Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

How issues can detract from a need for grace

RECENT public debates and political decisions relating to gay marriage and abortion indicate that a vague collective social conscience has presently arisen in which ill-defined love of neighbour is purchased at the cost of neglect for the individual love of God.

Individual justice and conscience are ignored, because one is fighting for equality and social justice. So the only sins are social sins.

Ordinary Christians succumb to the belief that evil lies only in society. In reality, of course, the lines separating good and evil pass not through countries and social classes, but through every heart.

St Paul wrote (Romans: 5:20): "Where sin increases, grace abounds even more."

But, to do its work, grace must uncover sin and convert individual hearts – for the individual, a double gift of the truth of conscience and the gift of the certainty of redemption.

BRIAN ROONEY

Downpatrick

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