Sin offends God. Period! | Inquirer
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Sin offends God. Period!

His homily covered the usual Catholic teachings on mortal sin, reality of hell, and divine mercy, yet this widely-shared-on-social-media homily ignited both strong support and criticism.


When Father Seán Sheehy, a retired priest of Kerry Diocese in Ireland, mentioned abortion and transgenderism as examples of mortal sins, some commentators were angry. This eventually caught the attention of Most Rev. Ray Browne of Kerry, his bishop.

What the good priest said in public, “You rarely hear about sin, but it’s rampant…We see it in the promotion of abortion,” actually is compatible with the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s official statement, that abortion is a “grave offence” and “a moral evil,” the same words that characterize a mortal sin (CCC 2271-72).


His mention of transgenderism as an example of sin, in his words, “We see it (sin) for example in this lunatic approach of transgenderism,” corresponds to the teaching of the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education in its 30-page document titled “Male and Female He Created Them” (2019).

What Father Sheehy said about “the promotion of sex between two men and two women. That is sinful. That is a mortal sin and people don’t seem to realize it. It’s a fact, a reality, and we need to listen to God about it because if we don’t, then there is no hope for those people,” is consistent with the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s explanation, that homosexual acts “are acts of grave depravity” (CCC 2357).

Hate the sin, love the sinner, of course, but “you have a responsibility to call people to an awareness of the fact that sin is destructive, sin is detrimental,” added Father Sheehy, “and sin will lead us to hell.” And I totally agree with him because what he said is what the Catholic Church teaches.

Unfortunately, the online discussions of his sermon developed into a unique situation when Bishop Ray Browne of Kerry Diocese publicly apologized on all Saints Day, November 1, 2022, for it because his homily was “offensive to some.”

Was the bishop muzzling the Catholic “truth in order to appease people” as the concerned priest had thought?

According to a newfangled way of thinking, brought about by secularism, there is human weakness, a psycho-emotional frailty, a kind of health-related complex but not spiritual, the likes of which are schizophrenia, inferiority, messianic, or oedipus complex.

This way of thinking seems to say: Call it a health issue or by any other name, but do not mention “sin,” so that the AI-robotics-nanotech man, woman and child should not feel guilty. We are people who are “come of age” and we should not feel guilty because it is not healthy, they say.

We check reality and see how our youth are bombarded with social cases, examples, and experiences, telling them, particularly the not-so-solid Catholics among them, that it’s okay to disobey the Ten Commandments once in a while.

No wonder that more and more Millennials and Centennials do not even bother to worship God and join the community Eucharistic celebrations on Sundays.

This tendency is called relativism and relativism spawns what is now considered as “Cafeteria Catholicism,” a propensity or an inclination on the part of the believer to choose and decide whatever is convenient, be it in Christian morals or discipline!

Relativism is a moral outlook that says there is no common ethical standard that is correct for all people of all cultures and societies. It says that one act may be right for one and wrong for another, according to one’s set of beliefs.

For relativists, Father Sheehy’s homily on mortal sin and hell belongs to the generally acceptable topics, maybe, 30 or 40 years ago, but not in the new millennium. It offends sensitive people, they say.

Relativism presumes that absolute values do not exist. Because diverse groups of people have different ethical standards, ethical relativism suggests that there is no such thing as objective truth. Therefore, accordingly, to claim that “homosexual acts are mortal sins” and present this as objective Catholic truth offends others.

But Catholic educators like me should shout it loud: Relativism is wrong!

Au contraire, moral values are universally valid at all times. And Father Sheehy’s homily on mortal sin and hell is correct and acceptable topics, 30 or 40 years ago, in the new millennium, and at all times.

The Ten Commandments are permanent. Morality is universal and objective. And as the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, sex between two men or two women is morally wrong! Corruption in different flavors and colors is unacceptable!

Murder is evil in Marawi, in Manila, in Mandaue — and everywhere! Stealing is evil in Pakistan as it is in China!

The Ten Commandments are correct always and in all places. Lest we forget, they are not suggestions; they are divine laws!

When the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen said that, in the garden of Gethsemane, our Blessed Lord begged on His knees, agonized in his body, soul, and heart the vicious consequences of Adam’s Fall, he reminded us that we must see Jesus, the Son of God made Flesh, as the sacrificial Lamb of God contemplating the heavy weight of the sins of the world.

In other words, sin really offends our loving God, even if the whole world thinks otherwise.

Jose Mario Bautista Maximiano is the author of Catholic Social Teachings in Contemporary Philippine History: 500 YOC (Claretian, 2022), the Cardinal Sin Catholic Book Awards “Finalist for the Best Book in Ministry” for 2022.

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