Sin in the Roman Catholic Church
Sin: behaviour which is against God's laws and wishes and against principles of morality. A thought or action which we know is wrong and freely choose.
- Sin we are born with as a result of the actions of Adam and Eve
- Human beings are flawed and we are drawn to do evil and tend to sin
- Humans know the difference between right and wrong so can resist evil
Venial and Mortal Sins:
- Venial sins: sins which are not grave, not committed with full knowledge, not entirely deliberate
- Mortal sins: sins which are grave, committed with full knowledge and deliberately
Sin in the Roman Catholic Church
Sorrow and Guilt:
- Sorrow is a natural response to sin where a person has recognised their wrongdoings and wants to make things better.
- Christian conscience plays an important role in guiding a person about their moral actions.
- Guilt can make it impossible for someone to follow God's law and can lead to anxiety/depression and a sense that they are apart from God and the Church.
A World in Need of Reconciliation:
- Reconciliation: a sacrament when people who have disagreed or fought make up
- You must:
- Reconcile with yourself (all people are made in God's image)
- Reconcile with others (God wants everyone to love each other)
- Reconcile with the Church (God wants the human family to be united)
- Reconcile with God (God wants people to return to him because he loves them)
Forgiveness in the Roman Catholic Tradition
CATHOLIC TEACHINGS: "God redeems your life from the pit"
- God's love is a forgiving and saving love which saves people from their sin.
- We need to forgive others because if reconciliation is refused, divisions can never be healed.
CATHOLIC TEACHINGS: Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
- This parable teaches us that to be able to receive forgiveness, we must forgive.
- It teaches us that God's divine mercy and forgiveness should not be abused by failing to show mercy and forgiveness to others.
By turning to God, he can transform pain and give us the capacity to forgive others
The Importance of the Sacrament of Reconciliation
Why do People Avoid the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
- Fear - they are anxious about what to do, whether they will be judged etc.
- Guilt - they feel they are beyond the possibility of forgiveness
- Misunderstanding - they may feel they have done nothing wrong
Effects of the Sacrament of Reconciliation:
- Reconciliation with God and the Church
- Release from eternal punishment
- Peace and serenity of conscience
CATHOLIC TEACHING: Parable of the Forgiving Father
Causes of Crime
Crime: not obeying a law established by Government
Causes of Crime:
- Substance abuse // peer pressure // lack of financial resources
Catholic Causes of Crime:
- Person may have been tempted by devil // result of original sin
Effects of Crime:
- Can cause death/injury which can lead to high medical costs
- Society can suffer from fear of crime
- Crime can leave victim experiencing anxiety/depression
Catholic Teaching on Crime:
- We must live a life of love
- Obey Commandments
- Respect value of human life - "Do not kill"
Aims of Punishment
Retribution: To "get your own back" on criminal
Deterrence: To put people off committing a crime
Protection: To stop the criminal from hurting anyone else in society
Reform: To change someone's behaviour for the better
- "An eye for an eye" --- FOR PUNISHMENT
- "If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also" --- AGAINST PUNISHMENT
- "Father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing" --- AGAINST PUNISHMENT
Types of Punishment
Methods of Punishment:
- Advantage: Protects society and acts as a deterrent
- Disadvantage: Majority of prisoners re-offend and so don't reform
- Advantage: Acts as a deterrent and money raised can be used to benefit society as a whole
- Disadvantage: For the rich, the fine has little deterrence
- Advantage: More effective for lesser crimes and benefits society and helps criminals to reform
- Disadvantage: It is nothing to fear so doesn't act as a deterrent
The Death Penalty
Death Penalty: Form of punishment where a prisoner is put to death for their crimes
Arguments FOR Death Penalty:
- Cheaper than imprisoning someone for life
- Fear of death penalty may act as a deterrence
- Offers retribution - a life for a life
Arguments AGAINST Death Penalty:
- Lowers respect for human life
- Innocent people may be executed by mistake
- 2 wrongs don't make a right
Catholic Teaching on Death Penalty:
- The Catholic Church largely opposes the death penalty but can be justified if it is the ONLY WAY to protect society
- Goes against the sanctity of life and commandment "Thou shall not kill"
Prejudice and Discrimination
Prejudice: Unfairly judging someone before the facts are know. It is a THOUGHT.
