Monday, September 15, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Beauty a Necessity

Ran into a friend at the park a few weeks ago. We got to talking about this and that. We talked about our lack of money. Interestingly, she confirmed and strengthened something I was saying: that there is having a beautiful home and then there is debilitating squalor. I said that I was quite prepared for not having the one - only old people and dual-incomers have beautiful homes, anyway - but I was not willing to accept the other. I was not willing to live in squalor.

My family and I are forced to live significantly below the level I enjoyed growing up. I don't mind too much - as long as there is enough to pay the bills, more or less, and that that Visa doesn't rise too high too quickly. I will have cheap flooring, but I will not have a stained carpet. I will lack nice fixtures, but a ripped couch is too much. My family has never gone on a vacation to brag about, you know like Florida or some place like that. And we have only been able to visit our families in Nova Scotia and PEI on average about every third year. No NHL games in Ottawa, not even on cable! No trendy clothes, no flashy car, none of that stuff. Another friend of mine liked to talk the car doors her dad used to have to tie shut with a rope. Embarrassing then, no doubt, rather humorous to recall now. There can be a certain charm in poverty.

I was just glancing at an article on the rising death rate in Russia. When I think of life there I think of those huge, ugly apartment building the Commies put up. Talk about demoralizing. Poverty equals demoralization. If we wonder why depression is a First World more than a Third World problem it has something to do with beauty, I am sure. Perhaps Third World people are closer to nature, on average?

CNN recently came out with an article on the houses of Archbishops. It was interesting to see their houses, but it was rather unfairly presented. I won't go into it here, better men than me could explain it. But one thing I found ironic was the praise lavished on Pope Francis for his humble lifestyle, and by way of proof they offer this picture of his bedroom:

Now, where I come from that's gorgeous. Would you like to see a picture of my bedroom? No, you wouldn't. Our fifteen-year-old mattress sucked when we bought it. By contrast, the Pope's bedroom is beautiful. It's small, but it's beautiful. I can't imagine how much the flooring and the furniture cost. But it's not my point to criticize the Pope - far from it.

Size isn't everything when it comes to wealth and beauty. The Mona Lisa is surprisingly small. Those endless tracks of Commie housing are large - large and ugly. When I lived in the cathedral rectory in Halifax, it was large, but nothing to write home about. Whatever you might think about the life of Pope Francis and his predecessors, they were surrounded by beauty, and that is no small thing.

I don't envy my friends in Ottawa, Toronto, etc., whether they have more money than me or not. Cities are uglier than Barry's Bay, and that is a kind of wealth I get to enjoy. My brother recently moved his family from Toronto to rural Nova Scotia. Beauty called him, whether he was conscious of it or not. The false beauty of cities is no substitute for the real thing. The popularity of i-this and i-that is due to the aesthetic superiority of those products over those of the other companies. That they are over-priced has proved no barrier to their popularity.

Leaves die with beauty. Trees then barren of their foliage on windswept winter plains, also beautiful.

Beauty is not relative, but it is sometimes unexpected. Beauty, will not save the world, but it can help to heal it, much like understanding, compassion, generosity, justice, and fun can help to heal it.

But beauty must be shared. I can share the beauty of my town with my hospitality to summer tourists. Sure, they make the lines in the grocery store a little longer,  but they are here for the same reason anyone goes to a hospital, for healing. Let me make beautiful things - beautiful words, if I can, to celebrate beautiful ideas, present pictures of beauty: that is what I want The Catholic Review of Books to do.

Christians must share beauty. Let us consider it among the spiritual works of mercy. If there is someone poorer than you perhaps buy them something they would never buy for themselves, an expensive bouquet of flowers, not the ones from the grocery store, the ones from the florist. Buy a poorer friend their favorite book, but in the Folio Society edition. Buy them a lovely lamp, not the ones you get at Walmart, but something from a store your friend would never have the gall to go in, perhaps from an antique dealer. A painting, a lovely print, a statue.

For me, there is something about beautiful words. I read a bit of Shakespeare, and I am amazed and delighted. My friend, Breann has written some beautiful poems. What a great gift to the world!

I have Barry's Bay, Maria's smile, Anne-Marie's charms, and the scratchings I produce I call writing. Beauty is as necessary as food and knowledge.

