Cultural Culpability to Sin c

If you have followed my most recent posts, I have talked with some women raised in poverty in third world countries. Some of the things that pass for discipline there would be considered child abuse in the US. My friend came from a very religious country and household. She discussed how pregnant teenagers would be mocked and ridiculed by elderly women to the point they often didn’t leave the house. Often these same woman were avid churchgoers. Or how her very religious parents at times deprived her of food for disobedience, beat her until she was almost unconscious, scratched up her face so she bore marks, called her ugliest child they had. This sort of behavior towards children ,according to her, is common.
Honoring your father and mother was quite important.
Will we be held accountable for sins that we are culturally blind to?
I am certain many of the slaveholders didn’t think k their cruelty to blacks were sinful or jeopardized their salvation

Well, think of the three requirements for mortal sin. Grave matter, knowledge, and consent. If someone is raised in a culture that is incredibly sexually permissive and libertine, for some example, it might undermine their knowledge of sexual sins, especially if they’re not particularly well catechized. Similarly, someone raised in a very violent culture, etc.

Note that I say might. We still have an obligation to try to overcome our cultural blind spots and be intellectually honest. But I can think of situations where someone might sincerely be mistaken and confused based on prevailing cultural attitudes, which could undermine their knowledge of the sinfulness of a particular act.

Right. There are people who really, really believe that beating children is good for the child (or at least, better than what would happen to their children if they didn’t.) There are also those who don’t believe that but pretend they do (to others or themselves). And then there are those who are just flat-out sadistic.

(And I mean beating, too, not just a slap on the hand or spanking or other forms of corporal punishment that remain normative in some families.)

Culpability in all three of these situations will vary.

If things like child abuse are about the intentions of the parent or caregiver, what about the damage done to the child? I completely understand punishing a child for disobedience. When does discipline become abuse though?

That’s a different question than your original one. :wink: I also did NOT say that child abuse is (only) about the intent of the parent. That would be a serious mistake. Things we do are still wrong even if we (honestly) don’t know.

Discipline is meant to correct a child and encourage positive growth (or at least disincentivize negative growth). We talk about self-discipline meaning the internal motivation to choose right things even when they are hard.

Abuse is the treating of a person as a thing.

I couldn’t say. The pope has weighed in and come down on the side of physical punishment and it’s beauty. As long as it’s not disrespectful to the child, like in the face.

Perhaps I would understand better if I lived in a different country. Beating someone until their are almost unconscious? That is crossing the line in my opinion. If the parents think what they are doing is for the betterment of the child, who am I to say anything? Perhaps we are too soft or sensitive in American society/culture. Ultimately what would Jesus say? As much as parents are in charge of their children, you can damage your child with the right intentions.

I think almost everyone would agree beating until they are almost Unconscious would almost universally be a bad thing.

Do you think there is a difference?

Clearly not. The person who did it thought they were disciplining their daughter. Is that a sin? I often also think of parents who are quite honest or should I say “critical,” they scrutinize their child to the point the child does not talk to them as adults, no longer values their own opinions, or simply no longer listens to their parents well because simply no matter what they do they are not right. Some of older generation parents still insist they were right with the way they raised their child, they were being very honest. Their harshness was a result of love and seeing what is best for their children. Sadly, their children disagree and elect not to associate with them.

I don’t think you can objectively asses the situation.

I don’t know. Is an adult child wrong for not wanting to associate with the parents they felt were “too rough” on them? I currently know of someone who seems to avoid his parents. It makes me sad. Some people think he is a just a spoiled, pansy and that he grew up in a household with a strong matriarch. Others think perhaps maybe his mother, although not abusive, was too TYPE-A. I met her once, she is an intense individual. Is he sinning by keeping his distance from her during the holidays? Shouldn’t he be appreciative he had such a strong mother who was unwilling to watch him go down the wrong path? I only know what he tells me or what I have observed myself. I never grew up on his household and people treat strangers differently than their own children.

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