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  #1  
Old Jan 13, '11, 7:52 pm
wworld wworld is offline
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Question Is it a mortal sin to not tell someone they're in a state of mortal sin?

I've read somewhere online (albeit not a very trustworthy one...) that you must tell your neighbor that they should repent for their sin if it was a mortal sin or you will be in a state of mortal sin.

Now, obviously, I don't want to be in a state of mortal sin, so I'm asking this question.

Anyways, is this claim correct? Because wouldn't that be considered judging somebody? (http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=10706) And I also remember reading somewhere that it's a sin to forget that everyone is responsible for their own sins.

So... Yes, I'm very confused. Thanks in advance!
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Old Jan 13, '11, 8:26 pm
Bookcat Bookcat is offline
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Default Re: Is it a mortal sin to not tell someone they're in a state of mortal sin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wworld View Post
I've read somewhere online (albeit not a very trustworthy one...) that you must tell your neighbor that they should repent for their sin if it was a mortal sin or you will be in a state of mortal sin.

Now, obviously, I don't want to be in a state of mortal sin, so I'm asking this question.

Anyways, is this claim correct? Because wouldn't that be considered judging somebody? (http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=10706) And I also remember reading somewhere that it's a sin to forget that everyone is responsible for their own sins.

So... Yes, I'm very confused. Thanks in advance!
Judging others rashly is: He becomes guilty: of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor; (Catechism CCC 2477)

What you are talking about is "Fraternal Correction" which can be a very good to do...but it is NOT always an obligation --heck we would spend all our days going around talking about objectively grave things people are involved in!!!

There are various things that go into judging when it is an obligation ...for example "is there really a well founded hope that they will repent?" One needs such..and that is a biggie...

also one should note that one can be said one as a rule is not obliged to go around correcting strangers...also those who are scrupulous are usually not to be correcting others (they can see their confessor) ..or if it is a great detriment to one...are there others who are around who will correct them? ...etc

and the brotherly correction can be done in various ways...even less direct...like changing the subject of a conversation...

more could be said ...but there's a start for you
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  #3  
Old Jan 13, '11, 8:54 pm
catharina catharina is offline
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Default Re: Is it a mortal sin to not tell someone they're in a state of mortal sin?

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Originally Posted by Bookcat View Post
Judging others rashly is: He becomes guilty: of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor; (Catechism CCC 2477)

What you are talking about is "Fraternal Correction" which can be a very good to do...but it is NOT always an obligation --heck we would spend all our days going around talking about objectively grave things people are involved in!!!

There are various things that go into judging when it is an obligation ...for example "is there really a well founded hope that they will repent?" One needs such..and that is a biggie...

also one should note that one can be said one as a rule is not obliged to go around correcting strangers...also those who are scrupulous are usually not to be correcting others (they can see their confessor) ..or if it is a great detriment to one...are there others who are around who will correct them? ...etc

and the brotherly correction can be done in various ways...even less direct...like changing the subject of a conversation...

more could be said ...but there's a start for you
In addition, clearly, we are never in a position to judge whether another is "in sin." We can offer our knowledge regarding the teachings of the Church, the fact that we are to be faithful to Church teachings, etc.. but we can never KNOW if another is in mortal sin.

Last edited by catharina; Jan 13, '11 at 8:59 pm. Reason: punctuation
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  #4  
Old Jan 13, '11, 9:02 pm
thistle thistle is offline
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Default Re: Is it a mortal sin to not tell someone they're in a state of mortal sin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wworld View Post
I've read somewhere online (albeit not a very trustworthy one...) that you must tell your neighbor that they should repent for their sin if it was a mortal sin or you will be in a state of mortal sin.

Now, obviously, I don't want to be in a state of mortal sin, so I'm asking this question.

Anyways, is this claim correct? Because wouldn't that be considered judging somebody? (http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=10706) And I also remember reading somewhere that it's a sin to forget that everyone is responsible for their own sins.

So... Yes, I'm very confused. Thanks in advance!

How would you know if anyone is in a state of mortal sin?
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  #5  
Old Jan 13, '11, 9:35 pm
Ender Ender is offline
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Default Re: Is it a mortal sin to not tell someone they're in a state of mortal sin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wworld View Post
I've read somewhere online (albeit not a very trustworthy one...) that you must tell your neighbor that they should repent for their sin if it was a mortal sin or you will be in a state of mortal sin.

