Strong morals, or elitism?


#1

We had an incident in our town recently. 16yr old Catholic girl working at supermarket (which sells condoms off the shelf, as is the normal these days) refuses to sell condoms to a customer, and tells her to take her shopping trolley to another checkout. Embarrasses the life out of the customer, and this all leads to a media circus and letters to the editor which make Catholics and our Church look foolish. Many seem to disagree with me, but I see morality as a personal thing and not to be forced on others. I’m sure the customer didn’t gain anything spiritually from the experience, and is probably even more determined not to become Catholic. Opinions?


#2

And as a sub-question to this issue: SHOULD anyone treat non-Catholics as “sinners” for using condoms when they’re completely unaware of the reasons and complex logic behind the Catholic ban on contraception? The letters-to-editor in the local paper demonstrated the confusion, in that people would say “Isn’t it better to use contraception than to have an abortion?”…or to catch AIDS…or bring unwanted kids into the world, etc. Yes, I know we can all come up with answers to that, but Mr and Mrs non-Catholic can’t. But is it right to just assume all condom-users are naughty people (ie. CONSCIOUS sinners) who may be insulted and embarrassed at will?


#3

[quote=JeffAustralia]We had an incident in our town recently. 16yr old Catholic girl working at supermarket (which sells condoms off the shelf, as is the normal these days) refuses to sell condoms to a customer, and tells her to take her shopping trolley to another checkout. Embarrasses the life out of the customer, and this all leads to a media circus and letters to the editor which make Catholics and our Church look foolish. Many seem to disagree with me, but I see morality as a personal thing and not to be forced on others. I’m sure the customer didn’t gain anything spiritually from the experience, and is probably even more determined not to become Catholic. Opinions?
[/quote]

Contraception is immoral, and so is cooperating with it. She did the right thing.

Of course we can bring our morals into the public square. The person buying the condoms was forcing their immoral behavior on the checkout person. It goes both ways. She can refuse to sell them. That is her right as a person of faith.


#4

No one is forcing their morality on anyone in the scenario you have described.

Person wants to buy condom.


Person does not want to participate in the sale condoms and askes t****he first person has the option of going to another checkout lane.


Now let’s reverse your theory. What if the cashier was forced to sell the condoms although it is against her personal morals to do so? What’s the difference? There isn’t a difference.


As for the arguement that it’s better than ___. That is just not logical and has no part of the issue. Using a condom may be better than murder too, but that’s not a reason okay the use of condoms either.


The Church says condom use is a sin. This girl feels she is participating in a sin by selling them. End of that.


The customer has the option of going to another lane, another store, not buying them, or whatever. I doubt walking over to another lane is really all that traumaticly embarrassing. If it was, they really are not mature enough to by buying, much less using, condoms - imo.


#5

[quote=JeffAustralia]And as a sub-question to this issue: SHOULD anyone treat non-Catholics as “sinners” for using condoms when they’re completely unaware of the reasons and complex logic behind the Catholic ban on contraception? The letters-to-editor in the local paper demonstrated the confusion, in that people would say “Isn’t it better to use contraception than to have an abortion?”…or to catch AIDS…or bring unwanted kids into the world, etc. Yes, I know we can all come up with answers to that, but Mr and Mrs non-Catholic can’t. But is it right to just assume all condom-users are naughty people (ie. CONSCIOUS sinners) who may be insulted and embarrassed at will?
[/quote]

Of course sin is based on full knowledge and consent. But, an objectively disordered act remains so whether the person has knowledge or not.

As to the letters-- you now have a teachable moment for all those confused people.


#6

[quote=JeffAustralia]We had an incident in our town recently. 16yr old Catholic girl working at supermarket (which sells condoms off the shelf, as is the normal these days) refuses to sell condoms to a customer, and tells her to take her shopping trolley to another checkout. Embarrasses the life out of the customer, and this all leads to a media circus and letters to the editor which make Catholics and our Church look foolish. Many seem to disagree with me, but I see morality as a personal thing and not to be forced on others. I’m sure the customer didn’t gain anything spiritually from the experience, and is probably even more determined not to become Catholic. Opinions?
[/quote]

I understand where you are coming from. I am torn. To an extent, I agree with you about forcing your morals on someone else. And I agree, it will probably just make that person mad and want nothing to do with the Church. But on the other hand, how can you knowingly help someone do something you know is wrong?

