Friends living sinful relationships- do i admonish?

Hi guys,

Can you please shed some light on an issue that has been concerning me?

It is in relation to having friends who lead an ‘immoral lifestyle’.

A lot of my friends are either non Catholics/non-Christians. I do have other friends who are Catholic, however they are not practicing Catholicism to the letter. In short, I have friends who are engaging in pre-marital sex, living actively gay lifestyles, have done IVF, use contraception etc.

Now my concerns are:

  • Is it ok for me as a Catholic to be close friends with these people? I have sought advice from a relative who told me that even if I don’t engage in their behaviours, it is still not a good idea because outsiders might think that I also engage in immoral activity because of my social associations

-Secondly, if I do stay close to those people, am I obliged to talk to them about the immorality of their behaviours? Normally my close friends know that I am Catholic. I don’t bring up topics which we view differently, simply because I think we all have a right to our views. I don’t want to come across as a pressuring/preachy person. Am I obliged to ‘admonish the sinner’ in such situations.

Thank you very much.

God bless.:slight_smile:

I wouldn’t go out of my way to talk to them, but be there if they need you. They would likely be there if you needed them, so concentrate on the friendship. Pray for them incessantly. Ask your angel to reach an understanding with their angels regarding the relationships they are in. Our Lady and the angels can make more of an impression than you could on your own. You could also visualize pouring the Precious Blood of Jesus on them.

If they ask about love, tell them that if they have to ask, then it isn’t.


It is not only permissible to be friends with people who do not share our morality, it is expected. For salt to do its job, it has to be sprinkled outside the canister.

God has not appointed us to be the morality police; but be ready to share the moral truth when the opportunity arises.


If you want to remain friends with them, it’s not a good idea to start telling them about their sins.

Either stay friendly and ignore their sinful behavior or gradually distance yourself from them, pray for them & find other friends.
But remember…everyone commits sin, that’s why we have Confession. :slight_smile:

Again, splinter in their eyes vs log in my own. Be prepared to lose lots of friends.

One: Didn’t Jesus associate with questionable people as well? :slight_smile: I think that we shouldn’t avoid certain relationships because of what other people may think. However, if the opportunity presents itself where a friend may ask advice on their relationship, you are then obligated to share what you believe, but do so with charity.

I think the biggest thing you can do for your friend, besides prayer, is leading by example. Be chaste, talk purely, dress modestly, go to mass weekly, pray before meals etc. Sometimes we can speak volumes by saying nothing at all.

Admonishing the sinner is a spiritual work of mercy. It is an obligation for Catholics.

It is particularly appropriate to be concerned with this work of mercy during the year of mercy.

Many people will say not to do anything, ever. Others will say that you should admonish everyone at every opportunity.

The Catholic approach to this spiritual work of mercy is in between those two extremes. There are guidelines regarding when you should engage in admonishing the sinner as a spiritual work of mercy:

Here’s another good article on the topic:

And a great link from the Diocese of Madison:

In addition to the great advice that others have spoken, pray for them. Prayer is central to the life of the Christian.

Saint Monica is a good intercessor for the conversion of loved ones, and she prayed for St. Augustine’s conversion for 14 years (which, obviously, was successful).

Nicely stated.

“Open rebuke is better than hidden love”
Pr. 27:5 If the Lord tells you thru your
conscience to rebuke their behavior, then
I suggest you do it, even at the risk of
offending them, what if they died tomorrow,
how would you feel THEN?

Good point. We should always reflect on, and correct where possible our own sinful ways as well. To focus only on sins of others doesn’t help us get to Heaven.

But if perfection is a requirement for admonishing, then there would be none.

I’ve seen a TV ad against smoking. A guy is sitting in a chair smoking a cigarette through a hole in his neck, while telling people they shouldn’t smoke. Should we listen to his message, even though he is a hypocrite?

