How do i deal with this assertion?

being told that just because the church hasn’t spoken out against something, doesn’t make it right?

for example, in regards to working mothers and women wearing certain clothing or working n certain professions. I’ve been told that we as cahtolics should know that it’s wrong without the church having to say so and that just because the church hasn’t said anything doesn’t mean anything. then they give examples of how the church tolerated things such as the castrati or spoke out on important subjects later on after the fact. African slave trade, or other such things.

unfortunately, they make a bit of a point and I don’t know how to feel about it.

I’ve never told my kids not to pee in the toaster, but I think they know that’s not allowed.

Can you imagine even attempting to come up with a list of unwise decisions? It would be an impossible task.

We all have some measure of common sense as well as a God-given conscience to help us discern the moral nature of these small decisions. From the Catechism:

1776 “Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. . . . For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. . . . His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.”

1777 Moral conscience, present at the heart of the person, enjoins him at the appropriate moment to do good and to avoid evil. It also judges particular choices, approving those that are good and denouncing those that are evil. It bears witness to the authority of truth in reference to the supreme Good to which the human person is drawn, and it welcomes the commandments. When he listens to his conscience, the prudent man can hear God speaking.

I don’t understand, angell. Why wouldn’t you agree with that assertion? The Church never made a list of things that you can’t do, and then declared “whatever’s not here, it’s fair game.”

It’s like if I were to tell a kid not to stand on a bench, and so instead he stood up on the table. Well, technically I didn’t say don’t stand on the table. But, the kid shouldn’t have done that, and he is guilty of disobedience.

Try to explain your concern a little better so that we understand. I don’t know what you’re talking about, and we can’t help without knowing what you are asking.

working women as mothers seems to be a sticking point with you. I am not sure why. The Catholic church has not made any type of proclaimtion on whether mothers should or should not work out side the home and raise that issue to the level of sin. I am not sure where you are getting your ideas from because only some fundamentalist groups elevate working mothers to the level of “sin”. Since you are not married or have children, it is curious as to why this is an issue with you?

Well, it’s true that something can be wrong even though the Church hasn’t spoken out (though in fact the Church did speak out against the African slave trade, and always officially objected to castrating boys to use as singers–they just turned a blind eye in practice much of the time). But in the absence of Church teaching, they can’t claim that as a Catholic you must agree with them. They have their moral convictions on the subject. Well, listen to them and judge for yourself, in light of Scripture and Tradition.

You have freedom. Don’t let them take it away.


Because she’s trying to be a faithful Catholic and she has met people who make her feel as if she can’t be a faithful Catholic because she doesn’t fit a certain model of “femininity.”

I totally get why this is a big deal for her.


ok, i’ll try and explain better

there are certain cahtolics, or groups of them, who believe that mothers working is basically a sin, or women weariing pants, or other such things.

and when you bring up theh fact that the church has never said anything on the topic, they tell you that the church doesn’t always condemn everything.

yes, that’s exactly it.

I am very confused here. Are you saying that it is wrong for mothers to work? Are you saying that it is wrong for women to wear certain types of clothing? Are you saying that it is wrong for women to work in certain professions (rather than that those professions are themselves wrong)? That is what it sounds like, but I cannot see any reason why anyone would say such things.

A very wise and funny post. I appreciated both.

I’m not saying it, others have said it to me.

for example, those who believe that women should only wear skirts and be stay at home moms. not that there’s anything wrong with those things but it gets tot he point that if you don’t do that, it feels like it’s sinful

and when you mention the fact that the church does not oppose mother working or females wearing pants or other things like that, they tell you that the church doesn’t dictate everything that’s wrong and you should just know it is

I have never run into any Catholic that promotes this kind of thinking. Just looking ar any Catholic parish and you will find that a majority of women that work there are working mothers. This sort of thinking is ridiculous if there are Catholics going around promoting something like this. I have known in previous non-Catholic churches that thought this way but they were more influenced by fundamentalists than anything else. Basically it is none of anyone’s business whether a mother is working or not out of the home in a job.

I don’t think I’ve run into Catholics in person who thought this way too, but I know they exist.


What I’d like to hear from you is why you find these folks convincing? I mean, people can claim all sorts of things. Apparently they admit they don’t have official Church teaching on their side. They’re right that this doesn’t necessarily make them wrong (I think that shopping in supermarkets is to be avoided whenever possible, and I even think this is a moral issue totally in keeping with the general tenor of Church teaching and with natural law, but I know quite well that the Church doesn’t condemn supermarkets!), but what do they have?

I mean, there are people who believe just about everything imaginable, and some things I’d never have imagined. You can’t go through life worrying about every opinion you run into. Or rather, you can, but you will have a more difficult and unhappy life than you need to.


don’t let whoever is promoting their opinions over working mothers bother you. All it is is personal opinions and views of busy bodies. It is none of anyones business and the Catholic Church certainly not made any kind of announcement. Working out of the home is not a matter of faith and morals. If someone is pushing that as a Catholic, tell them they are more like some fundamentalist nut job and blow them off. Be confident in yourself, you’re ok and if you are working be grateful you have a job and don’t let this nonsense bother you any more.

only narrow minded kooks. I have known such people and they were certainly not Catholic and they are the one’s sinning because they elevated their choices as the right thing for everyone else and they become busy bodies along the way.

Well, the church has talked at length about working mothers. See the various social justice encyclicals of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It has said that it is a bad society that compels mothers to work. Hell, even fathers working outside the home is a grudging concession to modernity.

Oh, okay, good. Humans never cease to amaze me.

In that case, I would suggest that you do not need to deal with the assertions at all: they are too far beyond the bounds of reason to bother about.

so a married woman with children shouldn’t be able to also have a career if she feels like she is helping God?

I’m aware of the encyclicles you speak of, but it seems like the church doesn’t really teach that anymmore

Whether or not she “should be able” doesn’t seem, to me, to be a matter of moral theology but of prudence. The moral theology simply says that it is bad for society to put families in the position of having to have both parents work outside the home just to survive. How a society goes about accomplishing not being that way is just tactics.

do you think it’s possible to have a society where women are not compelled to work outside the home but can if they choose? if they feel it will help lead others to God and benefit them emotionally and mentally.?

that’s themorality I’m struggling with

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