The disregarding and misrepresentation of charity —or love, the greatest of the theological virtues, has become a disturbingly common occurrence within the American cultural landscape, this holding true, sadly, even amongst Catholics. Largely stemming from doctrinal ignorance as well as undoubtedly heavy influence from what I have called previously on this blog “Irrational Acceptance Culture” (click here for the term’s explanation), charity’s misrepresentation, the more common of the two, has unrestrictedly continued to propagate to the point that it is publicly endorsed by both Christians as well as by the incredulous and apostate.
What is Charity?
Charity is one of the seven Christian virtues which is composed of both the four cardinal and three theological virtues, charity belonging to and being the greatest of the theological virtues. Charity primarily involves the care of others, both spiritually and physically.
Spiritual Care Toward Others
A Catholic’s spiritual care for his or her neighbor encompasses, in essentiality, a constant attempt to prevent the committing of sin by others. It here where in lies the essential contradiction between the theological virtue of charity and the social policy of “live and let live.” The prior asserts that one should become involved with the affairs of others if in doing so their sin is prevented, while the latter asserts that one should not become involved in the affairs of others, regardless of whether it is sinful or not. Charity is not allowing others to do as they please in, at best, hopes of them finding the truth on their own or, at worst, out of negligence to care if others will attain salvation. Charity is doing all you can to prevent the sin of others without causing yourself to commit sin in the process. A Catholic following the virtue of charity is a Catholic who works to prevent sin. In the world today, especially in the United States, it is the duty of a Catholic to push for the creation and enforcement of laws which abide by Church’s teachings on morality, as the virtue of charity demands the spiritual care and protection of others.