Sparring with the invisible man

January 27, 2013 § 8 Comments

Recent discussions have shown that many people are offended by the fact that some sins are visible while others are invisible.  This makes life inherently and irrevocably unequal, with those inequalities splitting along all sorts of different, um,  fault lines.  One of those fault lines runs along the inherent differences between men and women.

When sins are invisible the sinner often escapes the natural consequences of his sin.  (For the time being, at least.  Ask Lance Armstrong).   How this plays out in day to day life is unfair: reality makes some sins more visible than others, and therefore the immediate, temporal consequences of sin are unequal and discriminatory.

And so it is with the grave, intrinsic evil of fornication.  It is proposed to be unfair that the sin of fornication physically manifests itself sometimes in the woman’s pregnancy.  In order to find out when men fornicate it is usually (though not always) necessary to engage in active and intrusive investigation.  People who complain about the situation seem at first to want us to engage in this kind of active investigation, because it is unfair (supposedly) for women to face consequences, for this particular kind of sin, that men do not face in statistically equal numbers[*].  Equality of outcome must be mandated.

In reality though that isn’t what they propose, because none of them (so far) will sign up for draconian investigations into everyones’ private lives in order to ensure that invisible sins carry equal consequences alongside visible sins.  So in the end the outrage isn’t over the fact that some people are getting away with it.  The outrage is over the fact that some people aren’t.

But you can take that “unfairness” up with God, since He is the one Who made things that way.


[*] It should be pointed out that many men actually do face consequences for fornication and adultery, and many women don’t.  Just ask General Petraeus.

UPDATE: Or Matt Prill, a Catholic teacher fired for sleeping over at his girlfriend’s place. (HT: Vanessa)

§ 8 Responses to Sparring with the invisible man

  • Gabriella says:

    Some of these posts and the response you have received from women helps prove that (most) women have no place deciding policy. We tend to emphasis the micro issues..the person, the twins, her “heart”.. but policy needs to be about justice. Without justice nobody knows what they need mercy for.

    I don’t know that I would have the gonads to fire a pregnant woman but I know better than to put myself in a situation to enforce those kinds of policies.

  • DeNihilist says:

    But remember Gabriella, emotions are thought of as having
    higher value then reason at this time in history. Self esteem is far more important then self discipline. Kinda sad that the new agers haven’t seen yet that self discipline actually is the way to self esteem.

  • Scott W. says:

    This whole pretend-nothing-happened-and-call-it-mercy episode reminds me when someone suggested modern tweaks to Brideshead Revisited:

    In my version, Sebastian Flyte takes theology of the body classes and figures out that he doesn’t know how to love. He cleans up and joins Opus Dei with Cordelia, making six figure incomes for Jesus. Lady Marchmain learns to lighten up, and Lord Marchmain comes back home to finally express his undying faith in human dignity. He dies a Methodist, since that makes him feel closer to Jesus, but everyone accepts him as a “separated brother”.

    And most importantly, Charles Ryder and Julia Marchmain go to a diocesan tribunal and get annulments for their previous marriages. They stay together and live happily ever after, teaching a bunch of RCIA classes to bright eyed catechumens. Instead of an empty tabernacle evoking a dreary Latin phrase (“Quomodo sedet sola civitas”), we could have a big gaudy Paschal candle with the phrase, “Be not afraid”, etched in the wax.

  • johnmcg says:

    Yes, there’s no Biblical precedent for merciful responses to unplanned pregnancies or female sexual sin.

  • Zippy says:

    You are begging the question. Capitulation to the unrepentant demands of feminists and fornicators isn’t “mercy”.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Sin isn’t a political matter, speaking generally, so why a Polis be concerned over it?
    But a woman’s looseness and in particular a wife’s looseness has social implications that can not be ignored.
    Thus, the error lies in placing the discussion under theology whereas it should have been under sociology.

  • Mike T says:


    Indeed there seems to be a lot of missing the point here. She is not repentant. The thief on the cross was repentant. He said “we are justly condemned, but this man has done nothing.” He owned his sin. She’s not.

  • […] is analogous the risk that women bear of getting pregnant: that this somehow balances things out (which is the important thing).  The obvious difference is that a man can be falsely accused of rape even if he did nothing […]

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