Thus revealing my hitherto undisclosed passion for lamps and flowers.
No, not my house. It costs way to much to look that 'simple' and 'charming'.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Messenger, not Message

The most irritating thing that I came across on the internet was a friend posting this t-shirt on Facebook.

My friend is a good guy and I am sure put the 'right spin' on what I would call an altogether unhelpful, misguided and objectively cowardly sentiment.

I don't want to analyze why it is wrong and the one possible right interpretation of it. I want to address my rather exaggerated reference to it as 'cowardly.' Aren't I going a bit too far there?

I want to talk about how we get in the way of God's work. We do this in a million ways. I might do it, for instance, through preferring profit to the cultural evangelization I try to do. I might do it by trying to appear as a good Catholic because it makes me feel good about myself, I want others to think well of me, and give me social or economic preferment. As an intellectual I may do it: to sell books, to get a good professorship, to gain distinctions, or simply because I want others to think of me as smart and as holy, someone important.

One particularly pernicious part of this today lies in wanting others to see how easy-going we are, open-minded, tolerant and all that. It's the whole 'who am to judge' stick. I don't mind who gets married type of thing. How big of you! You are so generous about something that doesn't effect your life in any immediate sense at all!

It's all about 'seeming' these days. Even good Catholics can fall into this. They might mention how many non-Catholic friends they have, how nice they are to those gay people, and all that. The fact that you have no negative feelings about people who's lives don't impact your own at all doesn't make you virtuous; the opposite would be insanity! It's not good enough to not be insane. The only thing tolerance of evil reveals is the you don't understand why it's bad. Tolerance of evil just means you aren't very smart, or at least very thoughtful. But extroverts can't help themselves. lol.

The old adage "preach the Gospel, use words if necessary" is overdone because it too easily fits into the soft touch evangelization that lets you off too easily, preserving your open-minded image.

So here's a thought: stop worrying about your self: you are not part of the Gospel message.

So if someone gets angry with me because of something I write, what do I care? Either they are ready for the Gospel or not. The only thing I have to worry about is how accurate I was. I don't want to hurt people - I never set out to do that - but it is equally important that I do not try to ingratiate myself. Priests and bishops are very susceptible to this. It's hard being a party-pooper bishop all the time, so it's understandable that they would feel tempted like this. Like smiley Cardinal-bishop of New York not 'having a problem with' the final demise of the Catholic St. Patrick's Day Parade. It's so important to look nice. Catholics are always saying win people over with kindness and a good image. I say no, don't do that. It's too hazardous for you. It's too hazardous to your salvation and your growth in holiness.

Here's a thought: when did it become a part of Christian discipleship for Christians to have policies of their own? "I don't have a problem with..." I don't recall the apostles speaking that way. Or the Fathers and Doctors. What you do or do not have a problem with is irrelevant. Christians are disciples of Christ, messengers, ambassadors. My life is Christ.

I have no idea what the context was, but I recently read that when Pope Benedict made his famous Regensburg Address, a certain cardinal said that the speech didn't reflect his personal view. Unless the context radically adjusts things, such a statement exemplifies everything I am talking about. First of all, a Cardinal is the pope's assistant, second, as a Christian, he is Christ's messenger - so who cares about his opinion as his opinion? - third, Ratzinger is the world greatest expert on Catholicism, so from a purely human perspective it was temerarious to say the least to call his interpretation into question.

So just come out and say stuff! So few people are willing to put themselves on the line for Christ. It's much easier to be quiet, isn't it? But you only get one life. Join the stream of those who have lost their jobs and their businesses for Christ - this is the glorious army of white-robbed martyrs today!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Plight of the Double-Dippers

We are all members of the two cities, for sure. Sure, there is something about more conservative Christians that - these days - make them stand apart more from the earthly city, but we all have 'commitments' to things that are not of God.

A small, small incident on Facebook the other day got me kind of flabbergasted and Anne-Marie couldn't quite sympathize with my ruffledness as I excitedly tried to explain my concern on our walk the other night.

A very smart young lady who styles herself a liberal Catholic - and seems to mean both words - brought up (and then quickly dropped) the matter of women in the workforce. One of her statements really bowled me over. I said something like men who have opinions on the matter are likely thinking about the fact that children need their moms at home. She said there were social programs for that. I kid you not.

