As Catholics, Are We Obligated To Tell Others of Their Sins?


I asked this quesion in AAA twice but it never got answered but the 30th question about purgatory does, I don’t want to get mad or seem bitter, but this question has been bothering me for so long and I really don’t know what to do.

I don’t think I ave any devout catholics as friends, I have friends who went to catholic school with me but they don’t go to church, they don’t practice their faith, and they lead sinful lives…

At a sermon 2 weeks ago I read a bible verse in the missal my mom has… And it basically said that "if you see someone sinning and you say nothing, they will die and so will you, but if you tell them of their sins and they continue sinning then they shall die but you shall live.

I have friends that sin constantly, right in front of me, talking of lust, sex, getting drunk… And they see nothing wrong with this AT ALL, they believe in “spiritualism” but not the bible…And some other friends I think just don’t care or what ever the reason, they continue to sin.

I don’t really like saying that what they are doing is sinning because they get mad at me and even called me a “bible pusher”, I’m not ashamed of being catholic and they know I go to church, but I don’t want it to seem like i’m judging them. For instance if you object against homosexuality then you are a homophobe, I don’t like pushing my religion on others because I can tell that it irritates them and I don’t want them to be mad at me over this, and I don’t want them to stop talking about something when I enter a room or feel uncomfortable around me when they talk.

I just don’t know what to do, with this particular passage does it mean that whenever we see someone sinning we have to speak up and tell them everytime “thats a sin, stop it” because I don’t want to lose any friends because we have different beliefs.

Thanks for any help guys.


This is a tough one and I’m no apologist.

One of the 7 Corporal Acts of Mercy covers this very issue - can someonelse list the 7 please?

Okay, so in principle we need to correct those in sin. BUT we must be mindful of the circumstances and the setting. To illustrate my point in an exagerated way, priests don’t go to strip clubs and tell managment that what they are doing is sinful - it just would not be effective.

It is the same with our friends - if their lifestyle is so foreign to our faith we would be giving them an ear bashing 24/7 which would be ineffective and damaging to the relationship.

How about asking God for a window in a situation to be able to speak at the right moment. See, God also wants them to live a good life too - its not all up to you. Ask Him for direction and opportunity to do His will in the situation. Don’t force it. Maybe also see a priest about it too.



Seven Corporal Acts of Mercy:

To feed the hungry.
To give drink to the thirsty.
To clothe the naked.
To visit the imprisoned.
To shelter the homeless.
To visit the sick.
To bury the dead.

Seven Spiritual Acts of Mercy:

To admonish the sinner.
To instruct the ignorant.
To counsel the doubtful.
To comfort the sorrowful.
To bear wrongs patiently.
To forgive all injuries.
To pray for the living and the dead.

I’ve been working on this situation myself with my friends. With the more I learn about my faith, and living a life with Christ, I find that the lifestyles conducted by my friends are less desirable for me than they were before. The best thing I do is just shake my head, with a smile, and say nothing. I think my actions, in a sense, say more than actually saying them. Then I find ways to pull away from condoning their actions, even if it means physically pulling away from them or not keeping their company. :o

God Bless!


Reading this over may help you:


thats a very good article. i have been thinking of the same thing as steven the past few days. it answered some of my questions. i will ask a priest about it as well. thanks


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