Saturday, 5 June 2010

It's the way they tell 'em

If sacred persons or things are criticised precisely on account of their human or finite imperfections, real or alleged, the sin of irreverence is committed, when the criticism is prompted by malice or levity. No sin at all is committed, if one is stating facts with due respect for the character of the person or things spoken of. Examples: To call a Doctor of the Church an ignoramus out of anger at a theological opinion defended by him, would be of itself a serious sin of disrespect. To speak of a saint as a dirty tramp or idle visionary, if the intention is to insult, is also a serious sin of disrespect. But, if one were to say in joke that St. Peter was a baldhead, St. Chares Borromeo a big nose, the sin of irreverence would be only slight. No sin would be committed, if one, describing a religious painting from the artistic standpoint, called it an abomination.

McHugh & Callan, Moral Theology: A Complete Course, para 892 (b)

Phew! Saved by the final sentence…

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