Failing To Admonish Sinners

If one overhears non-Catholic or non-Christian people talking badly of Our Lord and joking about his divinity are they required under pain of mortal sin to rebuke these people and tell them of their wrong doing? I experienced the above situation but didn’t really have the courage to admonish these people. I didn’t want to judge these people so I prayed instead to Our Lady for their souls. Is this just as good as admonishing their actions or should I have said something to them?

Finally does anyone here experience the same situation as I described and how do you deal with it?


What accounts is the results. If you heard Stalin or Marx talk badly of God, what was the use of admonishing them? You would get killed and the situation would be the same.

With most of the persons, the situation is similar. You would not convince them of anything and would make things ever worse.

The question is why is he saying what he says. He may have his reasons. Many times I protested against God and I still love Him. I think it is a bad idea to intervene if you dont know the person.

Pray ? I think it is the best thing you can do.

Sin? forget about it !!!:slight_smile:

Certainly not! Admonishing sinners doesn’t mean butting in on random conversations that you just happen to overhear. Not a sin at all and DEFINITELY not mortal.

That sounds like a great response! Prayer is always a good idea and a good way to handle it.

Occasionally. Depending on the situation I respond differently. Usually, if its not someone I knew, I just say a prayer for them and move on.

Think of when they came to arrest Christ in the garden. Peter drew his sword in defense of Jesus and Jesus commanded him to put away his sword. Jesus used an example of being able to ask the Father for twelve legions of angels.

Also, think of what Christ did during His crucifixion, He prayed for the Father to ‘forgive them, for they know not what they do.’

Reading through scriptures we do see instructions on ‘correction’, but it appears that those instructions were given to the authoritative men of the Church.

We can’t take non-believers to His Church for correction, we can pray for them though.

No you do not commit a Mortal Sin by not admonishing them.

And frankly, you might just find yourself a Martyr if you try doing that. People may react rather violently if you attempt to “correct their behavior”.

Yes I have heard such things. I pray for them, silently.

I did know these people, their quite good friends but they were really having this conversation with each other.

I just want to start by agreeing with the others who have said that you did not commit a mortal sin by staying out of you friends’ conversation. I do not think you even committed a venial sin based on your description of events.

I think the main thing you must keep in mind is that we all need to “pick our battles”. Sometimes you can intervene and it will produce good results, i.e. the person will realize their error and repent. Other times if you get involved it can either produce no results or negative results (i.e. being ignored, putting someone on the defensive and making them less open to changing, etc.).

As someone who has quite a few friends who are atheists or agnostics I know it can be difficult at times to maintain such friendships when the most important part of your life separates you from them. However, if they are truly friends of yours they will respect your faith and perhaps even be willing to talk to you about it in a polite and honest way. Try to admonish them with thoughtful kindness before taking a more serious tone. Realize that “they know not what they are doing” and that you must first cure their ignorance before you can hold them fully accountable for their foolishness.

I maintain an understanding with my non-religious friends that there are no questions they can ask me that are off-limits as regards my faith. I will answer their questions thoughtfully so long as they are willing to listen thoughtfully. Aside from educating them about the faith (even if they continue to believe it to be false) it also helps dispel the common believe that religious people aren’t “logical” or that they base their faith entirely on “warm fuzzy feelings” and bristle at the slightest questioning of their beliefs.

Though I have several friends who do not believe in God, over time they have learned not to disparage God in my presence unless they want a friendly debate to begin (I often like pointing out the foolishness on their part for talking badly about God since they claim they do not believe He exists.) Not only are they more respectful of religion now than they once were, but they are more open to asking questions instead of just parroting lies they’ve heard about faith or the Church.

I honestly think these talks will one day help bring some of them to God. I like to think of it as planting seeds. So perhaps the next time your friends are blaspheming you can try this approach and plant some seeds too? It might not work, but I think it’s a more effective approach than any of the others I’ve seen. Just make sure you’re ready to respond to any inquiries, and if you don’t know the answer to a question they pose be honest and tell them you’ll look into it for them (if it’s a question that can be answered). If nothing else these friends will likely respect your faith more even if they do not go out and convert.


Good alternative to a potentially ugly confrontation, considering you would have been interrupting a conversation that did not involve you.

If these individuals are your friends, you should be comfortable enough to approach them, separately and privately, and tell them that you don’t appreciate their attempts at Christ humor. You’ll know how to phrase your feelings so that you don’t come off as hypersensitive or critical. And if they really are your friends, they will respect you on this.

Thank You all for taking the time to reply. Many Thanks to you jtodisco for that great reply. I shall have to pray a lot more for my friends and for all who are tricked by satan into believing God to be unreal. May their hardened hearts be melted by the fire of the Holy Spirit, their eyes opened to see God’s presence and creation and their ears tuned to hear his word spoken by Jesus and communicated through his Church.

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