Now, obviously, I don't want to be in a state of mortal sin, so I'm asking this question.

Anyways, is this claim correct? Because wouldn't that be considered judging somebody? (http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=10706) And I also remember reading somewhere that it's a sin to forget that everyone is responsible for their own sins.

So... Yes, I'm very confused. Thanks in advance!
I think Bookcat's comments were very good but I would add that Aquinas considered fraternal correction (which is what you are asking about) to be an act of charity. He goes on to say:

Augustine says (De Verb. Dom. xvi, 4): "You become worse than the sinner if you fail to correct him." But this would not be so unless, by this neglect, one omitted to observe some precept. Therefore fraternal correction is a matter of precept.

By "precept" is meant: "a command or principle intended especially as a general rule of action." So yes, in general, you have an obligation to correct your neighbor. Note, however, that there are usually exceptions depending on specific circumstances. I think that if you can tell your neighbor in such a way that he may listen to you, as opposed to coming across in a way that would only harden him in his error, you have that obligation.

Ender
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  #6  
Old Jan 13, '11, 9:40 pm
catharina catharina is offline
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Default Re: Is it a mortal sin to not tell someone they're in a state of mortal sin?

Admonishing the sinner is a spiritual work of mercy.
Fraternal correction, built into the life of religious communities, is an example of it.

In "admonishing the sinner" it must be recognized
that we can never know the depth of another's sin.

It is sufficient that we "noticed" what might seem a scandal
or seem at odds with truth, and so we speak from that point.

Last edited by catharina; Jan 13, '11 at 9:41 pm. Reason: typo
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  #7  
Old Jan 13, '11, 10:19 pm
Bookcat Bookcat is offline
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Default Re: Is it a mortal sin to not tell someone they're in a state of mortal sin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by catharina View Post
Admonishing the sinner is a spiritual work of mercy.
Fraternal correction, built into the life of religious communities, is an example of it.

In "admonishing the sinner" it must be recognized
that we can never know the depth of another's sin.

It is sufficient that we "noticed" what might seem a scandal
or seem at odds with truth, and so we speak from that point.
But in terms of "obligation"...there are limits
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  #8  
Old Jan 13, '11, 10:22 pm
catharina catharina is offline
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Default Re: Is it a mortal sin to not tell someone they're in a state of mortal sin?

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Originally Posted by Bookcat View Post
But in terms of "obligation"...there are limits
Definitely.

Although fraternal correction is the common practice in religious life in community.
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  #9  
Old Jan 13, '11, 10:23 pm
Bookcat Bookcat is offline
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Default Re: Is it a mortal sin to not tell someone they're in a state of mortal sin?

Here this is from the Catholic Encylopedia from about 100 years ago...but still lots of good helps:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04394a.htm

should help a good deal ...
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  #10  
Old Jan 14, '11, 4:39 am
cviolette cviolette is offline
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Default Re: Is it a mortal sin to not tell someone they're in a state of mortal sin?

Interesting thread. I have been wondering about how far to push my husband. He has not been to confessing since he was a teenager (he is 50 years old). I have brought up confession but he refuses to go. I am still trying to get him to go but don't want to turn him off to religion. He is willing to go to church every week and finally tolerates EWTN. He just feels I am suffering from Catholic guilt and it is just a phase.
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  #11  
Old Jan 14, '11, 4:48 am
VonDerTann VonDerTann is offline
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Default Re: Is it a mortal sin to not tell someone they're in a state of mortal sin?

Let's get the planks out of our own eyes first, before we worry about the specks in our neighbors' eyes.
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  #12  
Old Jan 14, '11, 7:32 am
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twoangels twoangels is offline
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Default Re: Is it a mortal sin to not tell someone they're in a state of mortal sin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wworld View Post
I've read somewhere online (albeit not a very trustworthy one...) that you must tell your neighbor that they should repent for their sin if it was a mortal sin or you will be in a state of mortal sin.

Now, obviously, I don't want to be in a state of mortal sin, so I'm asking this question.

Anyways, is this claim correct? Because wouldn't that be considered judging somebody? (http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=10706) And I also remember reading somewhere that it's a sin to forget that everyone is responsible for their own sins.

So... Yes, I'm very confused. Thanks in advance!
Admonishing the sinner is a work of mercy. That said, being judgmental is a sin. Its important to discern between when we're motivated to correct someone out of self-righteousness and when saying something is truly out of charity and mercy.

