Pen as Sword - Social Commentary

Everywhere in Chains … part 3 …

Two nights in a row of freezing rain, 3 days ago -20 degrees Celsius, then warming to +5 in the afternoon. Mornings are a skating rink, and of course everything is coated in a thick layer of ice. Used up 4 20 Kilo bags of ice melter salt in the last two days.  Coffee’s good though and Primrose Lake Pickerel for supper, Yum. Civilization is nice and comfortable. Rule of Law, peace, all those little things that folks just take for granted.  I work daily with the elderly. My mother died last June. My mother in law is 82 and on her way even thought she is in total denial. The utter banal tragedy of human pride.  It is hard to delude oneself when death, dying and the dead are all around one.

Thinking a lot about FIAT as I go through my days. Thinking of all the little irritations in life.Thinking about my disquiet when I perceive that things are not developing along the paths I believe are right and good.

The Universal Church in all it’s byzantine politicization. The concept of Social Sin. “Communism in a Cassock”, seen this all before as a recovering victim of that orgy of family violence called Vatican II.  Am I going to fall into the same traps as I did 50 years ago? I don’t think so, I am older, more experienced with the ways of men and more patient. Taking the long view. Reading the Old Testament. Lots of food for thought there.

My relatives … hmmm … no blood relatives to worry about any more,  just in-laws, trying to see them as souls and children of God.  Difficult, as they go out of their way to make sure that  I know that they do not believe in any such rubbish.  Of course I am a rude, appalling redneck, not really fit company in their social circles (unless they need something I can do of course).  Relatives, … a good opportunity to practice charity and selfless love. I suspect that is why they are in my life now.  Business – Year-End,  nuf said.

FIAT –  MY plans and desires, MY wishes, MY favorite sins these days all seem to be in my head, my thoughts about the situation, and other people, the news, events in the world, willful stupidity in some quarters.  There is a tendency today by some in the Church only to use the word sin when they are referring to the so-called “social sins” like sexism, racism, genocide, oppression of the poor. This view has dangerous consequences: it leads to a decline in the sense of personal responsibility for one’s actions, one’s own sin(s) and awareness of personal sinfulness and so the need for personal forgiveness. The Holy Father (JP II) dealt with this question in Reconciliatio et Paenetentia (no.16). This is an excellent and instructive article – straight from the horses mouth – so to speak. Take it seriously.

When I feel resentment and disagreement because I do not see the Church proceeding along a path that I approve of; when I personally object to the palace purge of stalwart defenders of Truth in the name of “better relations with the world”, and so on and so forth … how am I any different from the legions of schismatics, and protestant “reformers” throughout history  who decided they knew better than Holy Mother Church.  NON SERVIAM is as big a deal now as it was when there were only Angels and God.  It is God’s Church. Not mine.  Who am I to suggest that God does not know what he is doing? The Old Testament is one long tale of human woe.  Rise, fall forgiveness, rise, fall, forgiveness, rise, fall, forgiveness, and so on ad nauseam. man always seems to fall into the trap of deciding that he know best how things “should” be.  Over and over again and never learning anything? Isn’t there some definition of insanity that touches on that theme? FIAT?

My own spiritual experience can be condensed into:  WOW!  This is so cool.  Oh My God!  God?  If I was God I would …  There is no God!  Why don’t these idiots get this?  I am God. Why the hell isn’t this working? Hello, my name is Bruce, and I am not God.  Why don’t these idiots get this???  Listen Lord, your servant is speaking.  Don’t you hear me? What the hell?  HELL! WOW!  and so it goes, full circle only now I am just trying to shut up and listen. Sin is personal. No one is exempt. No one is special. From Cain to Joe in one long unbroken chain. FIAT?

Sin is always a personal act, an act of freedom of will on the part of an individual person and not of a group. Non Serviam is an individual expression of free will.  An individual may be indoctrinated, conditioned, incited and influenced by numerous and powerful external factors. He or she may also be subjected to tendencies, defects and habits linked to his or her person. In many cases external and internal factors may reduce the person’s freedom and therefore his responsibility and guilt. But it is a truth of faith, confirmed by our experience and reason, that the human person is free. This truth cannot be disregarded in order to place the blame for individuals’ sins on external factors such as structures, systems or other people. I believe that were I a young man in Iraq now, born into that culture, I would be one of those fellows hiding behind chequered table cloths.  So what have I done in the past that compares and where does that leave me now – asking forgiveness and mercy? FIAT?