I think that what riled me was how out of touch I am with the 'ways of the world.' None of my friends believes things like that. And, evidently, anyone who does believe things like this doesn't feel comfortable enough to voice them within my hearing. About a year-and-a-half ago a relative told me she was grateful for being able to take, I don't know, something like a year of maternity leave from her job. Now, let me contextualize for you. Both she and her husband work, and each one individually pulls in about three times what I earn a year. So as a family they earn about six times as much as us. But we have something they don't: Anne-Marie was at home for our children's entire childhood - at least so far!

Don't give me the tired responses of some women need to blah blah blah. Yes, I know that. I had another family member who's marriage fell apart, who was the mom of two young children. She is not in the category of the above.

So this is where I am starting from:

It is gravely sinful to leave children with 'social programs' if you do not absolutely have to.

That's my opinion, and if you don't like it, go to another blog.

I guess what astounded me with this young woman, a highly educated, so-called theology doctoral student, was that she had a very different read of natural law than I do. How can two people who are apparently drawing from the same fonts - Scripture, Tradition, and the anthropology associated with these - and with roughly the same IQ differ on such a fundamental thing?

Okay. One the one hand, I am a 39-year-old father of six. I have been married for 15 years. She is in her early 20s, no kids, just married. Aristotle would have said, "There, you nailed it, she's too young to possess wisdom."

But, of course, there are 39-year-olds out there who would agree with her. But age doesn't make you wise either.

Qualifications for wisdom, the absence of any of which deny you of it:

1) age
2) experience
3) knowledge
4) proper human formation, including a normal, aka natural upbringing.

This young lady perhaps only possessed number (3). I have no idea about number (4) - but that is becoming more and more of a problem today. Imagine trying to talk about natural law, for instance, in China with its mandated universal abortion rules is nonsense. Yes, there are cultures and contexts which remove from man the adequate knowledge of himself such as will annul any attempt to effectively reason morally.

Now, of course, to discountenance someone's argument because they are too young is an ad hominem error, but I am not doing so because of who said it but because of what she said.

The question for me is, how can someone with (3) arrives at such an odd conclusion, that in general children don't need to have a mother at home, but that social programs are satisfactory? Well, we would have to admit that there is also likely a problem in (3). How do I know what her fancy learning included and failed to include? I took two graduate theology degrees and didn't have single course in sacraments - not by choice, but the program failed to include any. So, it is quite possible that this girl has not or has not yet had a course that adequately presents Catholic teaching on anthropology, family, etc. More than possible. This young lady seems quite immersed in a worldly academic milieu, so that suggests a lot about her course choices, etc.

Okay, all of that aside, I want to get a little deeper here, and consider two things:

1) what kind of error is this?
2) do I adhere to any equivalent ones?

1) I will never forget a very wise priest once having said to me that an error about contraception is not a small one. We were talking about a High Anglican I know and remarking that the 'so Catholic' thing doesn't extend to our teaching on contraception. It is not a small error. Why? Because sexuality is a big deal. Sexuality is an intimate interpersonal human act. Sometimes when you don't know how to appraise how big a deal something is you have to ask yourself: why does someone view life this way: why do they think abortion, contraception, etc., the way they do? So, if we are talking about 'moms not raising their own kids' we can certainly figure out that the idea did not come from a Christian source. We can say a lot of things about it, like that Christianity is about living the quiet life and all that, one focused on prayer, doing good to others - especially family, the Word of God, the sacraments, etc. When we consider the 'woman having it all' model we just know it's not very Christian. In case someone thinks that I am unfairly targeting women here I am quite comfortable with putting male CEOs, politicians, pop singers, and many others in this category too. We can't say that all working women are living an unChristian life, nor all make politicians etc., but we can say that it is a very precarious type of existence.

But what about the woman who is deeply driven to a certain type of work but who wants a family too? Well, there is lots we can say. One obvious one is, take several years away from working 9 to 5 when you have young children at home. The response, but that will get her behind her (male) peers, might be true, but it doesn't change the fact that it is wrong to not raise your own kids in the best loving environment you can. A man who works 60 hours a week is also not living a very Christian kind of life and is sinning against his family, if he can at all do otherwise.

