Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Thursday, April 05, 2012


The latest article in Thinking Faith's series on the seven deadly sins and the movies is up ... The Seven Deadly Sins on Film: Wrath by Philip Endean SJ. The movie he uses to exemplify wrath is the 1996 British film Shine, which stars Geoffrey Rush.

I was especially interested in his article because of the schizophrenic way religion looks at anger .... many hold the belief that a truly spiritual person will always be detached emotionally, yet as I've noted before, Jesus was anything but detached and was sometimes passionately angry. Here's a bit from Fr. Endean's article on this subject ....

At the outset, we need to make a distinction. Christian tradition, perhaps mirroring civilised society as a whole, is ambivalent about anger. Angry people are disruptive; by definition they want things to be different, and are prepared to be anti-social and disagreeable until they succeed. To the extent that Christianity reinforces social norms, it finds various ways of marginalising, even condemning anger. But to the extent that Christianity is an agency of change and conversion, both social and individual, anger is an important source of positive energy. The perception of unmet needs provokes responses that can be termed angry: if the perceptions are correct, then the anger is righteous, a hunger and thirst for justice that is to be sustained, not repressed. Anger is problematic only if the perception of unmet need is somehow wrong, or the resulting action out of keeping. When such disproportion is habitual, it becomes a vice—for convenience we can use the word ‘wrath’ to denote vicious anger. It is wrath, displaced and hence vicious anger, that Shine explores so powerfully.

Another interesting subject brought up in the article: a difference between sin and vice ....

The mood as Lent begins is ascetical; in our fervour and enthusiasm, we may well try to have a go at rooting out a vice or two. No harm in that. But we are dealing with principalities and powers beyond our conscious freedom; on their own our efforts at self-betterment are futile. We depend on a salvation that comes from outside, on a ‘mystical’ gift that we can only receive.

Abuse of the kind that David [the main character in the film] inherits requires us to stress this difference. If the spirit is already crushed, calls to root out vice and work harder at the moral life will only make matters worse. People in David’s plight need relief, not exhortations. The traditional faults catalogued by Evagrius and his successors are called both deadly sins and capital vices. In some situations at least, the difference here is not trivial. When we speak of a deadly sin, we are implying that it is the perpetrator’s fault. A vice, by contrast, is a habit, something that may be instilled in us by our conditioning; the bad actions which emerge from it are not necessarily or wholly our responsibility. Vicious actions, therefore, however damaging, are not always to be identified with sins. And salvation from vice involves grace first, and repentance or asceticism only later, if indeed at all.

There's much more to the article - the whole thing is well worth a read.


Anonymous Victor said...

(((if the perceptions are correct, then the anger is righteous, a hunger and thirst for justice that is to be sustained, not repressed)))

Let U>S gods make "IT" crystal clear that Victor is nothing but a schizophrenic. We gods said, "Nothing" and he's dead to our world but his flesh is just too stub born to Add mit "IT". Truth be known to humans, we gods talk with angels just like Victor's so called imaginary "Jesus" did. For example when "Jesus" washed His Apostles feet, He was actually talking quietly to our angel gods telling U>S, I mean telling we godly angels not to be too hard on HIS FATHER's so called Adam and Eve's.... and....

Hey sinner vic, how many times must "ME" "MYSELF" and "I" tell you that you are not to preach during "LENT" so can you not have a little respect for the hands that feed ya NOW?

Don't waste your time thinking that
"I'M" By-polar cause "I'M" not a Polar Bear and between U>S (usual sinners) "IT" is Peace not piece so put that into your so called spiritual pipe and smoke "IT" with "Whatever" sinner vic. :(

Whow! Don't get angry Victor get even!:)


10:35 AM  

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