If you pay any attention to sports, Internet news sites, or television, you already know what’s going on with Tiger Woods. On Friday, November 27th at approximately 2:25 a.m., Tiger crashed his Cadillac Escalade into a neighbor’s tree.
When the police arrived, they found him lying on the ground with his wife, Elin, by his side. He was unconscious and had blood on his lips. His wife reportedly told the police that she had busted out the back window of his vehicle with a golf club in order to get him out of the vehicle.
Within hours of the accident being reported, the media was speculating that Tiger had gotten into a fight with his wife, got into his vehicle to drive away, and was then chased by his wife who broke out the back window of the vehicle with a golf club, causing Tiger to lose control of his vehicle.
The day after the accident, the National Enquirer reported on its web site that it had proof that Tiger had been cheating on his wife for several months, and that the accident occurred after Tiger got into a fight with his wife. The story, which provided the name of the other woman, was immediately picked up by other Internet news and celebrity sites. After that, a whole flurry of reporters started digging for dirt on Tiger. Tiger subsequently posted a message on his web site denying that he had been unfaithful to his wife.
Two days after the accident, Us magazine ran an article on its web site that revealed the name of a second woman who claimed she had been involved with Tiger. She provided a recording of a voicemail message that was allegedly left by Tiger on her cell phone the Tuesday before the accident. The recording of the message was posted on the magazine’s web site and was then picked up by hundreds of other web sites. The person in the message identified himself as “Tiger” and stated that his wife suspected that he was having an affair and that she might call the cell phone number to see who the number belonged to.
The woman who turned over the recorded message to the magazine is claiming that during a period of 21 months, she saved over 300 voicemail and text messages from Tiger. She is now obviously positioned to “cash-in” by selling her treasure trove of scandalous recordings to the highest bidder.
A day after Tiger’s voicemail message was made available on the Internet for the whole world to hear, another web site reported that there was a third woman that Tiger had been involved with. Tiger then posted a second message on his web site, which stated in part:
“I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone.”
In less than a week, the most recognized athlete in the world was humiliated in front of billions of people worldwide. (The world was able to catch a glimpse of what God sees every day.)
So now everyone’s asking: “What was he thinking? Why would a man who has everything – beautiful wife and children, athletic ability, money, fame, fortune – throw it all away? How could he be so stupid?”
Regardless of what the behavioral experts have to say about Tiger’s behavior, there is no reasonable explanation for his behavior without considering it within the framework of what the Catholic Church teaches.
Every year throughout the 1990’s I attended a silent men’s retreat with about 70 other Catholic businessmen. The retreat master each year was Fr. John Hardon, a Jesuit priest and theologian. Fr. Hardon was very smart, humble, and holy. In fact, he wasn’t just smart, he was an intellectual giant. During his lifetime, he wrote 34 books which expounded upon the richness of the Catholic faith. His saintly soul passed into eternity in December of 2000 (at the age of 84).
During each retreat, Fr. Hardon gave ten different one-hour talks to the men. Meals were provided and each day we participated in Mass at noon, a group rosary at 3:00 p.m., and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament throughout the night. Private conferences times were available for individual meetings with Fr. Hardon, and priests were available for confession.
Every year, Fr. Hardon dedicated at least one of his talks to the virtue of purity. Year after year he emphasized how critically important it was for each of us men to practice the virtue of purity. He drilled into our heads two main points about purity: (1) it is “impossible” for a man to remain pure if he is not in the state of grace; and (2) impurity “blinds the intellect.”
Fr. Hardon taught that the intellectual blindness caused by impurity always leads to irrational, reckless, ruinous, and self-destructive behavior. He cautioned us to be vigilant about controlling our thoughts, words, and actions. He emphasized the fact that we need to constantly monitor what we allow our eyes to see (“because our eyes are the windows to our souls”). He told us that we are obligated as Catholic men to exercise extreme care and caution when it comes to what we read, what television shows and movies we watch, and what pictures we look at. Finally, Fr. Hardon repeatedly reminded us that we are required to avoid the “occasion of sin” by staying away from the people, places, and situations where we might be tempted to engage in impure thoughts and/or activities.
He admitted that what he was asking each of us to do was very difficult for a man. He told us that we are called to practice “heroic” purity in a seductive world in which we were constantly being enticed to entertain impure thoughts, and then tempted to follow through with impure words and actions.
How were we to meet this difficult challenge? Fr. Hardon told us we should start with daily Mass and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary – the only human being ever to be conceived without original sin and the only human being who ever lived a perfectly pure and holy life.
The hunt for the “Tiger” has only just begun. He’s wounded but that’s not enough for the vicious monkeys in the media. They won’t be happy until he has been (figuratively) mutilated and dismembered – in full public view. They are out to completely destroy his marriage and his career. He may or may not be truly sorry for what he did, but that doesn’t matter to the “reporters.” Their primary objective is to take him down. There will be no mercy – only raw and ruthless “justice.”
You may not be a famous golfer with a vicious pack of wolves chasing you down, but in the spiritual realm, you have Lucifer, his pack of evil angels, and his agents on earth who are out to destroy everything that is of any value to you – your faith, your loved ones, your relationships, your career… your very soul.
If you’re not currently in the state of grace you need to get to confession as soon as possible. Better yet, regardless of whether you’re in a state of grace or not, get to confession anyway. Do it within the next 14 days. And then turn to our Lord and our Lady every day for the grace, humility, strength, and courage to practice heroic purity. You owe it God, yourself, and your loved ones.