Sometimes evil is unavoidable. But if we strive to make good moral choices, the good clearly outweighs the bad. A simple story in priest's homily really helped put this into perspective.
Rev. Pedro Garcia-Ramirez, pastor of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church in Pflugerville, explained how his parish provides copies of a Spanish language newspaper to parishioners at Spanish Mass at 1:30 p.m. every Sunday.
One day the newspaper published a very thorough and informational story about Pope Francis not long after he was elected. The priest knew this would be a great story for his Spanish speaking parishioners to read because it provided great depth and perspective about Pope Francis that they might not get elsewhere.
After Mass, a visitor from out of state approached the pastor and was very upset that the parish was providing copies of this particular newspaper. The man pointed out to the priest that the newspaper included something sinful: horoscopes.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (2116) tells us to reject “horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums.”
The priest acknowledged that horoscopes are sinful but told the man we should not throw out something good — in this case, a story about Pope Francis — just because there was also something not good on another page.
It reminded me of the Parable of the Weeds Among the Wheat from Matthew 13:24-29:
He proposed another parable to them. “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field.
While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off.
When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.
The slaves of the householder came to him and said, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’
He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them.'”
There was evil among his crops, but it was not a result of a bad moral choice that the owner made. He cautioned his workers not to rush to judgement and toss everything out. We are blessed that God treats us this way too.
Even when we diligently try to make good moral choices, it's impossible to avoid the ontic evil that exists in the world. So we need to remember to choose the good even when there is an unavoidable bad involved.
It's the religious equivalent of the old saying, “Don't throw out the baby with the bath water.” Just the same, don't throw out the wheat with the weeds. And don't throw out the Pope with the newspaper.