A Little Confused About Sins of Omission

It’s my understanding that we have an obligation to correct our neighbor, although I may be wrong. I hear people all the time using the Lord’s name in a profane way, am I obligated to correct them? Sometimes I do, and other times I don’t. And what about people who drink or smoke pot, am I obligated to correct them? Advise is well appreciated. Thank you.

The term “sin of omission” is normally used to mean failing to do something you are obligated to do. The things you mentioned, while they might be nice to do in certain circumstances do not belong in that category. That term means things like missing mass on Sunday.

I can share how my own priest explains this. Many of the sins of ommission are regarding people for whom we have responsibilty. For example, if your child was the one using the Lord’s name in vain and you did not correct him, you could be guilty of a sin of ommission. When it comes to things like drinking and pot, there is also the duty to the law. Drinking is not immoral (unless the drinker is underage or otherwise not supposed to consume alcohol) but if you know someone is going to drive drunk and you don’t try to stop him, you might have some culpabilty. If you know someone is dealing drugs and you do nothing, the same sin of ommission might apply.

“Fraternal Correction” 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 or change?”

One needs such…and that is a biggie…

And correcting them can even make things worse.

also one should note that one can be said one as a rule is not obliged to go around correcting strangers…

In the case of the Lords Name …one can make a face…or the sign of the cross…such gets peoples attention. I once worked with one who was basically an agnostic or atheist and asked them to please stop…for it is the name of my Lord…and he did in respect for me. One could in the conversation even say something like how would you like me to call your mother something real bad all day long?..

Of course with Christians…even nominal ones…one can bring up the sinfulness of it and the of course our Love for God.

Of course often it is a good question too as to if we should change our the group we hang around with often…for we can become like our friends…

as to the drug use…ask in confession…

The around a hundred years old…Catholic Encylopedia here can be of some use on this:


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