Q. I feel like I am offending God when I have unruly thoughts or strong desires. I know such thoughts and desires are not sins, but I want to be freed from these kinds of distractions.
A. Do you want to know what offends God?
I assure you it is not unruly thoughts or strong desires. Put your experience in context. What about war? What about the physical, psychological, and spiritual manifestations of abuse? How about ignoring the needs of people you know? Read the Old Testament prophets and you’ll get a better sense of what offends God. Unfortunately, things have not changed much over the centuries. If you put your life in perspective, you have a better chance of freeing yourself from the distractions that bother you.
Q. When Iím watching television I sometimes encounter a program that is unsettling or I come across subject matter that is contrary to the teaching of the Church. If I continue to watch television even though I know this might happen, have I sinned?
A. A moral Christian life includes the possibility of encountering imagined situations— including media programming where the subject matter may not reflect the teaching of the Church— as well as encounters with real people and real experiences. The Christian life isn’t isolated and protected. It’s a life that’s lived reflecting and witnessing to gospel values when we come across the real and the imagined. Life is not about pretending. It is about living.