Friday, 3 August 2012

Revealing Enlightenment

Princes Street Edinburgh

This post is inspired by recent events, the last post I wrote, and Annmarie's comment on that post.

It was a beautiful sunny summer’s day in Edinburgh, the lovely Capital City of wonderful Scotland.

I walked leisurely down Prince’s Street.

For those who don’t know it, Prince's Street is a straight very wide road stretching for over a mile or so. On one side you have all the very posh and well-to-do shops, restaurants, café bars and hotels attracting tourists from all over the world. And on the other side of the road you can promenade on the sidewalk overlooking the marvelous Prince’s Street Gardens spreading all the way up the volcanic rock upon which stand the imposing Edinburgh Castle commanding a magnificent view of the whole City from up there near the edge of the sky.

I walked slowly all the way to the Walter Scott Memorial and stood there for a while listening to a Scotsman in full tartan costume surrounded by tourists clicking their cameras whilst he played his bagpipes.

After a rendition of Scotland the Great, Amazing Grace and a few more Scottish tunes I decided to go down to the Gardens and settle down on a bench to read my newspaper.

A few moments later a young mother dressed in short trousers and a boob tube sat on the bench opposite me with her little son aged about 18 months or so.
In the UK we call it a boob tube, but I understand that other countries might call it a tube top. It’s a shoulderless sleeveless tube that wraps around a woman’s breasts and defies gravity by way of elastic bands at the top and bottom of the garment.

Anyway, that aside, the young lady sat opposite me talking to a friend on her cell-phone whilst her toddler ran up and down the path and every so often ran up to her and giggled hysterically. I ignored them and kept reading my paper.

Every so often the young lad would climb on the bench and kiss his mother on the cheek and say “Love you mama!”.

She smiled and kept talking on the phone.

As he stretched forward to kiss his mother’s cheek the little boy lost his balance and as he slipped he got hold of his mother’s tube top and pulled it right down. She dropped her phone to the ground and had seconds to react on whether to cover up her modesty or grab the child before he fell head first on the hard tarmac. Fortunately mother’s instincts came to the fore and she grabbed the child who got startled and started crying. She sat him beside her and then pulled up her top back in place.

She smiled at me and I smiled back as I picked up her cell-phone from the ground.

Now this post takes a different turn: 

When a woman dresses provocatively and distracts a man and raises his blood pressure; who has sinned the most? The man or the woman?

Could it be argued that the man is responding to a natural human instinct and therefore he has not sinned at all?

This of course applies to women too. When they see a handsome man (like me) and their heart flutters somewhat, can they be forgiven for reacting to natural instincts?

When is a sin not a sin in such circumstances?

When someone accidentally moons you when their jeans slide down a little (as has been witnessed by a reader of this Blog); or when a skirt is caught up by the wind (as has happened to me HERE); should we run to the Confessional and tell the priest about it?

The art world is full of paintings, sculptures and photographs which some might consider sinful. Is it wrong to admire them?

If, as suggested my Annmarie in my previous post, you attend art classes and the models are nude. What do you do if your heart flutters a little? Do you tell the priest?

How did the Saints of old deal with mini skirts and revealing décolletés? Did they praise the Lord for the beauty of the human form or did they seek His forgiveness for admiring it?

Plenty of questions for us to ponder in the Comments Box below.


  1. Victor,

    I've been pondering on this, for a little while, and, not wanting to sound prudish, I put the question to my young adult daughters. Now, I must point out that, though they dress modestly, my daughters are often the target of unwanted attention - requests for their phone number, being likened to a model, etc. The first daughter thinks nudity in art was an excuse for pornography - socially acceptable pornography, but still pornography. Two words she used were 'creepy' and 'insulting.' The second had similar thoughts.

    I agree that women have an obligation to dress modestly but men also have a responsibility to respond appropriately. Do they welcome the temptation or resist it? Young, ignorant girls are especially vulnerable and adultery can take the form of unfaithful thoughts as well as actions. This is something that my husband and I both feel strongly - that to have inapppropriate thoughts of another person is disloyal and hurtful - and can cause more harm to a relationship than most other challenges.

    I imagine that the virtue of purity becomes more important as we progress in holiness.

    God bless, Victor:-)

  2. Very wise words from you and your daughters Vicky.

    For some reason nudity is prevalent in art. What did possess Manet to paint Le dejeuner a l'herbe? No doubt experts can explain it away as they often do; but was that particular scene necessary?

    And yet ... even "Christian" paintings sometimes have nudity in angels and cherubs.

    I agree that adultery can take the form of unfaithful thoughts. My question is, if not acted upon, how much of a sin is it? Should one confess to a priest every time they have a thought?

    A photo, an advert on TV, a real life situation they witness ... all trigger thoughts in men and women. How much of a sin is a thought if it goes no further than a thought?

    Thank you for a serious discussion Vicky.

    God bless.

  3. Victor..

    What a thought provoking post. I'm going to ask my husband about this though I think I know what he'll say. As a mom of sons, I've had this discussion with them when they were still at home-- especially the oldest who, like his father, has a love of art. We had to think about some of these issues when he wanted to take art classes in high school. I've always
    felt that the Lord has given responsibility to both sexes but it becomes a confession issue when the one begins to revel in and repeat the thoughts (or sights) like some secret delight..Thoughts eventually lead to actions. I also think of Joseph in the OT when Potipher's wife decided to take her secret delight to a new level...and rather than be compromised, he fled.
    So-- I've always taught my sons when in doubt...flee.

    Poor mother at the park...maybe next time she'll opt to wear a sweater over : )

    Blessings and +

    1. Hello Caroline,

      How nice to see you visiting here. Thank you.

      I think you make some very good points. It's a question of when someone revels in the thought or sight. I remember the Potipher's wife story from the movie about Joseph.

      God bless you and your family, Caroline.

  4. When a woman dresses provacatively I think the man should observe custody of the eyes. Every sin we commit is our responsibility. So if an occasion of sin plops herself down next to you, get up and leave. For sure, don't look. Our emotions/passions can't be helped. The only sin is to indulge them.

  5. I could not say it any better than Barb.

    God bless you Victor!

    1. Hi Coleen,

      Thank you for visiting me again. God bless you and your family.



God bless you.

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