Can you throw some light on the 'occasion of sin'?

I’m getting very confused by an argument that I just recently (seriously) encountered:

“occasions of sin are themselves sins” according to my opponent. My argument was that, while stupid, putting yourself in a potential situation to sin was not a sin in itself, only if the action occurred does it count as a sin. Again, putting yourself in that position is stupid and irresponsible, but not a sin.

My opponent gave a couple of references, but none of them directly supported his claim that it was a sin. However, the author of the blogs made that leap at the end. In fact, the arguments given supported my thesis: it being stupid and irresponsible. I asked for official Church doctrine with actual Theologians, but haven’t gotten any. I Googled it and found some responses – including a couple on here – but the answers given seemed more opinion than argument and the references given don’t actually support the leap to saying “it’s a sin to place yourself in a situation where you might sin.”

Also, a couple have declared that it’s not only a sin to place yourself in a position where you might sin, but that it’s a mortal sin.

Anyway, that’s my long way of asking for whether it is true and it so what are good references.



If an occasion of sin is itself a sin, then the term is meaningless. You just have sin. This is just a matter of simple logic. It is useful here to note the requirements for committing a mortal sin: the act must be mortally sinful in itself, the person must know this, and he must freely choose to sin. In many occasions of sin there is not deliberate decision to sin.

Here is a link with more on the subject.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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