To remove personal responsibility for sin denies the individual person’s dignity and freedom, which are manifested in this responsibility for sin committed. Therefore there is nothing so personal and untransferable in each individual as merit or virtue or responsibility for sin. We. are. guilty.  As a personal act, sin has its most important consequences in the sinner himself, in his relationship with God, who is the foundation of human life. It also weakens his spirit, his will, and his intellect. At this point we must ask what was being referred to by those who frequently speak of social sin.  The expression and the concept in fact have various meanings.

To speak of social sin means in the first place to recognize that, by virtue of human solidarity which is as mysterious and intangible as it is real and concrete, each individual’s sin in some way affects others. This is the other aspect of that solidarity which on the religious level is developed in the profound and magnificent mystery of the communion of saints, thanks to which it has been possible to say that “every soul that rises above itself, raises up the world.” To this law of ascent there unfortunately corresponds the law of descent. Consequently one can speak of a communion of sin, whereby a soul that lowers itself through sin drags down with itself the church and, in some way, the whole world.

In other words, there is no sin, not even the most intimate and secret one, the most strictly individual one, that exclusively concerns the person committing it. With greater or lesser violence, with greater or lesser harm, every sin has repercussions on the entire ecclesial body and the whole human family. According to this first meaning of the term, every sin can undoubtedly be considered as social sin.  Some sins, however, by their very matter constitute a direct attack on one’s neighbor and, more exactly, in the language of the Gospel, against one’s brother or sister. They are an offense against God because they are offenses against one’s neighbor. These sins are called social sins, and this is the second meaning of the term.

In this sense social sin is sin against love of neighbor, and in the law of Christ it is all the more serious in that it involves the Second Commandment, which is “like unto the first.” Love thy neighbour as thyself. Forgive thy neighbour as thyself. Likewise, the term social applies to every sin against justice in interpersonal relationships, committed either by the individual against the community or by the community against the individual; every sin against the rights of the human person, beginning with the right to life, including the life of the unborn; every sin against a person’s physical integrity; every sin against others’ freedom, especially against the supreme freedom to believe in God and adore him; every sin against the dignity and honor of one’s neighbor; every sin against the common good and its exigencies in relation to the broad spectrum of rights and duties of citizens.

The term social can be applied to sins of commission or omission – on the part of political, economic or trade union leaders, who though in a position to do so, do not work diligently and wisely for the improvement and transformation of society according to the requirements and potential of the given historic moment; as also on the part of workers who through absenteeism or non- cooperation fail to ensure that their industries can continue to advance the well-being of the workers themselves, of their families and of the whole of society.

The third meaning of social sin refers to the relationships between the various human communities. These relationships are not always in accordance with the plan of God, who intends that there be justice in the world and freedom and peace between individuals, groups and peoples. Thus the class struggle, whoever the person who leads it or on occasion seeks to give it a theoretical justification, is a social evil. Likewise obstinate confrontation between blocs of nations, between one nation and another, between different groups within the same nation – all this too is a social evil. In both cases one may ask whether moral responsibility for these evils, and therefore sin, can be attributed to any person in particular.

I am thinking of the recent Martyrs in Libya.  In earlier times it took 500 years of slaughter before Christianity finally rose up and confronted evil.  The utter asininity of Obama’s pontification on the Crusades beggars the imagination.  The progressives who choose to ignore history in favour of their fantasy  “du jour” are truly doomed to repeat it in all it’s brutality.  How long will we wait this time around? Or are there even enough real Christians left now to do anything about this evil.  Is thinking these thoughts a sin?  Is this Social Sin? This world is not what matters. What if it all ends tomorrow? Fixing my culture is not my job. Fixing my Church is not my job.  We are all men and all commanded to fix our own souls first. FIAT.

Realities and situations such as those described, when they become generalized and reach vast proportions as social phenomena, almost always become anonymous, just as their causes are complex and not always identifiable. Hence if one speaks of social sin here, the expression obviously has an analogical meaning. However, to speak even analogically of social sins must not cause us to underestimate the responsibility of the individuals involved. It is meant to be an appeal to the consciences of all, so that each may shoulder his or her responsibility seriously and courageously in order to change those disastrous conditions and intolerable situations.

This truth cannot be disregarded.  All this useless struggle and sin is just pride of self – the fantasy of the eternal self, the self at the center of all things. We are not expected or commanded to win in this world – that is the purview of the devil and his legions. Humans who strive to win in this world are simply “Useful Idiots” to revive a Cold War figure of speech.







Disclaimer for nitpickers: We take pride in being incomplete, incorrect, inconsistent, and unfair. We do all of them deliberately



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