By Archimandrite Paul Papadopoulos
Moralism is the cancer of general morality. The "letter" of moralism kills the "spirit" of life in man. In this way moralism kills the ethos, because it fossilizes life. This is why eventually moralism negates morality. General morality is one thing while moralism and moralizing is quite another.
Unfortunately such phenomena occur mainly within the bosom of the Church, where people confuse the Christian life with the "moral" life, as they interpret it. People who consider themselves Christians move through Christianity as devotees who honor the ethos of Christ, without even approaching Him in the least. Without ever coming to know Him.
Moralists with a look are ready to rebuke other people; they are people who completely lack humility and self-reproach, looking for their next "victim" to confirm by their condemnation of others their own immaculate morality.
Morality becomes deified. How you dress plays a bigger role than talking to and saying "good morning" to others. How you style your hair is more important than the sense of your sins. How your external importance looks is more important than your inner state. Words are spoken about "modest" clothing while little is said about prayer, repentance and watchfulness. Attention is payed to manners, to showcase interpersonal relations without any depth or substance.
The morality of moralists is much more immoral than the immorality of those considered immoral.
"You must" and "do not" are give and take in families of these people who have deified the "external good testimony", for no other reason than "what will people say?"
Talk about sin is intense. Sin is everywhere. They are acts that lead to hell. Lives are condemned by God because some of their own inviolable moral rules were overstepped, and they claim to be cultivating the youth.
Talk about virtue? Almost non-existent. Virtues for them are women who wear long skirts and men who iron their suit jackets.
The faith of moralists in God is primarily based on the fear of death and not love for God, and to say you believe in someone or something because you fear something worse is immoral.
Have I said too much? Perhaps. However one thing that is certain is that God does not have morals. He has love, or rather He is Love.
A Christian is not simply someone who reads Holy Scripture and knows it by heart, taking every opportunity to show off his knowledge, for the devil also knows it by heart and shuffles it around. A Christian is not someone inhibited by the other sex. A Christian is not someone who does missions in distant lands yet does not forgive others for their mistakes.
A Christian is erotically in love with the One and not a killjoy stuck in types and forms. They are a blooming rose that is watered and nourished out of their love and freedom that has been offered to them by God.
A Christian woman was the "immoral prostitute" that washed the feet of the Lord with myrrh and the tears of her repentance.
A Christian man was the "immoral bandit" who stole paradise while on the cross by saying "Remember me, O Lord...."
A Christian is a sinner who lives in repentance and humility, who moves within the security of obedience to their spiritual father. A Christian lives within the Church of Christ, as a member of the Body of Christ. As a member who needs healing. And they do not find healing outside the Church, but within it. This is done with the synergy of the entire Body, with the help of the Grace of the Paraclete who "heals the sick and completes what is missing".
Christian morality is the freedom of love and forgiveness and not the illegitimate morality of immoral moralism.
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.
Read also: Fr. John Romanides on Moralism