From: joachim omolo ouko
News Dispatch with Father Omolo Beste
SUNDAY, JULY 13, 2014

Ken from Rome writes: “Omolo, Your best ever column, on women and men, and the continuing challenge to society…and the Church to build relationships and structures of leadership and jurisdiction that translate this new sense of equality and justice into daily living reality. Society and Church are far from it yet; getting closer in words but yet far in deeds”. Peace.

Yuvinalis from Kisii, Kenya writes: “Fr. Beste, the story of women being considered as less than men is practically in every community. The horror story from India and China where the girl child babies are aborted tell it all. Some girl child babies can even be killed at their early ages to give the parents a chance to get another child who may turn out to be a son.

Even in cases of inheritance the girl child is discriminated. With the current laws in many countries empowering the girl child and also change in inheritance laws to give male and females equal rights goes to show us how far ahead Jesus was in terms of humanity thinking”.

Joseph writes on my Facebook timeline: “Fr Omolo Beste your expiation of women and connection of Adam and Eve story is wonderful. Please can you explain to me in detail about original sin? I am a Catholic but to tell you sincerely this is the doctrine I don’t understand. Otherwise thank you for this noble job you are doing.”

Joseph has raised very important issue. The term “original sin” deals with Adam’s sin of disobedience in eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and its effects upon the rest of the human race. Its doctrine focuses particularly on its effects on our nature.

The concept of original sin was explained in depth by St Augustine and formalised as part of Roman Catholic doctrine by the Councils of Trent in the 16th Century. Even a newborn baby who hasn’t done anything at all is damaged by original sin. It explains why Catholics have infant baptism.

According to Catholic Church teaching, original sin affects individuals by separating them from God, and bringing dissatisfaction and guilt into their lives. The story has it that when God created Eve to be Adam’s wife, Eve was tricked by the serpent into eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of life and death. She gave some of the fruit to Adam and he ate it too.

Adam and Eve realised that they were naked and hid in shame. When God next visited the Garden he realised that they had disobeyed him. God banished them from the Garden of Eden into the harsh world outside. God also banned them from eating the fruit of the tree of life, and so death entered the world.

So when Adam and Eve sinned in Eden and turned away from God they brought sin into the world and turned the whole human race away from God. Adam was created in the image of God with the potential to be perfectly fulfilled through his existence and his relationship with God. But Man failed to fulfill his potential and opted to go it alone and estrange himself from God.

Although St Augustine, who largely devised the theory of original sin, thought that original sin was transmitted from generation to generation through sexual intercourse, he did not say exactly how this happened. He only said that it was transmitted by “concupiscence”, when people had sex and conceived a child. This is where many scholars have difficulty.

Concupiscence is a technical theological word that Augustine used to refer to sexual desire as something bad in the soul that was inseparable from normal human sexual impulses. Sexual desire was bad, he taught, because it could totally overwhelm those caught up in it, depriving them of self-control and rational thought. This disapproving view of passion was quite common among Christians of Augustine’s time.

Augustine thought that concupiscence was present in all sexual intercourse. He thought that it was just as bad and uncontrolled in a marriage as it was in non-marital sex, but that an excuse could be made for it within marriage because its purpose was to produce legitimate children. Protestant churches don’t believe on this concept that is why they don’t baptize infants.

This bad element in sex provides the means by which original sin is transmitted from father to child. The Council of Trent gave the official stamp to the idea that original sin was transferred from generation to generation by propagation – which means during the sexual act that led to conception.

St Augustine was Bishop of Hippo, in what is now Algeria, from 396 to 430. He was one of the greatest theologians in history and his ideas still influence Christian thought today. He thought that humanity was originally perfect (“man’s nature was created at first faultless and without any sin”), immortal and blessed with many talents, but that Adam and Eve disobeyed God, and introduced sin and death to the world.

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
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