I was thinking about “sins of omission” earlier in the week, and thought it would make a smashing supplement to last week’s “Theological Thursday”. Catholicism distinguishes between two types of sins; those we actively commit (with some degree of intentionality or foreknowledge), and those that occur through a lack of appropriate awareness, action, or virtue.
The latter group constitutes the “sins of omission”, and is mentioned during Mass when we ask God for forgiveness not only for “what [I] have done” but “what I have failed to do”. It seems to me that most of the quarrels, suffering, and poverty I witness among my students stems not from active malice (sins of commission), but from sins of omission. Indeed, looking at the wider culture–especially at many of the environmental woes we face– I might even suggest most suffering today stems from “what we fail to do”. I do not think it was always so, but as we have grown in power as a species, the damage of our indifference has equally swelled.
I was going to continue this line of thinking in particular by examining the ongoing “sins of omission” against women in the Catholic Church. I think they are a good part of the reason the issue of women’s ordination exists. But I’m going to delay that argument today, because a hilarious example of the main topic just presented itself to me. Behold, “Scuba Mohawk Pooh, in Thong”:
Magnificently horrid, isn’t he? Along with “Mr. Phallic Butterfly”, Pooh represents two glaring sins of omission perpetrated by my school’s art teacher. Given that kindergarten and grade school students pass through our school fairly regularly, she should have been aware enough (while hanging the art for display today) to notice and discretely refrain from posting the aforementioned material. I can almost let Pooh go, but Mr. Butterfly is worse, and the subtly concealed marijuana symbols (“4:20”, etc.) and leering, flaming, psychadelic mushroom on another beg removal. I hate being a censor.