Does causing scandal always include some sin?


there’s a lot of talk about scandal in catholic circles. but my question is, does scandal always include sin?

is it still considered scandal if something looks bad to other people but isn’t necessarily, because they don’t know all the details?

for example, your friend owns a store, it’s your birthday and they say you can pick out anything you want. someone else sees you doing so and assumes you’re stealing which then causes them to steal.

another example I’ve heard is of a priest, visiting a prostitute’s house, in order to convert her, but all people see is him leaving the house known to be that of a prostitute. they don’t know the rest of the story. they then assume the priest is using the services she is offering.

perhaps these scenarios may be imprudent but in both cases, no one was actually doing anything wrong, it might have just looked that way to certain people who jumped to conclusions. isn’t rash judgment also a sin?

any thoughts would be appreciated. thanks


It’s not causing scandal, it’s giving scandal.

Giving scandal is anything you do that might lead another to sin by your actions. It doesn’t matter if you are actually sinning in your actions.

And it’s not just any person who might see you. It’s someone who will be influenced by your behavior, often someone you are supposed to be a role model for.

Example, let’s say you are living with your boyfriend/girlfriend. You have decided to remain chaste and sleep in separate bedrooms. But your younger sister sees your living situation and concludes that living together before marriage is fine and dandy because she looks up to you.

That’s giving scandal. Your actions have caused her to reach an erroneous conclusion about what constitutes good behavior.


If you read this it can help address your concerns:

In short, yes there are times when we should avoid particular actions, even though they are not in themselves sinful, in order that we not lead our neighbour into sin through weakness (or misunderstanding) on their part.


Is it acceptable to have a friend over of the opposite gender over at night, or does this give scandal? What if it is obvious that the friend is gay and the people you know would never really suspect anything sexual going on, but people around you might? I’ve always assumed it was fine and don’t like the idea of having to take into consideration the opinions of strangers and people I hardly know.


how far does this go though?

theoretically, you could lead someone to sin with every small action.

seriously, people have assumed I’ve dated a guy if we’re just talking in public. and dating in this day and age, must mean you’re sleeping together.

obviously, there are some major things like co-habitation, but it’s not just the scandal, it’s also the great near occasion of sin

where do we draw the line? why do people have to be so presumptuous?


why do people have to be so presumptuous?

people assume all sorts of things that are not true. where do we draw the line? are we just supposed to avoid a whole bunch of innocent things just because of what people think?


Good question but not the topic of this thread.

Giving scandal is not about what other people assume; we can’t control that. It’s about what other people, innocent people, may believe is right when it’s really wrong due to some action that we have control over.

In other words, if your actions make someone say “ooooh, she must be sinning” - that’s not scandal. But if your actions make someone think “ooooh, if she is doing it,** it must be ok**” - that’s giving scandal.


Well said.:thumbsup:

In my way of thinking which is hopefully the way God wants me to think, I make a conscience decision every day to act and behave Christ-like. My mother and father were my wonderful role models who taught me how to act, behave and talk with respect and charity. I don’t care what people think of me but I want my actions to reflect ‘this is the way to act and behave’. I have made many mistakes in my life and I am so heartfully sorry for giving scandal to others but I do not give scandal to others anymore. I try very hard to follow the Tem Commandments but when I sin I go to confession and I repent. Gosh, if I went off topic I apologize.


it’s very similar, I my opinion.

let’s use the priest with prostitute example.

priest is visiting prostitute in order to convert her. people assume he’s actually seeing the prostitute for her services. obviously, some people are going think that “oh, priest is doing it, so must not be a big deal”

or let’s say I’m dating a guy, or even a platonic male friendship. innocent person thinks we’re dating, in the case of the friendship, innocent hears from prevailing culture that most people who date are sleeping together, therefore assumes I’m doing the same.

I get that co-habitation is an obvious example, but even innocent people that you may have some influence over, can assume things that might not be true and then think you’re endorsing certain things whenyou’re not.

I’m not sure if I’m making sense at all


In both cases, there is a proportionately good reason for acting in that way even if others misunderstand it.

For the priest, the good of converting a sinner (and hopefully saving them from the horrid life of a prostitute) outweighs the possibility that some may misinterpret his actions.

For those dating, the good of discerning marriage outweighs the possibility that some may mistakenly assume they are having sex.

And - importantly - we can say in both cases that most reasonable people do not automatically jump to the wrong conclusions anyway.

And care should of course be taken to ensure the opportunity for misunderstandings is minimal. The priest can try to be as discrete as possible. The dating couple can avoid situations of being alone at home together, etc.


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