MORALS AND BIOETHICS
Why is the Church so strict?
There are some things I have never understood. I can't make out why masturbation is a sin. So many boys and girls do it, especially boys. Personally I don't see anything wrong with this when it is done in private. So, when a boy and a girl in love go live together without being married, it is all right with me, especially in this time of tight money. And after all, they are afraid to get married with all those divorces breaking out everywhere.
Also, when separated people, those who had an adulterous or alcoholic spouse, I mean those not responsible for the breakup, start anew with another person, they are justified to do so in true love, if it does not hurt anybody. To me, nothing seems wrong with that. The Church should not be so strict. It is so pleasant to live together when we love each other.
I could give an answer to each of these questions and each answer would prove the Church right. It would take several pages.
But to do so would be like mending a garment with ill-fitting patches. The garment would not stand any strain. It would be better to change it completely.
To use another comparison, I would feel like I was touching up the body of a car while the engine still needs repair.
I do not mean to condemn you! If I answer your questions rather than the others', it is because you speak for numerous Christians young and old. The above mentioned statements are symptomatic of a common basic attitude. It is that attitude one must change.
How can I answer without hurting you? You want me to be frank?
Well, for you as for many, sin does not exist except perhaps as a direct offense against love of neighbors... Your religion is a linear one, as it were. Where is God in your life? Is He a vague impersonal, easy-going God? A God no better than anyone of us! A God, as scholars would say, immanent but not transcendent?
If your God is Christ's God, He has revealed Himself in words and deeds. He has shown us the true way to happiness, which is not the broad, easy way of misunderstood love. Love is a tricky word, said Cardinal Suenens. What Christ demands of us through the Church leads to profound and lasting happiness. His Commandments still stand; to observe them is to love Him. "You will live in my love if you keep my Commandments" (Jn 15: 10).
If, for many people, sin is no longer a sin, be it voluntary masturbation, premarital sex or adultery, it is because these people have become their own gods with lenient dogmas and loose laws. If, even to some Catholics, such sins no longer appear to be sins, it is most likely because they misunderstand God.
Our God, who laid down His life for us out of love, invites us to transform our selfishness into true love. Because many Christians do not pay attention to Him, because they do not listen to their pastors, who speak for Him, they choose the easier, erroneous way that leads them to a dead end and soon makes them unhappy.
Today's secularism does not reckon with God. Like atheism, it finally denies God and destroys the sense of guilt. In the words of John Paul II, it numbs the conscience and puts it to sleep. In fact, such religious indifference is nothing but practical atheism.
"Unfortunately, many go about in a way which shows them to be enemies of the cross of Christ. I have often said this to you before; this time I say it with tears" (Ph 3: 18).
After all, it boils down to making a choice between a Christian or a pagan life. If one chooses Christ and prays, everything becomes clear. If we waver, let us admit our weakness and seek solace in the Lord's mercy. Christ's way is an ascending road. You will never regret having taken it!
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