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June 2017 Mailbox

Q. I’m always bothered by the skimpy outfits people wear to the beach. Where is their modesty and self-respect?

A. The norms of what is and isn’t acceptable in our culture changes constantly. This isn’t limited to beachwear. It’s making you unhappy, worried, and anxious.

Normally I would suggest you absent yourself from occasions when you feel this way, but that would be counseling you to live a life of isolation. A better counsel might be for you to try to be a little less harsh in your judgment of others. It won’t change the scenery, but it will make you less anxious and perturbed, and that may be all we can hope for in this situation.

Q. It’s a mortal sin to skip Mass on holy days of obligation. What happens to the sin if the holy day changes and the obligation is removed?

A. If you were sitting in my office asking me this question, I’d encourage you to work it out for yourself.

If something is truly a mortal sin in the fullest extent of the meaning of “mortal sin,” changing the day or the venue wouldn’t change the seriousness of the sin. Therefore, it must have some other meaning and application.

I think you already know the answer in your heart, and you don’t need me to confirm what you already know.

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