I am a new Catholic (convert from Protestantism) and I have been reading these forums for a month or more. I am disturbed by a trend that I see most frequently under Moral Theology section. Many people will comment that they “personally feel” that this or that is moral or immoral. Sometimes these opinions will directly conflict with the teachings of the church. (i.e. I personally don’t think that birth control is a sin.) Many times these people will identify themselves as Catholic.
I find this disturbing because these people seem to misunderstand the concept of sin. For example, if the Church says that A is right, and B is wrong, one can not merely say “because I personally don’t have a problem with B, I will commit this act anyway and I don’t think it is a sin.” Either the individual does not respect the authority of the Church (and by extension, God) or the individual does not believe that the Church is the body of Christ in the world. Either way, this individual is displaying non-catholic characteristics. This all strongly reminds me of relativism.
If man defines sin, then we have a right to relativism, but it is God who defines sin. We can deny that we are sinning, but this does not change the fact that we are sinning. I can say that I owe no taxes, but when the IRS comes after me, simply asserting that I am not in default will not prevent me from being hauled to prison.
I actually do not want this thread to turn into a discussion of relativism, but I would like to see this thread serve to correct misunderstanding of the nature of sin among the posters that I previously mentioned. (Wishful thinking?) Thoughts?