge pain in the arse.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else feel like the above commenter was reading a different blog than the rest of us?

Anonymous said...

Someone else made the comment about catholics baptizing babies. I had always thought this was so strange as we usually let kids of our faith choose when they want baptism. Sometimes it doesn't happen until they are young adults. Reading todays blog now it makes sense why catholics baptize as babies. I had never heard of original sin in the context of us being born with it, but apparently catholics are not the only ones who believe this. If you think about it, it does make sense. Thanks blogger. Another great blog.

KSTaterbug said...

He/She must have been reading something different. I am not a Catholic and I thought the entire blog was very interesting. For some reason this person who has the right to remove himself from the blog at the very moment that his sensibilites become offended, felt that he needed to comment on something that I'm not even sure he read. Lisa never once "proclaimed" that she was an expert. He/She is just being a total jerk. Go find someone else to bother!

Erin Pascal said...

Very interesting post indeed. It's a very good post and a very good read in my humble opinion. Thanks for sharing your thoughts to us. May God bless you. :)