I grew up a very devout Baptist. We believed drinking alcohol of any kind and amount was sinful. Therefore in our church covenant it was stated we were not allow to drink, buy, sale, or serve alcohol. So if a job required us to sale or serve… well, that was frown upon. It was just something you didn’t do.

So I guess my thought is… If you feel that strongly about not contributing to the sins of others, make sure you get a job that doesn’t require you to. (I realize that might be hard for some people, but if something is that important to you…)

Just my thoughts.

RyanL’s Wife


#7

We are not to sin, cooperate in anyone else’s sin, lead anyone else into sin, or cause scandal (e.g., by showing that a practicing Catholic is willing to sell a sinful product). The girl did the best thing, although not the required thing according to the Church. The owner of the store which sells condoms has the most culpability, the janitor who cleans the store which sells condoms has very little culpability, and the various workers in between have varying degrees of culpability.


#8

Oo, that’s a tough one. When you go into a store, you have the right to expect that the salespeople will sell you what is available, and not bring their personal judgments into it.
I do admire the clerk’s courage. I used to sell cigarettes to people and say, “Those’ll kill you, you know.” But that was a health issue, not morals.
Probably the young woman should look for another job. Probably she has to, by now. There should be some place that would be happy to have an employee with integrity.


#9

JeffAustralia,
I disagree with the two posters who have preceded me (1ke & Rob’s Wife). Although I support the Church’s teaching on contraception, it appears this girl used the situation to express her moral superiority over the customer. I can only imagine the embarrassment and shame this customer must have felt–and there was no grounds for that whatsoever.

If this girl objected to ringing up condoms in the grocery store, she should not have accepted the job. This is the same reason I never worked for a video store as I did not approve of distributing pornographic videos.

This scenario reminds me of a call Fr. Mitch Pawca received on his EWTN show a couple of years ago. A postal carrier expressed his dilemma regarding the delivery of pornographic magazines such as Playboy into people’s mailboxes. Fr. Mitch told the man to say a prayer for the person receiving the magazine as he deposited it into the mailbox. Very sound advice, I thought.

We are called to promote the Church’s teachings with love, charity, and humility. Considering the way this girl handled the situation, I can see how some people outside the Church misunderstand our beliefs and come to the conclusion that we’re out of touch with reality. We have a long way to go in converting the culture to a non-contraceptive one, but how much progress can we make if we shun people by blatantly making them feel inferior to us? Your question of “strong morals or elitism” was well worded as I do sometimes get the impression that those who follow Church teachings devoutly (esp. regarding contraception) have an elitist attitude. This arrogance that “I am morally righteous and you’re not” is just as sinful as those who use contraception while knowing the Church’s stand against it.


#10

I tend to compare it with, say, a Jewish person getting a job in a butcher shop…and then refusing to sell pork. Or a baptist getting a job in a pub, and then refusing to sell all but non-alcoholic drinks. Supermarkets in Australia sell condoms. Full stop. She knew this. She shouldn’t work there if that’s the case. As I said already, your average non-catholic (and I used to be one, so I understand) has NO idea about the reasons for this teaching, and are not going out of their way to be wicked. They should be shown compassion…and I saw none whatsoever in the way this matter was handled. Imagine the embarrassment? Was it deserved? I don’t think so.


#11

If that poor person buying the condom was so humiliated and embarrassed, then why did he or she go to the media with the story?


#12

Because they were annoyed about how they were treated. No, they didn’t publicise their names. You feel no compassion? Remember that in their minds, due to no fault of their own (in not being brought up Catholic) they commited no conscious sin, and yet they were treated like a leper. That’s not right. Where was the love that we’re supposed to have for one another?