This thread, so far, (and not to put anyone down at all) is the reason why i have serious doubts about ‘believing’… Are we or aren’t we supposed to do certain things… even if it means loosing friends? And yes, you will loose friends, EVEN if you say something in a loving manner, it WILL happen. But is this not what we were guided to do? Is this not part of the deal- instruct, guide, point to “The Way”? Then shake the dust off your feet kind of thing?

I’m not trying to upset any bees nest here- all of you gave very poignant answers- all of which I agree with- even the contrasting answers. But then I’m confused. Does Jesus want us to be friendless? Is this really what He wanted? I really ponder this. Are things worse this day and age? People are expected to butt out and mind their own business, then we all fall apart because no one listens to another.

I’m sorry OP I don’t have a straight answer for you. All I know is when a person takes the Scriptures to heart and obeys them, they loose a lot. Its your choice what to do. I’d just suggest make sure your heart is in the right place when doing so. Prepare for any outcome and be willing to accept those outcomes.

Admonishing is obviously something that is needed in this world, but not very many people want to do that dirty job because the repercussions are vast, hurtful and because humans need to bond more than they like change or responsibility, risky.

I love Glams’ response. So true. Sometimes I wish i had a whole group of admonishers to tell me what I am doing wrong- the kind of stuff the majority of people will hate you behind your back for but never tell it to your face in kindness, out of kindness for your sake, hurtful or not. Its a delight to spiritually grow after the initial sting of pain. Its respectful to others when we admonish in the correct way. I know of one woman who did this to me years ago, and at the time I was hurt, but she was right and I respect her more than anyone else to have cared enough to point it out to me. She changed my collision course so to speak. She was to quick and to the point that she shocked me in saying it, but I listened. Sometimes I feel this is the better way than coddle admonishment, but each situation needs prudence too.

Ultimately, its your soul, your decision and maybe your call. Sorry I can’t be more helpful than that.

A lot of this has to be on a case by case basis. In the instance of using contraception, it may be likely but not certain. Unless they’re actually buying things in front of you or bringing it up somehow, you can’t really assume anything. If, though, the friends say something specific to you or otherwise make it obvious, you ought to say something. Charitably, of course ,but people do need to hear the truth. Jesus associated with sinners, but at the same time, he made it clear that their actions were sinful and they needed to stop. Another piece of moral etiquette is to keep some interactions reserved for married friends. When a family member started living with her boyfriend, for instance, her grandmother made a point of seeing her only in public places. She would not visit the two of them at the apartment, because it would be treating them as a married couple. So that can be a good distinction to make for the cohabiting or same sex couples. You don’t acknowledge them the same way you would a married couple, because, well, they aren’t.
As to whether or not you should stay friends, that just depends on the answers to certain questions. What are you getting out of the friendship, and what are they getting out of the friendship? Are you a better person in some way for hanging out with them? Are they better people because of the friendship, or is it more of a pearls-before-swine situation?

People are at different stages in their spiritual growth. It is best you do not admonish the sinner, especially with issues such as those that deal with how a person uses their body. I think you should hang out with whomever you are comfortable with. Unless someone’s behavior is outright illegal then there is no need to correct law abiding adults. People will do whatever they want regardless of how you feel.

Everyone feels we as Catholics should admonish these sinful friends as Jesus did, but …Jesus is sinless…no splinter or log in His eye!

None of us can say the same. :thumbsup:


It will always be a matter of prudential judgement as to whether an act of “admonishment” will do more harm than good. If so, it is the wrong thing to do. The first link above reflects on this point.

While I think it is better to focus on our own sin. I do not fully agree with this. I do not fraternal correction should apply to people’s personal lives. If someone sins is harm to the public then admonish them. I do not necessarily believe the observer of other people’s sins always carries the greater fault

Thank you for all your responses.

For those of you who say we need to admonish the sinner…how is that typically done? I don’t believe reprimanding people works (it usually has the opposite effect). How can we be admonishing whilst at the same time respecting people have their own opinions and free will?

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