Giving Scandal

Scandal. Certain things cause a scandal and rightly so. Fo example the clerical sex abuse scandal. That such things are scandalous and make Christians and the Christian Faith look bad is obvious. But other things aren’t as obvious.

Example: Two heterosexual men living together in order to save on costs. If they live in an area where homosexual unions are common their living together could cause scandal, especially if they’re Catholic given the Church’s stand on homosexuality and same-sex “marriage”. But does this mean that these two guys need to pick female roommates instead? Well, probably not as that would no doubt prove just as scandalous. Should they not live with anyone else so as not to give scandal and live on the street as a result of not having help with expenses? I don’t think anyone would expect that.

My point here is simple. Not everything is black or white. Some things are a shade someplace in between because of circumstances. And being to close to the situation can cloud vision and judgement. Often the people involved, even they’re family or friends, have no business making a judgement call in such cases. So a third-party is needed. This is where the Church enters the picture.

Now here is an opinion as per all of the above. The folks involved could go directly to the Pope. That’s probably not a good call. If the two guys I gave in the example above live in a homosexual area of Chicago for instance the Holy Father might not know enough about the specifics to decide. I mean he understands the situation but how much you wanna bet he would defer to the local Bishop? So should they go to the Bishop? Maybe, maybe not. The Bishop may not een be aware of the neighborhood involved. A diocese, even one with a small geographical area, can be a pretty large place. I’d guess, me making one more assumption here, but one based on logic, that the Bishop would turn the thing over to the parish priest. He would be the one person knowledgable of the area, the neighborhood, the “norms” for the people there, and the two men in question.

Bottom line: Concerned about a possible scandalous situation? Go to your parish priest with the details. He’s in the best position to make a reasonable assessment and honest judgement call. Go figure, he can always send you to the Bishop or Pope. A last “hint”: Don’t forget to pray about it before you ring up father. “Your will, not mine, be done” would be a good one.

~ A Last Thought ~ Given all of the above, given each individual’s responsibility to not give scandal, there must be a “cut off” as per personal responsibility at some point. Somewhere in all of this the onlookers have to exercise common sense. Balance. Just as we guard against giving scandal to others we also must guard ourselves against scrupulosity. We can’t all go around all the time worrying about all the things we do and how they might adversely affect another person. I am responsible. So are the other folk. Where do I draw the line? If I can’t honestly figure that out, well, there’s the local parish priest again. He’s there for a reason. Lots of reasons actually. In spiritual matters like these it’s why we call him “father”. 1 Corinthians 4:15.

Published in: on September 12, 2012 at 2:56 pm  Comments Off on Giving Scandal