#13

[quote=JeffAustralia]Many seem to disagree with me, but I see morality as a personal thing and not to be forced on others.
[/quote]

You mean like forcing me to help the poor by taxing my income before it reaches my hands? Or forcing someone into jail because they murdered someone?

Morality is imposed upon people in every facet of society. We only seem to be bothered about those moral issues that not everyone agrees with or might make us look foolish in front of others when we stand up for them.

I, for one, commend this girl.


#14

It hardly compares with murder. It sounds like you’re not heavily into compassion, Mike. Basically I feel it was fairly obvious that the action was done with no love whatsoever, and it achieved nothing for the customer, for the Church, or for society. It would have done little more than to inflate the girl’s sense of self-righteousness. But sounds like we’ll have to agree to disagree.


#15

When I was 16yrs old, it would not have crossed my mind that I would have to sell condoms in a grocer’s (condoms were not looming large on my mind). I would give the girl the benefit of the doubt in that regard! The situation probably just dropped in her lap and she felt uncomfortable and did what she thought best at the time. I assume she might have given up her post since then.

However, I would not attempt to tell people of their unknown sins in front of other people (I’m not claiming the girl did this). The risk of detraction might need to be considered, as previously bored, uninterested customers zoom in on the situation.


#16

[quote=JeffAustralia]It hardly compares with murder. It sounds like you’re not heavily into compassion, Mike.

[/quote]

No, I’m a philosopher and if being embarassed is the worst thing that happens to the person buying condoms they should consider themselves lucky. That’s a lot better than suffering the painful effects of sin because you couldn’t control your sexuality.

Don’t you think its sad when we find embarassment worse than the temporal effects of sin on our souls? I believe that’s a vice called: pride.

If the girl behind the counter shot the guy buying condoms, then you can complain about lack of compassion.

Basically I feel it was fairly obvious that the action was done with no love whatsoever, and it achieved nothing for the customer, for the Church, or for society. It would have done little more than to inflate the girl’s sense of self-righteousness. But sounds like we’ll have to agree to disagree.

Did Jesus Christ calling Pharisees “broods of vipers” demonstrate a lack of compassion? Did it fail to do anything for the Church? For society? Why, then, did Jesus “inflate his own sense of self-righteousness?” Loving someone isn’t always making sure their feelings aren’t hurt.

Furthermore, in your “compassion” you completely ignore the girl’s feelings. It is a mortal sin to knowingly assist another in sin. Would you rather this girl sinned just so the guy wouldn’t feel “embarassed” about his sin? That’s not very compassionate of you.


#17

JeffAustralia,
Can you elaborate on the girl’s attitude toward the customer when she refused to sell the condoms? Was she haughty about it or did she nicely and politely ask the customer to go to another check-out? Having this info. would be beneficial. Thanks.


#18

If I entered a line at the checkout counter, with a slab of baby back ribs, and the vegetarian checkout person told me to go to another counter, after giving me a lecture on why I should not eat meat ---- I would see that she lost her job. She has no right to tell me not to eat meat. On second thought, she does have a right to speak her mind. But if she is working in a place of business that she does not own, and part of her duties are to be of service to me (the consumer) and sell me what I ask for - then she needs to either do her job or find another one.


#19

[quote=Bella3502]If I entered a line at the checkout counter, with a slab of baby back ribs, and the vegetarian checkout person told me to go to another counter, after giving me a lecture on why I should not eat meat ---- I would see that she lost her job. She has no right to tell me not to eat meat. On second thought, she does have a right to speak her mind. But if she is working in a place of business that she does not own, and part of her duties are to be of service to me (the consumer) and sell me what I ask for - then she needs to either do her job or find another one.
[/quote]

Is eating meat a sin?


#20

[quote=mike182d]It is a mortal sin to knowingly assist another in sin.
[/quote]

This needs clarification. For example, material cooperation is not always a sin, even if you know you are cooperating materially. Are you thinking that selling the box of condoms is formal cooperation?

Even if an act is (just) a venial sin, one is still ought not do it.


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