Habitual tardiness


#1

Is being habitually tardy -- late for things from anywhere from a few minutes to more -- sinful? Why or why not? I think it is for several reasons.

* If you are late, you have lied. Saying you will be someplace implies you will be there on time. If you choose (and I stress the word choose) not to be there on time (barring true emergency) to be late, you are not a person of your word.
* It is uncharitable and not considerate of the other person's time. Which is disrespectful of a person, which is sinful.

One friend said her priest said being late is not sinful. Perhaps not mortal sin, but I'd say it probably usually is a venial sin. Your thoughts?

Choose God,
Kathy

PS While habitually late people annoy me, I can deal with it and have learned to use those minutes wisely

PPS Also along these lines, I suppose it would be prudent to consider what a person means. When I say I will be at the youth group meeting which starts at 6, what I mean is that I will be there, in my seat, ready to go at 6. When YOU say you will be there, perhaps what YOU mean is that you will be pulling into the parking lot at 6 and in your seat ready to go at 6:15. If that is what YOU mean, then you are true to your "word". Just that you and I have a different understanding of what "I'll be there" means.


#2

IT depends like all sin on grave matter, full knowledge, and full free will intent to sin. Grave I cannot say, that depends on the circs. Sometimes you just don't have full free will control of your time, and some simply lack the ability to plan backwards (my DD for one) from the time of an event. She was late for her own wedding, and entirely missed her graduation. It can also be a means of psychological manipulation, even passive aggressive behavior, depending on when and where the habit occurs. Sin--that's a stretch. Just because an event is billed to begin at a certain time does not mean I made an actual promise to be there at that time, unless I made a specific arrangement with someone. Rude. yes, often. Tell me about it. This is the Rio Grande Valley, in a different time zone than the rest of the country or even the rest of Texas.


#3

[quote="MatureMomG, post:1, topic:213568"]
Is being habitually tardy -- late for things from anywhere from a few minutes to more -- sinful? Why or why not? I think it is for several reasons.

  • If you are late, you have lied. Saying you will be someplace implies you will be there on time. If you choose (and I stress the word choose) not to be there on time (barring true emergency) to be late, you are not a person of your word.
  • It is uncharitable and not considerate of the other person's time. Which is disrespectful of a person, which is sinful.

One friend said her priest said being late is not sinful. Perhaps not mortal sin, but I'd say it probably usually is a venial sin. Your thoughts?

Choose God,
Kathy

PS While habitually late people annoy me, I can deal with it and have learned to use those minutes wisely

PPS Also along these lines, I suppose it would be prudent to consider what a person means. When I say I will be at the youth group meeting which starts at 6, what I mean is that I will be there, in my seat, ready to go at 6. When YOU say you will be there, perhaps what YOU mean is that you will be pulling into the parking lot at 6 and in your seat ready to go at 6:15. If that is what YOU mean, then you are true to your "word". Just that you and I have a different understanding of what "I'll be there" means.

[/quote]

My motto is "If you're not five minutes early, you're late!"

As sad as it is, there are some chronologically challenged people who have accepted the fact that they cannot be on time and have even stopped trying. Many act as though it's funny but deep down they are embarrassed.


#4

accepted the fact that they cannot be on time

I contend this is not a fact. It is a choice.
If it were life-threatening, they COULD be on time (barring TRUE emergency).
Choose God,
Kathy


#5

Being late is a sin against the eigth commandment; and thus a grave sin.

If it is committed with consent (ie; not an emergency) and with full knowlege, then one would be committing a mortal sin.


#6

[quote="MatureMomG, post:4, topic:213568"]
I contend this is not a fact. It is a choice.
If it were life-threatening, they COULD be on time (barring TRUE emergency).
Choose God,
Kathy

[/quote]

How many life-threatening events are planned?


#7

“Being late” can fall several places on the moral spectrum.

It can be something out of your control entirely, in which case it is not wrong at all. For instance, you might see a fellow student who is late for class every day. You might be incovenienced by that, because it is distracting to you. This other student, however, may have an excuse from the professor because the student’s habitual tardiness is due to a situation which cannot be helped. It may inconvenience the class, but the professor may decide to allow it. Even though you may actually be suffering from the situation, the professor has the jurisdiction to require that of you. It could be that no one has at all sinned against you. Life is hard, sometimes, we are required to be generous or to make do with less than we would like to have sometimes, but that’s life. We are not entitled to have everything we would like, even when we’re paying tuition. If this were to happen to a normally punctual person, for that matter, the situation might be a particular cross for the tardy student to bear, and a tough lesson in humility. The same would be true, for instance, of a person who had only one available Mass at which to satisfy his or her Sunday obligation, a Mass at which he or she is late no matter what is done to prevent it. We all just have to live with that.

