Theology: September 2003 Archives

Besetting sins


Everyone has a besetting sin, or at least everybody I know. For you non-Catholics and under-catechized Catholics out there, a besetting sin is the one that keeps cropping up in your spiritual life, no matter how hard you try to eradicate it. It can also keep you from growing in virtue, and quite often, it drives other forms of sins that might not even be related. For instance, if you gamble excessively, you might begin to steal to support your habit.

My besetting sin is sloth. Considering that I'm usually quite busy, what with work and three kids and a wife and the house and all, it surprised me to realize that. I often allow myself to be distracted by other things when I need to do something difficult, and the time I take away from my duties is spent on trivial things (as evidenced by the fact that I am typing this at my place of employment. Hey, consider it a coffee break.)

The small things I do might be harmless in themselves, but the results of my self-indulgence tend to snowball. If I stay up late because I've been piddling around, I can be more anger-prone the next day, or I might not be as productive at work. Sloth steals precious time that would be better spent praying or talking to my wife.

What's your besetting sin? Did someone else tell you about it, like a confessor or spiritual advisor? Or did you, like me, read something that made you realize what it is?

(How's that for something Catholic, John Francis?)

Children and venial sins

| 1 Comment

Can children under the age of reason commit venial sins? From my external observation, I think they can. I can think of several cases where my daughter and older son have known what was the right thing to do, and deliberately chosen not to do it. Also, when my wife and I discipline them, I don't get the idea that we're disciplining mere jumbles of instincts and passions, but that their intellects and wills are thrown into the mix.

So while I have no trouble believing that small children can't commit mortal sins because they are incapable of full, rational choice, I would think they could commit venial sins. Anybody have an answer for me?

Hate the fussy, love the fusser

| 1 Comment

My daughter, Anna, is three years old, and has the personality of an exceptionally curious, willful puppy. Last night, I had to reprimand her for disobeying -- a common occurence -- and she said through her tears, "Daddy, do you love me even when I'm fussy?"

Before I gave the standard reply ("I always love you, no matter what") my older son Charlie piped up: "Yes, he loves you, Anna, he just doesn't like the fussy!"

I don't want to read too much into a 4-year-old's comment, but it's delightful to see a small child grasp the idea that you can love people without approving of all of their actions. Yet how many adults argue that unless we approve of their vices, we are unloving bigots? Sometimes, kids really are wiser than adults, or at least they see things more clearly.

What? Who?

On life and living in communion with the Catholic Church.

Richard Chonak

John Schultz

You write, we post
unless you state otherwise.


About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Theology category from September 2003.

Theology: August 2003 is the previous archive.

Theology: October 2003 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.