Of course, I am aware that so many people do this kind of thing, have this kind of idea. I am just surprised when it comes from someone who should know better. I am still haunted by someone I met in Ottawa who has a large family and says he works 70 hours a week, and doesn't seem to think that is something that a Catholic father should avoid at almost all cost. Money is a filthy preoccupation when it overrides family life. I can't pretend it's not. Fathers doing this to their families is a outrageous as the things we condemn in societies of the past - child labour in 19th Century England, slavery in Rome, etc. We just can't see it. Putting child in daycare at one year of age just so mom and dad can work of their careers is that bad.

Mothers doing this sort of thing is celebrated, but so was the ownership of vast numbers of slaves in Rome. Abortion, contraception, same.

2) This is worth a great deal of consideration. It's much easier to spot other people's unChristian commitments than your own, certainly. If I can be riled by one person 'apostasy,' am I guilty of the equivalent. Only a fool would fail to consider the possibility.

The first thing that appears to me is putting my kids in public Catholic school. Am I blind to the sort of things I condemned in another? For starters, we have never started any of the kids before 5, and am not all that crazy about that. I try to get to the school whenever I can to volunteer, keep on top of what the kids are up to, talk to them about what they do in school. I wouldn't refuse to home-school if I felt it necessary. Do I think five-year-olds being away from home for 6 hours a day is ideal? No. But I am open to reconsidering if a sufficiently strong argument is offered.

Should I feed my kids processed meat, like bologna? gluten? refined sugar? No one lives forever. Make them brush their teeth four times a day? Give them every kind of vitamin out there? Make them jog an hour a day? These things seem foolish, but if I was to learn that bologna was given my children some disease I would stop them from eating it.

What about their friends, internet, daily mass, team sports? Should I get rid of all the carpets in my house?

Should I send Anne-Marie to work because we don't make enough money? Should I send the kids out to work?

Get rid of my car because of CO2 exposure? Do I teach the kids enough catechism? Do I expose them to enough homosexuals, cripples, poor people, do they dress modestly enough...

I am really searching here for some things as blatant as leaving your kids to the state so that women can get ahead in the world.

We are so committed to worldly things that we cannot see so many things about ourselves that are unwholesome. I look back now and I think that having started a family the same time I started grad school in a very un-lucrative field like theology was a mistake. I doubt I would do the same thing again if I had it to do over. It was, in part, fueled by worldly desires - the desire to achieve, make money, gain respect, the respect of my father not least of all. Those are not wholesome desires, although these were at play too; the desire to know God better and the desire to spread the Gospel. No, I never left my kids with the state. I left them with their mom, and frankly, I was around a lot more with my kids than most to 9 to 5 dads get to be.

But, of course, it's not about the mistakes we have made. It's about the mistake we are making now.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Definition of Me is not a Date

Since my second year of university, or maybe the third, the first week of September has been laden with truly positive, happy meaning for me. That was when I fell in love with academia: as a student first and then as a professor. It was the most exciting time of the year for me, more than Christmas, I'd say.

But now that I am not teaching, and in fact living down the street from a school I loved - a very blatant presence as one of the only institutions in the town in which I live! - September is not quite the same. There is a bit of sadness now mixed in.

The joke about parents is that they can't wait until their kids go back to school. I don't really feel that way. I am not complaining that the house is a little quieter right now, but I miss my kids very easily.

But do I really want my life to change? I would certainly like money enough to live off of, so as to maintain the house better than we possibly can right now, and give Anne-Marie more peace of mind, but other than that, I could not possibly be happier about what my life consists in right now. Yes, I miss  the enthusiasm and curiosity of that rare student; I miss the lightheartedness of young people in general - but not enough to want to be doing other than I am doing right now. I know I have been blessed to finally get to do what I have thought about for literally 15 years - writing and publishing, being my own man, my own creative mind.

The fact is, teaching always implies people-pleasing. And, if you are a convicted Christian who has thought about right and wrong, and is not governed by any unassailable sinful drives, the check to our behavior that is people-please cannot add much, and probably only take away from our freedom in Christ. Some people who are ignorant and mean and clueless about social norms could use the people-pleasing baseline of the super-ego (which they seem to lack), but I honestly think that it only decreases me, at least as I am now. In other words, I am better on my own, as my own boss. Teaching is people-pleasing: your students, your bosses, your fellow-teachers. I know better than just about anyone my age the evils of the workforce for a strong-minded Catholic man. Everyone thinks they are so open-minded and easy-going, but they are nasty, small-minded, brutish, and petty. I want to be away from that. I need to be away from that to be a better person, a happier and less cynical person. This is not to say that I would never teach again, but I am not actively looking.

