Sin: where’s the social consequence?

If I touch a hot stove, I burn my hand. If I hold my breath too long, I turn blue. If I watch too much America’s Next Top Model, my brain is oozes out my ears. Totally logical consequences to bad decisions.

But what happens when I move in with my boyfriend before I’m married? Or I abort my baby because I’m not ready to be a mom? Or I start dating women? Or I decide to stop going to church?  Also bad decisions… but consequences… what consequences?

In world that’s given up God, and almost altogether abandoned any idea of natural law, living free and fearless is the new gold standard. Because what is there to fear? Whatever happens, you’re perfect just the way you are and the universe loves you no matter what. Go on! Move in with your significant other. What’s the difference anyhow… now or after some silly ceremony? Have the abortion. That baby wouldn’t have had the life it deserved anyway. Give the same sex a try. If you didn’t, you’d just be denying who you really are. Forget church. You have your own, personal spirituality and that’s what counts.

Where are the hard realities, the social stigmas that once were, when you shacked up before marriage or had a baby out of wedlock? When we know that “every sin is social, insofar as and because it also has social consequences,” (Compendium 117), where are the consequences? How are so many of my friends and loved ones happily cohabiting, contracepting, leaving the Church… without any objection from others?

They are either ignorant of the costs of their decisions or they are too chicken to face them. And sadly, it makes sense… because we live in a world of accommodations. Nobody likes being uncomfortable or unhappy when they have the option to avoid it. The joy and reward of sacrifice and struggle has gone out the window and been replaced with vapid, feel-good pleasantries.

How awkward is it to instruct the ignorant, when we can simply hold their hand and say “God loves you no matter what”? How can you tell someone that their hard and fast plan for x-amount of children, their premarital sex life, their laissez-faire attitude toward faith & church… is a grave offense to their loving God …without spurring a fiery argument, or at the very least, hurt feelings and a strained relationship. You can’t. Especially in the midst of an evermore secular society that’s continuously affirming individuality, independence and pride.

And for fear of these challenges, the faithful (myself included) have quietly cooperated in the devil’s great plan of veiling the social consequence of sin. And the taboos are fading away, as fewer begin to worry about the opinions of others when they unabashedly disobey God’s commandments, without anyone holding them accountable.

Lost sheepFor every Catholic you know marrying in a protestant beach wedding, hosting a housewarming party with their cohabiting partner, saying “yes” to the pleasure of intimacy but “no” to God’s gift of life, celebrating their disordered sexuality, obtusely justifying their sin after much “prayer” and the “discernment” that God just wants them to be happy … where is your loving, instructive voice of truth to help guide these lost sheep home?

We must ask for God’s mercy on us all, and seek His grace that we may become renewed beacons of light and restored salt of the earth, for “…if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” Matthew 5:13. We must be bold in our faith, using not just our actions but the voice of the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel and bring souls back to Christ.

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