Holy Family

Holy Family

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Feast of Saint Francisca Salesia

Good morning. Within minutes of the unfolding of the tragedy this past weekend in Tucson, there were people lining up to lay the blame for this tragic incident everywhere but where it needed to be. The very idea of the person who pulled the trigger even being responsible was quickly eroded with suggestions of the gun man being mentally incompetent. The response to this incident prompted me to consider this whole idea of culpability in our current day society. The media response reminds us that the idea of sin seems to no longer be part of people’s discussions regarding acts of evil. The idea of sin is all but obsolete in our culture. This doesn’t seem to be  a new phenomena; in 1946 Pope Pius XII suggested that “The sin of the century is the loss of the sense of sin.” A major cause for this diluted sense of sin rests with the field of psychotherapy. As a counselor, it has become increasingly evident to me that psychotherapy has done its part in eroding any sense of personal culpability for acts of evil or personal wrong choices. As already mentioned, instantly in response to the shooting in Tucson there was discussion amongst the media as to the likeliness of the shooter’s mental competence. The suggestion being that no mentally sound person could do what he did. He must be mentally unsound! He must be on drugs!  We see this idea of mental illness acted out everyday in response to children’s behavior. Every day we look to the misbehavior of children in our society, and instead of looking to any notion of personal culpability, we instead offer suggestions of “chemical imbalance” or “faulty wiring.”  Instead of requiring our children to accept responsibility for their behavior we offer them a mental health label as being responsible for their bad choices, and we remove responsibility further through the use of numbing medications. I’ve had children suggest to me that “I’m not to blame, I am ADHD.”  Much of the responsibility for this diminished sense of sin rests with a lacking parental emphasis on the formation of conscience and the teaching of the virtues toward aiding our children in making good choices. As then Cardinal Ratzinger noted, "Sin has become almost everywhere today one of those subjects that are not spoken about. Religious education of whatever kind does its best to evade it.”  As parents, we can change this, we can turn this around, in fact it is our duty to do so, and we can begin by taking our children to meet Jesus in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Oh! By the way, responsibility for the tragic events of Saturday in Tucson rest with the individual who pulled the trigger. Make a great day!

Today we recall the good life and works of Saint Francisca Salesia.

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