I would take the right position were it to come along, but I have come to conclude that I seem to spontaneously rub people the wrong way, despite my best intentions. For good and ill I am not all that fit to be around. I don't really know what I do, but people usually think that I am judgmental or something. I know people find me and my 5'9'' frame a little intimidating. Actually, it's likely my learning, self-confidence (well, a great front, anyway!) and willingness to question received wisdom that alienates people.

But I don't care!

Being "comfortable in your own skin" is not just a pleasant, wise-sounding phrase of the kind that they like to use at Madonna House. It is a fact, and a thing rarely found among us. Frankly, I will not pretend to agree with people. I will readily admit I don't know things, but not pretend that your idea is good when in fact it's crap. That seems to bother people.

I am nice. I think I am extraordinarily nice. Some say that's not a virtue. I think it is. It's not the highest one by any means, but it is a good thing. But people seem to only want to surround themselves with people who tell them what they already know to be true. They don't want to be threatened. They are weak and petty. A challenge is not a threat!

So, does this mean that I am not fit to be around people? So much the worse for them, then. I know I am a pretty good guy. Not great, but okay. And I am interesting if you like book-learning, and funny if you like to laugh. But that's it, my friends. I will not put on the song-and-dance for sake of making a positive impression. And that is what I feel I have done too much of these last ten years. Yes, too much of, I said.

Working for yourself means that you can more easily be the kind of person you want to be. You can create in the way you feel called to create and you can make decisions without others constantly over-turning them.

Will I ever teach again? I hope so. I have a lot to share. And I love learning from students. Am I worried about not ever actually be able to do so again? Not in the slightest anymore. I need to create, not conform. If I can keep creating I am living the life of God.

I have not met anyone who completely shares my ideas about things, and I don't need to. I can create and others can hop-aboard if they happen to like where I am heading.

Let the Septembers come. God brings new meanings out of old things like months.

The most important thing in life, and this is very plainly so for the theologian, is to do God's will. In this case, this lies in marginalizing the wills of men, so to speak, the impact they have on your life. Those who think they know are simply that, those who think they know. But God speaks to the individual and no one should ever give Him second billing. First, what does God want? How many of us actually live this way? I think most of us devote most of our time to doing the will of man. A few of us can reverse this. But those to whom God has said this in such a way that it makes an impact have a duty to live this way.

In junior high I was told that I need to listen to authority better, because I'll never get ahead otherwise. In the seminary I was told that 'there will be a time for clear thinking, but this is not it.' A leopard doesn't change its spots. Just because someone doesn't like something about you and won't reward you as a consequence, doesn't mean that it is actually something you should get rid of. Being a brat at fourteen helped lay the groundwork for me to be the right kind of brat today.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Best Wishes Crystal and Kyle


Any likeness to actual living people is merely coincidental. Merely very coincidental.

            I live in a small town. It is an important component in one of the most conservative ‘ridings’ in the country. We perpetually return conservative representatives to the House of Commons and to the Legislative Assembly in Toronto, well, ever since the great long-gun registration debacle made us realize who are true friends are. It is a town settled predominately by Polish immigrants – although the Irish got here first and bought up all the good land and then put the Kashub Poles to work in the lumber industry as the serf class. This is perhaps the only place in the world where the Irish make up the upper class – not even Ireland can boast that!

            
Before I came to this town I thought all Poles were grim, unfriendly and hardened. And then I met Kashubs, a kind of hybrid race created when you introduce comely Polish lasses and iron-willed Prussians. What came out of this mixture, and was transplanted in the Ottawa Valley, was a people who have become very dear to me, a generally simple, traditional, guileless, friendly people, hard-working, resourceful and creative. They have every reason to be ‘traditional’ – there have been but few incursions here from big business and of ‘city-people,’ the latter staying just long enough to rest and catch few bass before heading back to their type of existence. It has been a Catholic existence – that the Poles and the Irish have had in common. I don’t know what the mass attendance is in our town, but it is as close to 100% as any town has been since Luther’s day.
            
