"We gather in faith..."

Teaching and commentary from our pastor, Bishop Francis J. Christian


This week the Church enters back into Ordinary Time.

For a few Sundays between now and Lent, and then again

from after Easter time until Advent, we focus on the

public ministry of Jesus, on what he did and what he

taught us through his words and actions. It is a time for

us to grow in Him, a time to become more fully his

disciples. And one of the things that discipleship requires

is honesty in our relationships with one another. That’s

why a recent study done by the Josephson Institute, a Los

Angeles based ethics institute, is so troubling. The

Institute surveyed almost 30,000 high school students at

randomly selected public and private high schools across

the country assuring them of anonymity. The survey

found out that 35 per cent of boys and 26 per cent of girls

acknowledged stealing from a store within the past year.

64 percent cheated on a test in the past year and 38

percent did so two or more times. 36 percent said they

used the Internet to plagiarize an assignment. As

disturbing as these facts might be, what is even more

disturbing is that 93 percent of those surveyed said that

they were satisfied with their personal ethics and

character. This means that the vast majority of those who

are acting dishonestly don’t think it is wrong. I wonder if

this is because our society – and that means adult society

and popular culture – values getting ahead at any cost.

Do we adults model dishonesty for our young people and

teach them that success is worth more than personal

integrity. For example, recently Herman Rosenblat, a 79

year old survivor of the World War II concentration camp

of Buchenwald wrote a book entitled “Angel at the

Fence” in which he told the beautiful story of how he and

his wife of 50 years met when she smuggled apples to

bread to him through the camp fence. The book was

never published when it was discovered that Rosenblat,

who was indeed at Buchenwald, met his wife at a blind

date in New York. So much for the money he was going

to make from the book, TV appearances and even a

movie. But no wonder our young people get confused

about honesty. The question for us is how do we

“unconfuse” them?