First of all, thank you for the answer you gave me last time.
Second, I would like to ask you four questions: one of history, one of apologetics and two more relating to sins.
1. As you know very well, the pope, for 11 centuries, has exercised temporal power; now, I’m no one’s judge, but thinking about it I do not believe God would have liked this; sure enough dealing with earthly matters makes it more difficult to deal with spiritual things (a pope’s main duty), and therefore it makes it easier for the clergy to become heavily corrupt, more or less what happened in the 12th-13th centuries and also in the 15th-16th centuries. So why did God allow the pope to hold on to temporal power for so long?
2. When a lot of my friends are blaspheming and we tell them to stop doing so, they justify themselves like this: “Sorry, but if God is almighty why should he care for a couple of insults?
3. If one becomes an agnostic, does he commit sin?
4. I learned from your site that, when Adam and Eve sinned, nature became repulsive, and every sin we commit has cosmic consequences. Can you tell me why?
Thank you, please pray for me, for my family and for my grandmother who is being sick lately.
The priest’s answer
1. When the Roman Empire collapsed, the only institution that for centuries kept Europe running and prevented it from being “barbarized” was the ecclesiastical one.
The Church saved Europe, in many ways.
Later it was difficult for her to render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar: she feared for the freedom of the ministry of the Church, particularly when facing absolutist regimes.
With the fall of these regimes, the Church was stripped of her temporal power.
And it was a good thing for her mission, which is essentially spiritual: the salus aeterna animarum ( eternal salvation of the souls).
2. About your friends, who blaspheme and who tell you that God shouldn’t be bothered by a couple of insults, I can tell you this: blasphemies do not harm God, but whoever dwells on them.
You should remind them of the Holy Scriptures and the second commandment: “You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain. For the LORD will not leave unpunished him who takes his name in vain“. (Ex 20,7).
Of course, it doesn’t mean that God punishes. Rather, by blaspheming out of our own will, we open up to the common adversary, the one that when comes, “comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy”. (Jn 10:10).
This is why in the Old Testament we read: “he who strays after them sins against his own life“. (Sir 19: 4).
Saint Augustine says that “death is the effect of the curse; and all sin is cursed”. (Contra Faustum, 14.4 TRANSLATED BY REV. RICHARD STOTHERT, M.A.)
Therefore blasphemy is also a curse or, if you prefer, a kind of curse inflicted upon oneself.
Your friends get no gain from blaspheming, rather only losses, in every sense.
3. Furthermore you ask me if someone who becomes an agnostic commits a sin.
Firstly, I want to draw your attention on the question you asked so thoughtfully: “if one becomes an agnostic”.
This assumes that he was previously a believer.
The answer is the following: in general the sin has been committed before.
Actually sins, in the plural, and not only in the singular.
We should recall those eternal words of Jesus: “And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil“. (Jn 3:19).
Faith crises are generally preceded by moral ones, that is, by sins, which we didn’t want to get rid of, and eventually led to a certain type of behavior and also of mentality.
I emphasize the word generally because there can be exceptions.
4. Finally you say: “Thanks to your website, I learned that when Adam and Eve sinned, nature became repulsive, and every sin we commit has cosmic consequences. Would you tell me why?”.
The cosmic effects of the Original sin can be deduced from the Holy Scripture (Gn 3,17-19).
Sin brings about an imbalance that radiates from within a person also affecting the cosmos.
5. Saint Catherine of Siena says that through sin, mankind has become rebellious to God and thereby has become rebellious to itself and perceives this rebellion against him in the creatures.
You hear this from the Eternal Father with the following words:
“Through my wisdom I ordered and I govern the whole world, so tidily that nothing is missing and no one can add to it.
Soul and flesh I have provided for everything, not forced to do so by your will, because you were not, but only by my mercy, forced by myself, when I made the sky and the earth, the sea and the firmament, that is the sky, so that it moved above you, and the air so that you could breath, fire and water to temper an element with its opposite, and the sun so that you would not stay in the darkness: all made and ordered to provide for the man’s need.
The sky adorned with birds, the earth that produces fruits, with many animals, for the man’s support, the sea adorned with fish: everything I did with great order and providence.
And after having done everything good and perfect, I created the man in my image and likeness and placed him in this garden, which, however, due to Adam’s sin, sprouted thorns where before were fragrant flowers of innocence and of great sweetness.
Everything was obeying to man; but because of transgression and disobedience, man found rebellion in himself and in all other creatures.
It made the world wild and the man, like another world “. (Dialogue of Divine providence, treatise of Divine Providence, Ch. CXL).
6. How these cosmic effects take place, we do not know.
But we know they are there.
The words that John Paul II used in Reconcilatio et Paenitentia, when speaking of the repercussions of every sin on the society, can also be applied to cosmic effects.
He explains how this happens: “To speak of social sin means in the first place to recognize that, by virtue of human solidarity which is as mysterious and intangible as it is real and concrete, each individual’s sin in some way affects others. . (…).
To this law of ascent there unfortunately corresponds the law of descent. Consequently one can speak of a communion of sin, whereby a soul that lowers itself through sin drags down with itself the church and, in some way, the whole world.
In other words, there is no sin, not even the most intimate and secret one, the most strictly individual one, that exclusively concerns the person committing it. With greater or lesser violence, with greater or lesser harm, every sin has repercussions on the entire ecclesial body and the whole human family “(RP 16).
7. In a way “as mysterious and intangible as it is real and concrete“.
There’s something here of what St. Paul refers to when he speaks of a sin as a mysterium iniquitatis (2 Thess 2: 3), the mystery of iniquity.
Mystery means a hidden reality.
There is therefore something hidden in the sin that we do not see. Yet it’s there.
8. However, the hidden reality of sin does not act all alone in the world.
There isn’t just the mysterium iniquitatis.
There is also the mysterium pietatis (1 Tim 3:16), the mystery of grace, stronger than sin.
The great earthquake occurred at Christ’s resurrection, recalled by Saint Matthew (Mt 28: 2), is also a sign of it.
This great earthquake signifies the cosmic effects of the mysterium pietatis, of the Risen Christ, the defeater of sin and of the devil.
I wish you a holy Easter, may it bring into your life and that of your family members the power of the Lord’s Resurrection with all its cosmic effects, on the bodies, as well as on the souls.
I will remember you to the Lord and I bless you.
Translated by Riccardo Mugnaini