Q: I came to the conclusion, after reading an old catechism, that there is plenty of room for error without committing mortal sin when it comes to all of the other commandments, but zero room for error with the sixth (you shall not commit adultery) or the ninth (you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife) commandments.
A: I have repeatedly counseled our readers not to read old catechisms or look for advice in outdated material. Why is it that people understand that they shouldn’t use a manual for an old car to try to fix a new model but don’t understand that the same principle applies to moral manuals, catechisms, etc.?
The spiritual life reflects the human experience, good and bad, complex and simple. Life is constantly changing and developing. At the time these commandments were written, the perception was that there is zero room for error. That perception is no longer considered to be a credible and moral help in the formation of conscience (and we are not talking about moral relativism).
Stop reading dated and unhelpful material and find something that speaks to the human experience in this century.
Q: I have trouble with swimming pools. I fear associated temptations at seeing near-naked, well-shaped human bodies. Is this a near occasion of sin I should avoid?
A: Absolutely not! Enjoying the human body is not a sin. Human bodies are GodÕs creation, and we should be pleased with the beauty of GodÕs creation. In appreciating beauty, thereÕs no fundamental difference between a human body and any of GodÕs other creations. Appreciation of the body isnÕt sinful and neednÕt be avoided, so thereÕs no reason to avoid swimming pools.