Is jaywalking a sin?

This may sound like a stupid question, but I was just reading Romans13.

Do verse 2 and verse 5 mean that every infraction of every human law (that doesn’t conflict with God’s law) is a sin?

Is going five miles over the speed limit when you’re late for work, school, or church a sin?

Is jaywalking a sin?

In my 51 years of being catholic, I am certain of one thing: Catholicism is about rules. You break a rule, you commit a sin. You must go to “the box.” (confessional for those not in the know…) This was hammered into our brains at catholic school by “sister Mary Ferocious.” It has stuck with me to this day.

Break a rule and not go to confession? Do not pass go. Do not collect eternal salvation.

Breaking the law isn’t automatically a mortal sin. The things you cited would probably be venial, they don’t seem grave matter to me anyway. Especially here in Ireland, where jaywalking is the norm. You can always tell who the tourists are at pedestrian lights :wink:

I jest (partially). We obviously don’t take needless risks. But we don’t wait for the lights if we have a clear shot across the road either.

I thought going five to even seven miles over the speed limit was permitted by law. It certainly isn’t a sin of any kind. I would find that to be a little crazy.

So…you think speed limits are mere suggestions? :dts:

Would you say that to the police when they pull you over? :rolleyes:

Depending on the laws in your state, they might not be able to cite you based on margins of error for whatever devices they’re using to check speed.

If the speed limit, where I live, is “25”, I go “30” because it is normal and allowed. I don’t go exactly “25”. I said it wasn’t a sin, and certainly not mortal. I can understand going “50” in a “25” zone as worth being pulled over for.

No, I don’t think they are sins, not mortal anyway. You should be trying to obey these laws for safety reasons, but I would think it a little irrational to be confessing stuff like this, unless you intentionally or recklessly put others or yourself at risk or in harms way.

More like guidelines really. :stuck_out_tongue: (Just kidding)

I try to stay within the speed limit, but it can fluctuate a little, and if I get picked up, well, was my fault and I’ll have to pay the fine I guess (I’m pretty sure they don’t pull you over for just 3 mph over the speed limit (5km/h equivalent in Aust.), and I wouldn’t think of bringing something like that to the confessional or anything, intentional speeding is probably a different story as it depends whether said person was intentionally and recklessly putting themselves or others in harms way, and I think it wouldn’t be because one broke the law, but because one put other peoples lives in harms way by acting dangerous/reckless.

I hope this has helped

God Bless

Thank you for reading

Well that’s very unfortunate that that belief was “hammered” into your head.

That’s not what Catholicism is about at all. It is about salvation, not rules. The rules are the means toward the end: salvation.

What’s more, different rules have different consequences when they are not followed, according to the nature of the rule.

The only reason we have rules to help us attain perfection in virtue, to prepare us for Heaven.


Considering all of the pain and spiritual hunger in the world, and considering how relatively few priests there are, I think it is a terrible waste of any priest’s time if he has to listen to someone confess to jaywalking.

I think there is probably a fraction of a fraction of young Catholics who have the same “rule-driven” experience of the Church as there were half a century ago, if any at all. Which begs the question, which approach is correct? Were the Catholics of a half century ago being given a false picture of sin? Or are modern young Catholics? What is the consequence of this disparity?

Love it.! Mind you I was almost creamed last week crossing a crossiing on MY GREEN…Now i am visibly old and lame the traffic tends to stop anyways.


I hope this has helped

God Bless You


In common law you have felonies, misdemeanors and infractions. The things you mention are infractions. Felonies may equate roughly to mortal sin and misdemeanors to venial leaving no category for infractions. So you are in the clear jaywalking. Or, maybe it is not that simple. :slight_smile:

I think it regarding things like jaywalking and speeding whether it is a sin or not comes down more to the specific situation. Speeding five miles over the limit isn’t a sin at all if everyone else is and you not doing so would impede traffic making it more dangerous for others. In my experience most police officers consistently speed more then five miles over the limit. If the authorities themselves don’t follow the law then it isn’t much of a law.

As for jaywalking if you do so in a way that endangers yourself or others then it would be a sin. If you do so to help a person in need then it isn’t a sin. If you do so just because you don’t want to wait for lights it is probably a very minor sin.

There is a ‘catch’ to confessing sins though…one has to actually be sorry for the sin, Im not sure I could truly feel sorry for something so trivial as jaywalking.

If someone jaywalking led to some kind of accident and led to suffering, sure anyone would be truly sorry for it, but the million times people jaywalk and nothing bad happens, how many people would be truly sorry for doing it?

But what does this mean?

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake…(1 Peter 2:13.)

Wouldn’t that mean that every minor infraction of any man-made law (that doesn’t directly conflict with God’s law) is a sin?

Or at least a venial sin?

I am sure that priests would go crazy if people habitually came to confession about jaywalking. For goodness sake use your common sense.

It is wrong to deliberately jaywalk in order to scare drivers and risk your life for a thrill.

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