Our leaders have greater sins that deserve denial of Holy Communion
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2008-07-20
Rep. Jeanette Garin of Iloilo was seen recently on the ABS-CBN TV Patrol Newscast protesting the pastoral letter of Ozamiz Archbishop Jesus A. Dosado advocating denial of the sacrament of Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians.

She tried to split hairs, insisting that contraceptive use does not constitute abortion. She echoed that all too familiar refrain of our political leaders, who commit the worst crimes against the people they are sworn to serve and protect, about their “conscience being clear.”

Rep. Garin (like England’s King Henry VIII who made a law that legalized his divorce and subsequent marriage to Anne Boleyn) can come up with all the laws that will state that contraceptives do not constitute abortion and that preventing the production of babies via artificial means is different from killing babies already in the womb. To the Catholic Church — the artificial prevention of life is as much a crime against life as the killing of babies in the womb.

As to those who defend their evil acts on the grounds that their conscience is clear ‑ people who have promoted genocide, like those Nazis in the early 1940s, also said the same thing. It is a fact of life that conscience if heeded does work as a correcting mechanism for the soul. But persistently violating the dictates of one’s conscience can become habit forming and result in a situation where conscience no longer works.

People like Adolf Hitler have reached the point where their consciences are no longer able to influence their behavior. Committing crimes against humanity is the handiwork of those whose consciences have been turned off.

What many fail to see is that continued commission of plunder and the promotion of a system of inequity that cause the sufferings and deprivation of many people are no different from crimes against humanity like genocide. The systemic stealing of the people’s fair share of the resources of their country which then leads to the degradation of human dignity is as much a sin as the killing of the human person.

Many of our political leaders — those who perpetuate the oppressive oligarchy — are actually guilty of the commission of the great sins that Pope John Paul II talked about in his various encyclicals. These are what are called the Structural Sin, Cultural Sin and the Social Sin.

Pope John Paul II stated in his encyclical on social justice, Solicitudo Rei Socialis, that “social sin” or “structural sin” proceeds from the accumulation of personal sins. The popular Pope called it “a question of a moral evil, the fruit of many which lead to structures of sin.”

One definition of structural sin that I encountered states: “Structural Sins are acts committed against others that degrade, oppress, or exclude. It is a state or attitude instilled by society. Some examples are racism, classicism (high - middle -— low), materialism (haves and don’t haves), sexism, and political affiliation.”

Author Phyllis Pickle called greed the mother of all evil. Some naughty folks here might remark — “No, it the husband.”

Pickle made reference to Federal Reserve Bank former head Alan Greenspan who said that “infectious greed” was responsible for the spate of corporate scandals that hit the US.

Pickle noted that: “The major religions had no such illusions about greed. Greed, say many of them, is not only unambiguous; it is the Mother of All Sins.”

A great Hindu yogi, Bhishma, son of the Ganges, taught: “Covetousness alone is the great destroyer of merit and goodness. From covetousness proceeds sin. It is from this source that sin and irreligiousness flow, together with great misery. This covetousness is the spring also of all the cunning and hypocrisy in the world.”

Structural, cultural and social sins have to be considered as more grievous than mortal sin because mortal sin merely affects the soul of the wrongdoer whereas structural, cultural and social sins create the opportunities for collective sins. In other words, not just one soul is lost to Satan but a wholesale of souls who have been induced to commit sin.

If you shoot someone, you commit a mortal sin. If you shoot yourself, you also commit a mortal sin. But if you promote genocide, just like Adolf Hitler did, then you have promoted a structural sin. Following Dante’s concept of hell, you will deserve a worse pit in the devil’s furnace where lost souls are thrown.

In effect, those who are seeking to legalize what is clearly banned by the Church are promoting a structural sin. They are creating the framework for others to commit sin. They will have to account for the damage of all of those other souls they led to commit sin.

The capitalist method of hiring, firing then re-hiring casuals in order to avoid incurring greater operating costs (but result in the deprivation of other benefits and security of tenure of the workers) is structural sin that the legislators who created that labor condition as well as the businessmen who subscribe to it will have to account for. Those legislators who made that law and the businessmen who opted to use it also deserve to be denied the sacrament of Holy Communion.

Mindsets like “It’s a dog eat dog world so it’s alright for me to eat the next dog” or “Everybody steals so what is wrong if I provide for my children’s future” are all reflective of structural, cultural and social sin. This accounts for the culture of corruption that we always decry in our society. Leaders who promote this culture of corruption and are engaged in plunder deserve to be denied Holy Communion.

Those who promote the information gap and the education gap that prevent people from rising above their state of poverty deserve to be denied Holy Communion.

Those who allow the shielding of the truth that will set people free through structures like executive privilege deserve to be denied Holy Communion.

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