Tardiness can be a sin, when you are just neglecting a commitment to be a certain place at a certain time. You could do better, but you just fail to take the steps to do it. In this case, you are being self-indulgent at the price of showing disrespect for the time of others and perhaps standing in the way of a virtuous enterprise.

Habitual tardiness can also come from a fault: for instance, when being aware of time constraints is not part of your nature. That doesn’t mean it isn’t wrong or that you don’t have any duty to combat this fault. It does stand between you and perfection. Nevertheless, it is a work that you must progress in patiently over time, an ongoing temptation that you may not even be aware of. A fault is a habitual obstacle to virtue and provides a regular temptation to sin. You could look at a fault as the root or the soil upon which sin is a likely fruit. As long as the root or the soil is a fertile place for the sin to come to fruition, it is a fault. If the natural inclination is treated so as to overcome the sin, then the fault has been removed.

We need to be particularly patient towards the faults of others, though, and ignore their eccenticities as much as we can. They’re always going to be there in someone. When their faults irritate us, we can look at that as a collision between their fault and our fault! The ideal is to find a way to let generosity cover these things, so that we can be at peace with one another as we progress.


#8

[quote="puzzleannie, post:2, topic:213568"]
IT depends like all sin on grave matter, full knowledge, and full free will intent to sin. Grave I cannot say, that depends on the circs. Sometimes you just don't have full free will control of your time, and some simply lack the ability to plan backwards (my DD for one) from the time of an event. She was late for her own wedding, and entirely missed her graduation. It can also be a means of psychological manipulation, even passive aggressive behavior, depending on when and where the habit occurs. Sin--that's a stretch. Just because an event is billed to begin at a certain time does not mean I made an actual promise to be there at that time, unless I made a specific arrangement with someone. Rude. yes, often. Tell me about it. This is the Rio Grande Valley, in a different time zone than the rest of the country or even the rest of Texas.

[/quote]

[quote="JohnDamian, post:5, topic:213568"]
Being late is a sin against the eigth commandment; and thus a grave sin.

If it is committed with consent (ie; not an emergency) and with full knowlege, then one would be committing a mortal sin.

[/quote]

I disagree with both of the above. A venial sin does not require the 3 conditions (grave matter, knowledge, consent), for example, a venial sin could be grave matter that was done without knowledge of it being grave matter.

Sinning against a commandment does not mean it is grave matter/mortal sin.

Anyways, yes, it can be sinful.


#9

Sin? I am not so sure about that. But, in my view anyway, habitual tardiness is definitely a sign of disrespect. It is someone saying their time is more valuable than yours and that whatever they are doing is more important than meeting with you.


#10

Let’s just get the terms straight here. If you make an appointment and mean it in good faith, at the time, then you have told the truth. It is only a “lie” if there is mental reserve (“I know I’ll be late”), or dishonesty, in your mind at the time.

Life is full of failures to fulfill good intentions, even promises. That does not make the good intentions and promises “lies”.


#11

[quote="Edmundus1581, post:10, topic:213568"]
Let's just get the terms straight here. If you make an appointment and mean it in good faith, at the time, then you have told the truth. It is only a "lie" if there is mental reserve ("I know I'll be late"), or dishonesty, in your mind at the time.

Life is full of failures to fulfill good intentions, even promises. That does not make the good intentions and promises "lies".

[/quote]

Having said that, when one chooses not to honor a commitment, that is an offense against integrity. Maybe you didn't lie, strictly speaking, but if eventually you are not believed when you say you'll be on time, because you habitually break the commitment to be on time, have you not sinned against the truth?

**CCCC 2505 **Truth or truthfulness is the virtue which consists in showing oneself true in deeds and truthful in words, and guarding against duplicity, dissimulation, and hypocrisy.


