As Catholics, Christians, and other concerned, principled people, we must balance our challenging of the ills in the culture with an embracing of the good, the true, and the beautiful whenever and wherever we find it.
This power of distinguishing between the two is becoming increasingly important as the culture becomes increasingly chaotic and blurred especially in regards to morality.
In a talk on Homosexuality, Peter Kreeft states:
Most of these distinctions I am making are distinctions between things that are mixed together in fact – that’s why we have to make distinctions. There’s no problem in making a distinction between the sky and the earth because they are not mixed. But we have to make distinctions between the sin and the sinner, the act and the intention, or agape and eros, because in any one human being or in any one human action, there’s often a lot of stuff going on mixed together. So we have to make distinctions. (PeterKreeft.com)
Our intellectual power of distinction is what helps us keep the baby from being thrown out with the bathwater, especially when the bathwater is so murky it obscures our vision of the baby. We MUST be able to make distinctions because while sin is certainly infernal, the sinner is infinitely valuable and precious.
The same goes for culture. The good, true, and beautiful are valuable wherever they are found and thus they must be distinguished from whatever bad, untrue, ugliness they are mixed with. We must make the distinctions for ourselves as well as for others we encounter.
People are not drawn to the badness, untruth, or ugliness but rather to the good in the cultural mixture and it is thus our duty to make the distinctions – identifying and challenging the ills of the culture while affirming the goods, wherever they pop up – and to show people that the fulfillment of their desires for the good are found in Christ and His Church.
What do you think?
What kinds of goods do we find sprouting in the culture? What good desires do we encounter in people that need to be encouraged and directed to Christ?