Grave Matter? ¿Quick Answer?

Hi guys,
I have been bothered by the way I acted in a situation I was involved in yesterday and I was wondering I someone can tell me if what I was in constitutes grave matter.

My brother was acting effeminate. He was talking back to my mother, trying to avoid completing chores, etc. Anyways, he was told to watch my sister as she rode her bike. Long story short, the tires needed to be refilled so he went to me for help. I made him do the work, being very harsh to him. Even calling him a “sissy” and a “girl” because of his bad attitude. I know I was out of place, but I worry that this sin is grave matter. Any advice?

It’s something I would definitely confess. I would also apologize to your brother for your own harsh words and bad attitude. Guiding him through the job instead of doing it for him is one thing, but you crossed the line. You might also reconsider equating slothfulness and evading responsibility as “effeminate” in general.


From personal experience, whether grave or not, this sounds like something that might haunt you if you don’t try to make amends with your brother for your actions. Maybe he thinks nothing of it, and maybe it’s eating at him. One thing is apparent - it’s going to be eating at you unless you try to resolve it. Talk to him - and I’d bring it to confession as well.

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You were incredibly thoughtless and rude.

Being cruel is not part of being a good Catholic, Christian or even human.

There is nothing wrong with being “effeminate”. You can’t yell the gay out of someone if that’s what’s going on.

Your age matters…you sound quite young. Your parents need to deal with his back talk and attitude. It is not your concern.

Whether or not it is a grave sin depends on your intention. Did you do it because you thought it would make him a better person or to punish and deride him for slights against your parents?

If you were intentionally tearing him down, then yes, this is a fairly grave matter. Children as young as 8 are now committing suicide because they are bullied.


Matthew 5:22 But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire.

Matthew 18:6 [ Temptations to Sin ] “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Matthew 18:10 [ The Parable of the Lost Sheep ] “Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven.

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How is it effeminate to avoid responsibility? Females usually are responsible for household chores.

Unless it carries a connotation I’m not aware of.

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Effeminate does not mean feminine or gay. Effeminacy, according to St Thomas Aquinas, is the avoidance of what is hard and arduous due to an unwillingness to separate from pleasure. Basically, it is an inordinate attachment to pleasure. It is the #1 vice that plagues modern men.


Avoiding responsibility could be effeminate if one avoids responsibility because they do not want to undergo the difficulties of it, or because they do not want to leave their comfort.

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However, despite your definition according to St. Thomas Aquantis, it cannot be correctly applied to a child.

You are a child living in your parent’s home and so is your brother. If you are not yet 18, you are still in formation to learn these things.

A child does not naturally know that he must behave in a certain way. Tweens and teens must go through a process of disobedience to learn where the social boundaries are.

How old is your brother? I’m guessing not much more than 14 or 15. Probably younger. Expecting a child to act like an adult at all times is wrong. Your brother reached out to you for help. As an elder sibling, you were downright abusive. Being kind would have cost you nothing and would have modeled much better behavior for him to copy. Instead, you modeled crass beligerance and perhaps a good deal of your own “efemininity” if we’re going by St. Thomas’ example.

If you are all grown and in your 20’s…then there is a reason for concern–but what you are doing now is simply berating a child.

Given that you are also a child, your impatience for another child’s actions is understandable…but that does not mean that you can apply vice to his actions. He’s a child.

Also, I think that you’d be wise not to name any #1 sins that affect modern men. You are not a theologian nor a psycologist or doctor of the church.

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I understand that and I regret my actions. I do disagree with your last point, that can be discussed on a different thread at a different time.

A child is someone who is under the age of reason. If they are in their teens, they most definitely understand what they are doing or have the capacity to understand.

However, there is a better way to go about it than insulting them, which would set a bad example. The best way is to inform them of their wrong doing in a gentle way. They will not listen otherwise. It is important to make them understand why obedience and respect are so important and how they lead a person to a happy, God filled life. The saints are all good examples of this.


Actually, an infant is under the age of reason. A child is someone between the age of reason and the age of spiritual adulthood, or confirmation.

Even his use of the word CANNOT be applied to a child. Given that I went with the dictionary’s definition it’s a bit underhanded to expect one to go with a different definition.

However, I can consede the point that there is, indeed, an obscure meaning. However, the fact remains that the good theologian would be appaled that his words were being applied to a young person still being formed on the ways of right and wrong.

I wouldn’t think calling your brother a sissy or girl is grave matter. And you might have done it without sufficient reflection.

My advice would be to consider why you got so angry to call your brother names. And I’d work on controlling that anger. If it is something you indulge it will grow worse.

Having a minor dispute with your brother is not grave matter.

Your characterization of him as “effeminate” and a “girl” etc because you didn’t like his behavior may be grave matter if you make a habit of thinking this way. It shows a general disrespect for women. Jesus and Mary wouldn’t approve.

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