#12

You know, some people just plain stink at planning. They just don't have a since of time. I happen to be pretty good at planning. Which is why, when I want my best friend to meet me at 8pm... I tell her 7:30... We both arrive on time... She just truly can't account for the 30 minutes that were meant to be shorter elsewhere. Honestly, I think these people don't know, can't guage how fast they are driving without a spedometer, or guage a distance without a tape measure. Since of space and time is similar to the ability to spell naturally, add, multiply, compute the area of a paralleogram without a pencil and paper...

However, I would think that if you're purposefully are late, to mess with another... you're probably sinning... But being tardy has nothing to do with it... That, I suspect is just the outcome of planning to be a jerk.


#13

[quote="EasterJoy, post:11, topic:213568"]
Having said that, when one chooses not to honor a commitment, that is an offense against integrity. Maybe you didn't lie, strictly speaking, but if eventually you are not believed when you say you'll be on time, because you habitually break the commitment to be on time, have you not sinned against the truth?

**CCCC 2505 **Truth or truthfulness is the virtue which consists in showing oneself true in deeds and truthful in words, and guarding against duplicity, dissimulation, and hypocrisy.

[/quote]

Thankyou for bringing in CCC #2505 with the emphasis on truthfulness in deeds, and truthfulness itself as a necessary virtue.

"Maybe you didn't lie, strictly speaking,..."

Catholic morality is very clear that if you didn't lie, "strictly speaking", then you didn't lie. Words can only be a "lie" if deception is actively intended at the time of the words.

CCC 2482 "A lie consists in speaking a falsehood with the intention of deceiving."281

The citation, 281, is from Augustine.

It is a very important matter, because the word "lie" is often applied in situations where there is a discrepancy in words and actions, a discrepancy which is not culpable, or has less culpability than a "lie", but the accusation leaves the impression that the more serious offence (objectively and morally) has been committed.

Saying that something is a "lie" when it isn't could be a lie in itself (and often is), or an offence against truthfulness, or just an inculpable error. As always, one should give others the benefit of any doubt.

[quote="EasterJoy, post:11, topic:213568"]
...if eventually you are not believed when you say you'll be on time, because you habitually break the commitment to be on time, have you not sinned against the truth?

[/quote]

I would say yes.


#14

[quote="faithfully, post:12, topic:213568"]
You know, some people just plain stink at planning. They just don't have a since of time. I happen to be pretty good at planning. Which is why, when I want my best friend to meet me at 8pm... I tell her 7:30... We both arrive on time... She just truly can't account for the 30 minutes that were meant to be shorter elsewhere. Honestly, I think these people don't know, can't guage how fast they are driving without a spedometer, or guage a distance without a tape measure. Since of space and time is similar to the ability to spell naturally, add, multiply, compute the area of a paralleogram without a pencil and paper...

However, I would think that if you're purposefully are late, to mess with another... you're probably sinning... But being tardy has nothing to do with it... That, I suspect is just the outcome of planning to be a jerk.

[/quote]

Love covers a multitude of sins...and everyone is happier. :thumbsup:

Besides, at least she doesn't show up for parties so early that the hosts are still getting out of the shower! (I'm pretty sure that is a mortal fault. Maybe deadly, too. :rolleyes:)

When hosting, though, I have learned to ask the tardy people to bring the dessert, not the appetizer!! :D


#15

Yup, I'm one of those just can't keep track of time unless I have a watch with me at all times. I thought I just had to get up earlier to be on time, but even then I would be rushing out the door. Sometimes I didn't realize how long I'd be in the shower until the hot water started to run out. Even my mom said I would be late to my own funeral:eek:

So in order to be on time, I have a clock in the shower, my bedroom, downstairs, upstairs, and my watch. I know it's silly, but I would sometimes start on a project and before I knew it, the whole day had gone by:shrug:


#16

Okay, I seriously thought this was a joke, even based on the responses of the posters. I don't think I would ever classify tardiness as sinful, annoying or not respectful of another person's time, yes, but sinful? Anyway, those who have experienced, vacationed, or lived in non-American or non-Anglo cultures (even within the US) know perfectly well that tardiness is just a part of life, maybe because many cultures are more relaxed than ours. Go to a local Hispanic mass and you'll see that mass usually never starts at the scheduled time. Then again, you will also note that those who attend the Spanish language masses are so respectful and reverent of the Eucharist that if they know they haven't confessed their sins they don't receive the Eucharist, they'd rather respect our Lord than to "save face" as many in the English speaking masses do.


