March 17-19, 2000
volume 11, no. 55

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    Every day we present a short point that helps bring into focus the treasures of the Roman Catholic Church that comprise the great Deposit of Faith.

    It is no secret that over the past thirty years fewer and fewer know their Faith and it shows with the declining number of vocations, parish participation and attendance at Holy Mass. We have the new Catechism of the Catholic Church but for the common man, the one brought up on sound bites and instant gratification, it is more of a text book and that in itself prompts them to shy away from such a tome. So what's a loyal Catholic to do in evangelizing to fellow Catholics and understand their Faith? Our answer: go back to basics - to the great Deposit of Faith. We have the Baltimore Catechism which, for unknown and ridiculous reasons, was shelved after Vatican II. We have the Holy Bible but there are so many newer versions that the Douay-Rheims and Confraternity Latin Vulgate in English versions, the ones used for so long as the official Scriptural text authorized by the Church, seem lost in a maze of new interpretations that water down the Word. This is further complicated by the fact there are so few Douay-Rheims editions in circulation though it is available on the net at DOUAY-RHEIMS BIBLE. We have so many Vatican documents available at the Vatican web site and other excellent Catholic resource sites that detail Doctrine, Dogma and Canon Law. We have the traditions, and the means of grace but how do we consolidate all these sources into one where it is succinct and easy to understand? We have the perfect vehicle. It is called "My Catholic Faith", now out of print, that was compiled by Bishop Louis Laravoire Morrow and published by My Mission House. This work ties in Scriptural references, the Sacraments, Dogmas, Doctrines, Traditions, Church documents, Encyclical and Papal decrees to clearly illustrate the Faith in simple, solid and concise terms that all can understand and put into practice. We will quote from this work while adding in more recent events and persons when applicable since the book was written in the late forties during the pontificate of Pope Pius XII. We also quote from the Catholic Almanac published by Our Sunday Visitor for the Roman Curial offices and from Old Testament Confraternity Edition and New Testament Confraternity Edition of the Saint Joseph New Catholic Edition of the Holy Bible.

    Nothing in Holy Mother Church's teaching has changed and therefore we feel confident that these daily "points of enlightenment" will help more Catholics better understand their faith, especially those who were not blessed with early formation of the faith in the home and their parish school. Regardless of where any Catholic is in his or her journey toward salvation, he or she has to recognize that the Faith they were initiated into at the Sacrament of Baptism is the most precious gift they have been given in life. For points covered thus far, click on APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

installment 133:
Occasions and Sources of Sin part one

    Vice is easily formed, but requires great struggle to overcome it. The longer a man indulges in vice, the harder is the struggle. He becomes its slave. He is completely carried away by his passions. Only the great grace of God, coupled with a resolute will, can eradicate vice, once it is strongly rooted in a man's nature. This is one reason why we must be most careful to avoid sin, in order not to become victims of vice.

    If we are so unfortunate as to fall into sin, we must at once repent and resolve to avoid it in the future. The near occasions of sin are all persons, places, or things that may easily lead us into sin.

    Most common occasions of sin are: Bad companions. One who provokes or leads us into sin is not our friend. We must stop going with that companion. One rotten apple in a basket of good apples quickly rots the rest. The same is true of human beings. Sin is a contagious disease. If we do not wish to be infected, we must go far away from it

    Another common occasion is MTV, rock bands, parties and dances. Not every dance or song is sinful. But many dances are occasions of sin; and public dances without the presence of respectable adults as chaperones are extremely dangerous. A safe rule to follow is never to go to any place where you would be ashamed to take your virtuous mother or sister. Never go anywhere you wouldn't want Jesus or His Blessed Mother Mary accompanying you.

    In many dances, the women tend to dress with extravagance and immodesty, just to "follow the fashion". Sometimes, too, dances are an occasion for the taking of liberties, due to late hours, and the spirit of unrestrained pleasure.

    Bars, nightclubs, parties where alcohol is served. These are very proximate occasions of sin, leading to intemperance, and worse evils. Those who frequent saloons and "booze parties" are likely to be not only habitual drunkards, but become involved in disputes, and finally end badly even in the temporal sense such as alienation or divorce.

    Lotteries, card games, betting can be a serious occasion of sin because money meant for something else can often be wasted on gambling, causing neglect of family, home and duties.

    Bad newspapers, magazines, questionable internet sites. These are no less dangerous because their wickedness is often not apparent, many hiding their evil under the guise of cleverness, information, science, art, etc. But periodicals gradually undermine faith and make one insensitive to evil. It is the duty of every Catholic to subscribe to a Catholic periodical, and never to favor a wicked press such as Playboy magazine or that ilk and to be very careful in what daily newspapers one reads for there can be subliminal editorial content throughout that promote the culture of death and immorality.

    5. Bad books. Many novels are harmless; some are very helpful, but many are positively wicked. We must be very careful in the selection of the books we read. There are many books of merit according to literary standards, and not offensive to Catholic morals. Many Catholic internet sites publish religious book sources There are Catholic and Christian sites that publish reviews of current fiction most useful for the general reader. We must remember that poisonous food will only kill the body, but poisonous reading kills the soul.

    Indecent films and videos. Today most of the motion pictures and video releases are not decent. All, it seems, are rated R or PG-13 and very few PG's with the number of G rated films that could be counted on your hands. We must be careful to choose only the good and, unfortunately the strong presence and influence of the Catholic National Legion of Decency is no longer thanks to greedy Hollywood moguls who have forced their own value system on audiences. In the past, the Legion of Decency, working under the hierarchy, each week issued a list giving the moral evaluation of current films; it reviewed and classified. It asked every Catholic to take a pledge not to patronize lewd pictures. Today we unfortunately don't have those safety measures thought the United States Bishops Conference does publish movie reviews on their site it is a far cry from the clout the Legion of Decency used to enjoy with everyone. Thus today, responsible Catholics have to be on their guard and on their own in monitoring not only what they watch but what their children - from toddler to teen. It is for this reason the DailyCATHOLIC added Michael Vincent Boyer's twice-weekly column HOW HOLY WOULD HELP HOLLYWOOD. He is presently preparing a feature on the history of the Legion of Decency which was formed in order to unite the laity with the hierarchy in a persistent drive to prevent the showing of lewd pictures. If every decent person kept away from such obscene and violent shows, the producers would surely make better pictures. Supply is according to the demand; we get what we ask for.

    Finally, a new occasion of sin in this generation is Video games. Quite often they are very violent and devoid of merit or any semblance of values. While the games themselves are very realistic, they tend to blind one to reality and too many youth today have difficulty deciphering the difference between violence in real life and in the virtual world. Games such as Dungeons and Dragons from the sixties gave way to the computer generation and today such violent and obscene games have given rise to violence in schools with Columbine serving as a stark reminder of this malady.

    Even games such as "Mario" or "Sonic" or "Crash Bandicoot" which are totally toon or sports games can be occasions of sin for the competitive nature of the games can prompt the players to be uncharitable or spend too much time away, thus alienating them from family and their chores and studies.

Monday: Occasions and Sources of Sin part two


March 17-19, 2000
volume 11, no. 55

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