Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sinful structures.

Here's the Cliffs Notes on 'em: There aren't any.

I've thought about this and the subject in their periphery for some time. But I always come back to this: It's impossible to be sinful and not have free will. This is not to say that no structures are bad, or can be/have been twisted for sinful purposes. What it does mean is that we must look at the individual human beings responsible for those structures and their actions.

After all, when Adam & Eve moved out of Eden, they didn't just set up digs at a pre-existing Global Loan Shark Fund and were helpless to avoid wrenching crusts of bread from the starving lips of the proletariat. The real issue -- and one which the "sinful structures" line of thinking tends to obscure -- is that of sinful people. A structure is in se an inanimate thing. Of its own accord it does nothing.

Now, stuff it to the rafters with evil people and stand back. Or not even Truly Evil People in the mold of James Bond villains. A couple of morally stunted people in key positions will do nicely, thankyouverymuch. Of course, some structures are more evil (the KGB) than others (the UN), but as in all things sin and its execution reduce to human beings exercising their free will in a manner which is displeasing to God.

The Global Loan Shark Fund didn't just wake up one morning and decide to lend a bazillion dollars to the Republic of Lower Bubonia at 100% per day. Some person, exercising free will did that. The Republic of Lower Bubonia didn't just decide to take that loan with all its terms, some guy -- who likely stood to greatly benefit materially -- did so. And so the long day wears on.

Having, therefore, demolished the "sinful structures" shell, we are now left with a far more daunting task: to preach to those people who man these structures. After all, it's very easy to shake your fist, Grandpa Simpson-style, at the bogeyman of Globalization* but it's a whole lot more difficult to engage the people actively involved therein, that they may have informed consciences as they determine what courses of action to take.

Which further complicates our cozy, postmodern lives. We've pretty much gotten comfy with the idea that we fulfill God's commands when we "stand for ____." In fact, God wants us not to advocate or support, but to roll up our sleeves and actually help people. The purpose is not to ameliorate our consciences, but achieve results (yes, in His name). It's one thing to slap a "End World Hunger!" sticker on your hybrid, and quite another to give of yourself selflessly to actually, y'know, feed someone.

God wants us to do, not to "be in solidarity with."

Mt. 21:28-31a



* Globalization, in the strictest sense, is like the law of gravity. Its existence is not subject to your opinions on it.


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