Reasons to be Grateful
The Pope doesn’t take advice from Alec Baldwin
I love being Catholic. There are so many reasons to be grateful, I hardly know where to begin. But one jumped out at me yesterday.
“Anthony Weiner is a Modern Human Being” screamed the headline. Or so says actor Alec Baldwin in a recent Huffington Post article. It’s a breathtaking piece that seeks to rationalize Anthony Weiner’s indiscretions based on the extreme time pressures and demands of public life.
Here’s one of the more jarring comments: “Like other politicians, he needs something to take the edge off. For some people, regardless of occupation, that could mean booze, drugs, gambling, food or shopping.”
Or how about this one (referring to cell phones): “We tell ourselves that these devices help us communicate more effectively. What they actually do is allow us to bypass the person lying right next to us, across the room from us or at an airport heading home to us, in order to meet our immediate, even inconvenient, needs.”
Now, I don’t have anything against Alec Baldwin. I’m sure he’s a charming individual, and I vaguely recall having enjoyed a couple of his films. In fact, his article is fascinating partly because it brazenly recognizes the pressures we take upon ourselves – not to mention the attitudes – that give rise to infidelity. In a twisted sense, it also implicitly recognizes the power and sacredness of sex – and arrives at all the wrong conclusions.
Contrast this with a perspective shared by Pope Benedict XVI in his general audience in St. Peter’s Square on June 8, 2011:
“In our own day, while we unfortunately see an increase in separations and divorces, the fidelity of spouses has itself become a meaningful witness to the love of Christ, which permits marriage to be lived out for what it truly is: the union of one man and one woman who, with the grace of God, love one another and help one another for a lifetime, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health.”
So there you have it, a real opportunity. Error’s volume can be set on max and those who so choose can groove along to the beat. But the Church, patiently and lovingly, keeps the bar set high and challenges us to walk along a much more difficult and rewarding path.
I’m not throwing stones, and share Mr. Baldwin’s sadness over the Anthony Weiner matter. But I’m grateful the Pope doesn’t take his advice.