“Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum”, literally “'With love for mankind and hatred of sins”, but usually tossed around these days as “Hate the sin, love the sinner”. That old phrase from St. Augustine is what comes to mind when I see this scene (my favorite actually) from National Lampoon’s Class Reunion (1982). I just find the response to poor possessed Delores here so darn charitable. “Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.” says the Catechism. “Charity is superior to all the virtues. It is the first of the theological virtues… The fruits of charity are joy, peace, and mercy; charity demands beneficence and fraternal correction; it is benevolence; it fosters reciprocity and remains disinterested and generous; it is friendship and communion.”
Now there may be someone out there who thinks just because Delores sold her soul to Satan, grew horns, and dribbled some pea soup, that we could bypass the charitable response in this instance if we felt so inclined. Don’t you believe it. As Our Sunday Visitor's Catholic Encyclopedia reminds us, we Catholics don’t do situational ethics. “Because the Christian ethic binds in conscience, it requires that moral agents act in a certain way. Situation ethics does not recognize there to be a powerful enough authority to assert that human beings act in accordance with the dictates of a properly formed conscience.” Christianity, on the other hand, recognizes that authority, in spades! So be sure to remember that the next time your local hellspawn comes around. And who knows, every now and then, just like we see in this clip, your response to them might just get some surprising results.