Discrimination: ACTING on a prejudice on the basis of sex, religion, race etc.
Prejudice and discrimination reflect IGNORANCE & FEAR.
Christian Perspectives on Prejudice and Discrimination:
- All human beings are created with the image and likeness of God so should have equality.
- "Love your neighbour as yourself"
- "There is neither Jew nor Greek...for you are all one in Christ Jesus"
Race and Colour
Racism: to have prejudices about and to discriminate against a group of people based on their skin colour and racial background
Christian Responses to Racism:
- Racism is evil and destructive
- It denies the belief that all humans are made in the likeness and image of God and have dignity
- It contradicts the belief that all are one in Christ
- It contradicts the teaching "love your neighbour"
Examples of gender discrimination:
- Women are paid less than men for doing the same job
- In many areas of Afghanistan, girls are often taken out of school when they hit puberty.
Examples of gender discrimination in religion:
- Women were not allowed to serve on the altar in the Roman Catholic Church until recently
- In some parts of the world, women attending mass must cover their heads
- Some Chistians believe that men are the heads of the family and women should stay home
Catholic Teaching on Gender Discrimination:
- Church rejects any suggestion that women are not equal to men
- Women, as well as men, were created in God's image and likeness
- Although there are differences between men and women and they have different roles in the Catholic Church (i.e. only men can be priests), women should not be treated as inferior to men
Disability: when a person has a mental/physical condition that limits movement of activities
UK law promotes disability equality
Examples of Disability Discrimination:
- Physically disabled people do not often have the same opportunities in life and work/education
- Unborn babies detected as having disabilities are often aborted as they are undesired
Christian Responses to Disability Discrimination:
- Catholic Church is against any form of disability discrimination - based on the belief that all are one in Christ and made in God's image and likeness
- Disabled people should be seen as active members of the Church and not passive receivers of charity
- Church is seeking to remove all barriers to full participation in Church (e.g. Church is looking to write Bibles in braille)
Examples of religious discrimination:
- Some countries prohibit the expression of religions other than the "state" religion
- Some countries prohibit religious items like Bibles
- Muslim men are more likely to be unemployed than people from other faiths
The Right to Religious Freedom:
- UK laws state that a religious believer should be able to practice their faith freely, without discrimination
- Humans should be free to believe what they choose & not be forced to act against their beliefs
- Jesus showed acts of kindness to people of other religions --- reference to parable of the good samaritan
Arguments FOR expression of religious beliefs:
- Human rights guarantee religious freedoms --- these rights must be defended
- If you restrict the public expression of faith, you are saying that faith in general is bad
- If you don't allow people to express their religious beliefs, you are oppressing them
Arguments AGAINST expression of religious beliefs:
- There will be greater tension if everyone is allowed to express their religious beliefs
- It is more important to emphasise what is common between us rather than our differences
- Some may feel they must be more outward about their faith, even if they would rather not
Christian attitudes to the disadvantaged:
- It is important to address the needs of the poor & disadvantaged by standing up to injustice
- It is important to be a follower of Christ who associated himself with "outcasts"
- It is important to believe in the CATHOLIC TEACHING, the parable of the good samaritan
CATHOLIC TEACHING: Parable of the Good Samaritan -
Interpretations of the parable of the good samaritan:
- Being a Christian demands action, not just beliefs
- Loving God and your neighbour is at the centre of what it means to be a Christian
- Christians have a duty to help the disadvantaged - "love thy neighbour as yourself" --- everyone is your neighbour
As a result of this parable, a Christian may:
- Be more inclusive to disadvantaged people
- Become involved in organisations to help the disadvantaged
- Include people from all backgrounds into Church life