Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Because We Don’t Celebrate Sin

Guest post by Allison 
I don’t have any delusions about the human race. We’ve been messing up our lives ever since Eve ate that apple. While we all keep sinning, in recent years in our popular culture a new trend has taken hold: celebrating sin.

This phenomenon allows us to label some people “bad boys and girls” and leaves the rest of us off the hook. If we are busy laughing at Octomom or Jon Gosselin, we don’t have to spend time contemplating our own failings. I am Catholic because my Church recognizes that we all sometimes fall short of God’s standards. And it offers us the Sacrament of Reconciliation as a way for us sorrowful sinners to redeem ourselves.

For some reason this week, I can’t get Rielle Hunter out of my head. The woman who committed adultery with presidential candidate John Edwards now is featured in the latest issue of GQ, scantily dressed and lying seductively in their daughter’s bed. Have we lost all our shame as a culture?

Please understand, I don’t mean to single out Ms. Hunter for judgment. She is merely one in a long line of lost souls who have gained fame by behaving in ways that, in an earlier generation, would have caused her and her family great shame. She and others have gone on to make money by celebrating their failings. GQ seems to be earning plenty of advertising dollars with this formula: unwed teen father Levi Johnston, who fathered a child with one of Sarah Palin's daughters, appeared shirtless in their May 2009 issue, holding his baby.

I don't want to go back to the days where we stoned adulterers. But for all the jabs we hear about  “Catholic guilt,” my Church recognizes that we do sin and offers us, through its Sacraments, an opportunity to get back into God’s sanctifying grace.

Like many parents, I worry about the world my sons will leave home for, a world that makes a mockery of the Ten Commandments, including its admonishments against adultery, and against stealing and lying. It’s a world that thinks it’s entertainment to label, often with those folks’ permission, some souls “bad boys and girls” and put them on display.

I pray that the relationships we cultivate within our parish and our wider community will help our sons understand what has lasting value. I hope they understand that their bodies are beautiful gifts from God and homes for their souls. I hope we are helping them to understand that we are to regret, not celebrate, our own sins.

The Church always offers us a chance for redemption. But we need to understand right from wrong and teach it to our children. Let us pray that our souls, and the souls of our fellow travelers, don’t lose their way to Heaven.