#17

lateness is not objectively sinful. Jesus was late to one of his best friend's funeral. if chronically late people annoy me (a subjective response), then it would be best for me to NOT attempt to relegate lateness to the "sin heap." i'm already annoyed-- i should agree with myself to judge now, too?

"bear wrongs patienly" is a spiritual work of mercy. to my reading, this is much more a clear directive. my vote's with that.


#18

Thinking about this more, and reading replies, it seems to me the key is communication.

If I say I will be at the youth group meeting which starts at 6 pm, what I mean by that is that I will be there, in my seat, ready to listen at 6 pm. So if I do NOT adhere to MY meaning, my understanding I am being deceitful, lying, in one way. (Dict. definition of deceive: to mislead by a false appearance or statement; delude) Perhaps not a serious offense, nor grave matter. But I haev deceived by saying I will be there (and what being there means according to me) and then not being.

Now, on the other hand, if by, "Yes, I'll be at the youth group meeting," YOU mean that you will probably pull into the parking lot at 6 pm, then spend 15 min. using the bathroom, hanging up your coat, etc. and be in your seat at 6:15; then you are not lying or being deceptive. You are fulfilling what YOU mean by being there. Which is different than what I mean by being there.

So, does not much of the "problem" boil down to communication? What we mean by our words. Some feel it is okay to be (say more than 5 minutes) late for various functions. That, "I'll be there," means within 15 (or 30 or whatever) and are fine with that, see nothing wrong with it, do not see the words, "I'll be there," as a commitment to being there at 6 pm. Others, like myself, see the words, "I'll be there," as a commitment to being in place, in your seat by 6 pm, ready to begin.

I am not sure if society (our American society) has a norm on this. Some people/places/events believe being late X number of minutes is perfectly acceptable. Some do not.

Just another aspect....

And also, I will still strongly contend that 98% (or more) of the time, WHEN we arrive at a place is OUR CHOICE, not external circumstances beyond our control. I have raised 7 kids, I KNOW what it's like to have a diaper blowout at the last minute, lost shoes, a husband who is habitually tardy, nasty weather (Minnesota). I can STILL CHOOSE to be ON TIME,(almost always) if I want, if I make that effort, if it is a priority for me, if it is important to me. It IS in my control (almost always).

Another point, I heard this and find it true. People who are habitually late have a very hard time STOPPING. They have a hard time stopping whatever it is they are doing (valid, important or not) so they can leave.

Good discussion, people. Thank you for your input.
Choose God,
Kathy


#19

Sinful? No, unless you are deliberately trying to upset someone.

Super Rude? You bet.

I agree with you that 99% of the time, you CAN control whether you arrive on time. It is a matter of priorities.

I have worked in HR and had MANY discussions with people about the fact that, if you are 10 minutes late to work on a frequent basis, that means you need to leave your house 15 minutes EARLIER!! Just because you can squeak through 60% of the time doesn't mean that becomes your default departure time.

In other words, if you have to be at work at 9:00, and leaving your house at 8:45, you arrive at work on time 60% of the time, and 40% of the time you are 5-10 minutes late means you need to leave earlier!!!

It is true that this is cultural, I did study abroad in Ireland many years ago. I would arrive promptly for lecture times and then sit there for 10-20 minutes waiting for the Prof & other students, lol! At my school in the US, if the Prof wasn't there 15 minutes after the class was scheduled, students were allowed to assume the lecture was cancelled, and leave!

However, when it comes to habitual tardiness her in the US. I think it is so so so rude. But people have to be willing to make the offender feel uncomfortable, and tell them they are being rude. Many people dislike confrontation and don't say anything, just sit there and quietly seethe.


#20

I help run a Rel Ed dept at a large parish. We offer children's Faith Formation at five times throughout the week - including three on Sunday. Our town as well as or parish have been in a growth boom for a few years. The only road to and from church for about half of our families has been and will be under construction for widening for a while. Two of our class times are at the same time as two of our Sunday Masses. Our parking lot is bursting and traffic is never good. If families arrive early there is no place to park.

For us this is a fact of life and catechists, priests and other leaders have grown to accept it.

I have many Spanish speaking friends and they are rumored to be on Latino Time (10 minutes late).

I too am an always on-time person. I just try not to let other people's priorities get me down and I plan accordingly.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.