We can lament the loss of some vestiges of Kashub culture – very few young people can speak to the grandparents in their own language. Kashubian is a Polish dialect, kind of like Newfoundlander is to English. Dobje we all know, bardzo dobje. And the names. One of the most common for men here has been Ambrose. I like Ambrose – the baptizer of Augustine no less.
            
And then on my drive the other day I saw on the sign in front of the town’s community centre, “Best Wishes Crystal and Kyle.” Haven’t I seen that sign before? Didn’t a Kyle and a Crystal get married last year? Maybe a Crystal and Kyle get married here every summer now. I guess ‘Ambrose’ and ‘Clementine’ decided not to name their children from the traditional Kashubian canon, which we can also most definitely refer to as a Catholic canon.

            But, I ask, upon what, then, shall we base our hope that our ‘best wishes’ for Crystal and Kyle will pay off, if we can no longer rely upon the kind of a heavenly patronage that Ambrose and Clementine were set up for by their parents when they chose names of such high heavenly pedigree for their children?
           
It reminds of a story I heard a few years ago. When a superioress was asked why her sisters don’t take religious names at their profession she replied that they will as soon as they have to deal with the prospect of a Sr. Crystal.
            
This very same weekend that the church decided to marry two young people without heavenly guardians, a couple celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary. Now the times are very different from how they were sixty years ago. World War II was then a recent memory. My town must have looked quite different back then. I can tell you one thing it didn’t have back then: very many divorces. Crystal’s and Kyle’s world is now full of them. The couple that got married sixty years ago, well, Jesus and Holy Mass is still front and centre in their lives. I see them at mass all the time. I am sure they, like everyone from that generation, had their fair share of hard times. Marriage is never easy, no matter when you lived. But one thing they had, which Crystal and Kyle don’t, was tradition with its strong Christian principles and powerful role models to guide them.

What hope do Kyle and Crystal have? Their parents must have thought that the prayers of the Church Triumphant don’t do anything for you anyway, so why not chose a name you like, something different? And by marrying them, the church confirmed this. There was a time when baptism, confirmation and marriage meant a transformation in Christ, a new life. I suggest that in situations like this that the church not marry someone who has not been confirmed, and not confirm someone who hasn’t been provided with heavenly patronage. It’s not right to fail to provide young people every spiritual leg up we can.

Catholicism is not a culture, but it exist in culture(s). Its purpose is to renew all things in Christ, not to passively leave things as it finds them.

            

Friday, August 22, 2014

All Politicians are Psychos

A slight overstatement. I am sure that a few unsuccessful ones are not.

The danger with us Catholics - the only people I really care to instruct - is that we tend to label the enemies of our enemies our friends. They are not. Muslims who oppose homosexual marriage are Muslims no less, and they will be the ones we will be worrying about in the future, as we think back to the good old days when all we had to worry about was homosexuals and their human rights tribunals.

This post is just a short, gentle reminder that all politicians are addicted liars and an addicted liar is a psychopath by definition. Unfortunately people turn the 'politicians are liars' thing into a joke, like lawyers and used car salesmen. The difference is, used car salesmen only sell cars, and that is but one small part of our lives, or maybe no part at all. Politicians, on the other hand, dominate our culture, and if they are lying psychopaths, our culture then has a very sandy foundation.

This post comes from one thing, an image of former Presidents Bush and Clinton sharing laughs at the various functions they attend. The first time I saw this two thoughts ran through my head: 1) isn't it nice how these ideological enemies can be nice to each other, 2) that's weird, aren't they enemies? What do God and Belial have in common?

But I have a new thought, a third thought: 3) why wouldn't they share laughs? After all, they are the same: liars who get power and money by manipulating their support bases. Yes, I happen to be a part of W's base, and so I want to believe he really cares about the things I care about. But what assures me that he does?

Maybe I am wrong, and W is a really good person. The bottom line is, I urge, when it comes to politicians, the Church has to see in them what they see, for instance, in homosexuals: people in need of help. Addicted liars who are addicted to money and power are deeply in need of our help, not our tolerance and enabling.

So the next time you see Cardinal Dolan laughing hilariously with some abortionist politician, remember he is doing the very opposite of what Jesus did, enabling sinners by not seeing them as sick.

Many Catholics think that the sick are all on the 'other side.' They are all gravely morally depraved, and the Church has a duty to help them.