Some Hypotheticals

If you saw someone who was going to jump off a cliff… would you stop them? Assume that you would prevent them from physical death. I think you would probably try to stop them.

Now assume you are an Archbishop, and you know of Catholics who are advocating very publicly for grave sin, and that this itself is a grave sin. Unrepented grave sin, as you know as an Archbishop, brings spiritual death. You know in your heart that spiritual death is eternal, and is God’s most hated thing. You also know that this spiritual death is very real, and very dangerous: infinitely more dangerous than mere physical death. Would you not, as an Archbishop, care enough about your fellow Brother or Sister in Christ to do everything in your power to prevent further spiritual death?

And you would also know, as an Archbishop, that someone who is manifestly and publicly in a state of grave sin ought to refrain from receiving Communion, for their own sake, since receiving Communion unworthily is yet another grave sin that further wounds their soul.

And it would probably strike you, as an Archbishop, that this particular sin is a sin with a pedagogical dimension (public advocacy of sin teaches sin). Would your counsel to this person not also have a public dimension, to correct those who may have been misinformed by this person’s very public advocacy (perhaps even encouragement) of sin?

Would you not see three very important things which demand your prophetic teaching voice? Is not the most pastoral thing to do preventing such a person from further grave sin? Can your message not be delivered in a spirit of charity and sincere concern and love?


11 Responses to Some Hypotheticals

  1. Zach says:

    A disclaimer: I know this topic is a bit of a dead horse, but I think it’s very important and I would very blessed by public consideration of this line of thought. If I’m wrong, I’d like to know why.

  2. Donald R. McClarey says:

    “CRY, cease not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their wicked doings, and the house of Jacob their sins.”

    Isaiah 58:1

    Heaven knows the quiet approach has been a flat failure.

  3. Or, alternatively, perhaps the Archbishop stands a bit of Platonic logic on its head and tells himself that the person advocating publicly for a sin must not think that it’s a sin to do so, or else he wouldn’t do it, since no one knowingly wishes to do other than the good. Figuring that the person must be well intentioned and acting in accordance with his conscience, the Archbishop decides not to bring up a socially awkward topic, since as we all know God is a merciful God and surely would not blame a well-meaning person for doing whatever he thought best.

  4. Tom K. says:

    When you say “an Archbishop,” do you have in mind the Archbishop of Rome?

  5. Zach says:


    I did not have in mind that Archbishop while writing this


    Thank you for making me laugh

  6. restrainedradical says:

    If you saw someone who was smoking… would you stop them? Assume that you would prevent them from physical death. I think you would probably ignore them.

  7. Zach says:

    restrained radical,

    The point of the opening paragraph is to begin an analogy between physical death and spiritual death.

    I’m not sure the situation you describe relates to this post.

    But for what it’s worth it might be worth trying to persuade the person in question to stop smoking.

  8. Rick Lugari says:

    But for what it’s worth it might be worth trying to persuade the person in question to stop smoking.

    Or join him and together offer your smoke up to God as a prayer of gratitude for not being a Puritan.


  9. Zach says:

    I agree Rick, if it’s a cigar.

    Habitual cigarette smoking is arguably a sin. I think I’ve heard this from multiple valid sources..

  10. Rick Lugari says:

    I suppose it could be, Zach. Of course, addiction negates some culpability there too. The moral of the story is that God is quite liberal to us, we just have to do things in moderation. But that brings us back to being grateful for not being Puritans, huh?

  11. Zach says:

    Yes, you’re right on all counts there.

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