Theology Quotes: Kenneth Himes

My bureaucratic past, political childhood and political science education are neatly meeting my religious life and study of theological ethics these days in a course titled "Catholic Moral Teaching and Public Policy Debates."  Our main text is hot off the presses (2013): Christianity and the Political Order: Conflict, Cooptation, and Cooperation by Kenneth R. Himes, OFM, a professor of Christian Ethics at Boston College. It's a great book that looks at the engagement of Christianity, specifically the Catholic Church, with the state and political realm in historical and global context.

This week, I read some of his thinking about social sin (a major research interest of mine). I figured this was highly appropriate as we move into Lent with Ash Wednesday approaching. Not familiar with Social Sin? "Social sin refers both to the ways in which our personal sins become embodied in unjust social structures and to the ways in which these structures, having taken on an independent life of their own, make it harder to resist the evil they embody" (Himes, 249). For example, an act of discrimination or hate speech is a personal sin, but is embedded in our social structures as racism, which takes on an independent life of its own, in a sort of vicious cycle. With that mini course in social sin 101, I give you this quote from Himes to ponder:

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