The Subtlety Of Sin


One of the conversations happening around me at present is about the preparing of our children to be sent out into the secular world when they finish high school.

We are blessed to be able to send our children to an independent school where they will be taught, alongside theology and philosophy, apologetics. In other words, they are being taught how to defend the faith. And, should a frontal assault of their Catholic faith occur, they will be well armed to suit this.

But, as a parent, I’m more concerned about the subtle ways in which sin wears down at our defences, so subtly that we often don’t recognise it until the sin is endemic.

In the secular world we live in, it’s not always in one obvious attack that our morals are challenged. In truth, most of the time it is more subtle and constant, subliminal even, and once one stone is removed from our wall it is easier to dislodge the next until it collapses and we wonder how we arrived at a position that is so opposed to that of the Church of our childhood.

Consider, for want of a better example, the old rom-com, the romantic comedy. Now, I will say here that many hold the view that you can watch movies or television shows which contain questionable content as long as you recognise that fact.

And certainly, this may be true.

But it is also equally true that if you continue to watch contemporary romantic comedies, though you believe them to be benign, you will begin to wear away at your ideas of sexual morality.

For instance, you know that the consummation of the lead characters’ relationship is not right, but it’s the inevitable outcome. How often do we bandy about that phrase ‘sexual tension’ to prove that we recognise it as a plot device? But how often do we, as viewers, want to see that tension resolved?

We want the characters to be drawn to each other, but in TV land, it’s rarely going to be marriage. Let’s face it, the antics, though portrayed comedically, are often morally bankrupt. But, if you enjoy it, you find other movies, or books by similar authors, and let more and more fly under the radar in search of entertainment.

And then you end up progressing to the point where, when some one recommends you “50 Shades of Grey” you baulk at it, but that’s how far you’ve come.

Perhaps you think I’m exaggerating. But perhaps this example, though not mine, is a real one and the woman who allowed herself to be led feels like a hypocrite. Perhaps it is a cautionary tale to remind us that discretion and prudence are necessary.

I know here, at my house, we vet every movie before our children watch it, and dispose of movies given to us as gift that contain content we don’t want our children exposed to. We have come a long way from the days of An Affair To Remember – one of the most underrated movies of all time – where the bad boy returns to his Catholic roots, redeemed by her love which inspires him to be better.

An Affair To Remember - 20th Century Fox

An Affair To Remember – 20th Century Fox

And rare is the contemporary movie free of unsavoury content – here I must make the distinction between gratuitous content and content necessary to engaging contemplation on morality – but that does not mean they don’t exist.

There are many Catholic bloggers, and Bishop Robert Barron is particularly good here, who read and watch contemporary books and films respectively, who do that thinking for you and give an honest appraisal.

Guard your soul and beware the subtle signs of sin that creep up on you unawares. And arm your children to do the same. Because sometimes, the best assaults of sin are the subtle ones that we don’t notice while we’re focused on the obvious ones.  


Filed Under: FaithFamily LifeFeaturedParenting

About the Author: Emily is a former ACPA award winning editor and journalist turned stay at home mum and blogger. She lives on a farm in regional NSW with her husband and their five children where she spends the time she should be doing housework reading books and writing posts.

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