Moreover, we can only know if a sin is grave and thus potentially mortal. We cannot judge the hearts of individuals. We need to acknowledge that we may not actually have the best understanding of sin itself. We can suffer from our own scrupulocities and confusions about what the faith teaches.

Meanwhile it is tricky. Some doors are slammed tight. People aren't receptive, they already know what the Church teaches and hammering them on the head with it only seals the door more. As such, its important for us to look for open doors and windows and to gently approach individuals with the truth. Ultimately then it is up to them to open the door further. Sometimes people will still reject the truth and then you have to leave it as that. To do anymore at that point is a bit self righteous.

Its not always clear. When my brother-in-law and I became friends, he was just coming back to the faith but was still progressive. His parents were divorced. His Dad had remarried multiple times and his mom was in a lesbian relationship. He had several friends who had had abortions. Overall the people he loved were people he didn't want to make feel condemned and hearing that "Well the Church teaches the truth and she either has authority or she doesn't" didn't sit well with him. He got angry at me many times, and thankfully many times I shut up and just prayed for him. But he was still curious and would ask me questions and then get angry at me...and then change his mind realizing that the Church was right. I know its hard for him. He still loves his parents and now has to deal with others accusing him as being a homophobe and potentially a terrible son. We all try to assure him that he knows what is in his heart and it is nothing but love for his mother. So while he was loud about complaining about such information, he was an open door and I saw him make a 180 in his life. Little did I know that he and my sister would end up married.

Then there was the surprise. I had a friend who I met at daily Mass. She went to confession pretty regularly and was constantly talking about St. Faustina. Every once in awhile she'd get confused about whether or not she could receive the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin, and little things like chewing gum at Mass. She also was confused a bit about dating and marriage and following the precepts of the Church. it took me awhile to realize that she held St. Faustina as a higher authority than the magistrium of the Church, and that she was easily misguided to believing she had met some real mystics at daily Mass who she thought had a direct connection to God even though they admitted they didn't agree with the bishops on everything. Overall, she was more superstitutious than religious and I wasn't aware of that. Eventually she got mad at me for pointing things out to her. Then a priest upset her in the confessional and from then on she pretty much left.

So ultimately its not simply "Is this person going to Mass?" regularly that determines if the door is opened or closed. It really is more about how open the person is to listening and whether or not they are seeking the truth. A person who appears to be more outside the Church may be closer to entering and open to God's grace and truth than a person who appears to be very much inside the Church.
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Old Jan 14, '11, 7:57 am
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Rascalking Rascalking is offline
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Default Re: Is it a mortal sin to not tell someone they're in a state of mortal sin?

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Originally Posted by VonDerTann View Post
Let's get the planks out of our own eyes first, before we worry about the specks in our neighbors' eyes.
Well said VonDerTann! So many people seem to think that just because the "judge not lest ye be judged" is overused, that it's not important. It is!

My thoughts-Let's remember something important-a mortal sin is very serious. Gravely serious (no pun intended). When we start labeling everything we don't like a mortal sin, it really cheapens the words.

Be careful if you walk around telling people what they're doing is wrong. Not only will you become very unpopular and disliked (even if you don't care what others think, remember that no one listens to someone who is unlikeable)-but you might get punched in the face!
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Old Jan 14, '11, 8:17 am
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Default Re: Is it a mortal sin to not tell someone they're in a state of mortal sin?

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Be careful if you walk around telling people what they're doing is wrong. Not only will you become very unpopular and disliked (even if you don't care what others think, remember that no one listens to someone who is unlikeable)-but you might get punched in the face!
That isn't the half of it. You know the biggest complaint people have about the Church? Hypocrites. Telling people what to do is just gonna invite them to dig dirt about you and when they do... it's not a pretty picture.
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Old Jan 14, '11, 8:21 am
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Default Re: Is it a mortal sin to not tell someone they're in a state of mortal sin?

I don't know if it is a sin, but it is certainly a breach of charity, and impingement upon the perogative of the Deity, to tell someone "you are in a state of mortal sin" unless you are that person's priest in confession. We are certainly called to point out, in charity (keep your mouth shut if that is lacking) a manner of life or behavior that puts someone in risk of sin, or that is objectively sinful, but none of us, barring direct revelation from God, can state "you are in a state of sin."
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