Justifying Sin: Everybody’s Doing It

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By Alexandre Eggert from Blumenau, Brazil (esperança – hope) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

You are a busy mom. You go to Church. You try your best. You don’t commit any of the “big” sins, like murder or adultery. So, you go to Confession, maybe weekly, monthly or a couple times a year. And every Confession sounds the same: lost patience with my children, was grouchy to my husband, told a white lie, gossiped about a friend or co-worker, had impure thoughts about Channing Tatum, etc.

Some of us have committed one of the “big” sins. Many times it isn’t a matter of trying to sin, but justifying it to ourselves. Check out former Planned Parenthood clinic director, Abby Johnson’s, website for an amazing story of someone justifying evil and believing it to be good. When someone justifies abortion, an affair, pornography, etc., most of us find it incomprehensible. But, instead of judging others, let this be an opportunity to examine our own conscience more deeply. What sin are we justifying or refusing to acknowledge?

Here is a simple example that has hit close to home. Almost all of us have likely committed intellectual theft. It is easy to do online and easy to justify.

I’m just using this photo for our family newsletter.

This dinosaur illustration is just for a 4th grade Social Studies report.

This CD is for the youth group.

It’s OK to copy this music for the church.

Somehow, when it’s for kids or school or church, we don’t seem to believe the copyrights apply. We will pay to go to a movie, but not to give copyright royalties to people who have a career dedicated to composing music for Church liturgy. I used to do this, and then I met the people who depend on the sale of images, music and writing for their living. Then I became one of those people with Making Music Praying Twice.

I have known many charitable, Christian men and women who work very hard to achieve good, holy lives who strangely assume that copying and printing copyrighted work is OK, especially if it’s for church use. Often, I’ve explained that there are people depending on royalties from CDs and music and books to feed their families. How much money do you think people make providing educational and religious materials? Do you think we should steal their work for “God”? Is God’s work not important enough for our own money? Most people immediately convert in their thinking when challenged with these questions and correct this practice. However, just a little thought and common sense is all it takes to realize that this is wrong.

In this Year of Mercy, in the wake of Divine Mercy Sunday, let’s all take a little time to dig a little deeper and find the sins that we have been justifying. It takes some prayer and thought and a good deal of honesty and common sense.

What are some sins you’ve justified in the past or see others justifying? Let’s all help each other grow with the help of the Divine Mercy.

Copyright 2016 Kate Daneluk

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About Author

Kate Daneluk is a wife, mother of six, and co-founder of Making Music Praying Twice. With a background in music, theology and education, she contributes articles and resources to various publications.

6 Comments

  1. I feel like contraception is a big one right now. But it’s an issue complicated by health professionals who don’t know about/ don’t promote alternatives and a lot of misinformation in society. Also, some couples are torn in their opinions regarding contraception, and at times one spouse can feel pressured to contracept to maintain a healthy atmosphere in their marriage. So it’s complicated, and these are the kinds of issues we have to take to prayer. We should always try to hold our actions to the light of the truth that is Catholic teaching, and discern where we need to grow. And we can always grow more in Mercy!! God bless and thanks for this article!

    • So true Kaitlyn. Perhaps the biggest justifier in this that I’ve seen with birth control is deciding to officially dissent from Church teaching on this without doing much or even any of the work you are supposed to do to officially dissent. But, as you say, this is a big and complicated issue. God bless and thanks for your thoughtful comment.

        • Perhaps “officially” is too strong a word. The Church acknowledges that individuals might dissent from a particular Church teaching but may wish to remain in communion with the Catholic Church. It is assumed that this choice would be made after very careful thought, prayer, and most importantly education. In other words, you can’t just go by what you heard on the radio, or even in a class, but must research the matter carefully. Most importantly, if one dissents from Church teaching you must not lead others to dissent with you, or teach or promote your stance.

          • That makes sense. Thanks for the clarification. 🙂 I have friends that consulted a priest for a situation like that once, and when they realized the full meaning behind church teaching on the issue, they were all on board. It’s always good to question and then get answers from a good source. Thanks again! Peace!

          • Kate Daneluk on

            That is exactly it. If you really do the work, if you learn and study and pray, not so many people would dissent. But, even though they are considered dissenters by many, they aren’t because they don’t even know what they are dissenting from! And again, to remain in communion with the Church, you should not teach or lead others astray. The Church is very slow to excommunicate, because it is so extreme to keep a soul from the graces the Church offers. Usually, it is because of teaching or leading others astray in matters of doctrine and morals. Even so, there is usually a cease and desist type warning first.

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