Is refusing to listen to the priest's sermon a sin?

Since I am not Christian, let alone Catholic, I intend to ask questions that normally couldn’t be asked on Christianity Stack Exchange. That website is really intended for fact-based questions on Christianity, not “Truth questions”. Truth questions are something like “Is X a sin?” As you might have guessed, this thread is asking just about that: whether refusing to listen to the priest’s sermon a sin.

Without looking at the Catechism (I’ll be surprised if it’s actually in there word-for-word!), I think such a behavior would be characterized as a sin, because it involves some free will to refuse something that is intended to aid spiritual growth. If refusing to listen to your mother or father is disrespectful, then the same logic can be applied to the priest, can it not? However, does disrespect automatically make something a sin? And if it’s a sin, would it be classified as a mortal sin (something that would probably deserve confession) or venial sin?

On the subject of Roman Catholic hamartiology, is something a sin because a person feels guilty of a behavior, or is something a sin because of a biblical narrative or because it is mentioned by one of the Church Fathers?

Well to answer your last question first; if something were a sin just because you felt guilty, then a lot of people with scrupulosity would be in a bad place :stuck_out_tongue: For something to be a sin you have to know it’s wrong, and it has to actually BE wrong.
And hmm, interesting question. I don’t really think I’d call it a sin, since ‘refusing something intended for spiritual growth’ is something a lot of us do on a daily basis, when we should be praying but instead go read a book, or something like that. And where you mention parents, there’s a specific commandment to ‘honour your parents’.
If it is a sin it’s certainly venial, maybe someone else here has thoughts on the matter. But I don’t understand why someone would ‘refuse to listen’ to a sermon anyway, I can understand thoughts wandering at least.

It is going to depend on why you are refusing to listen to the sermon.

Without looking at the Catechism (I’ll be surprised if it’s actually in there word-for-word!), I think such a behavior would be characterized as a sin, because it involves some free will to refuse something that is intended to aid spiritual growth. If refusing to listen to your mother or father is disrespectful, then the same logic can be applied to the priest, can it not? However, does disrespect automatically make something a sin? And if it’s a sin, would it be classified as a mortal sin (something that would probably deserve confession) or venial sin?

Interesting thought process.
Yes I think that we can classify disrespect as a sin because it is something that is against Agape and Agape (Love) is the root and foundation and the greatest of the commandments. If you do not wish to be treated with disrespect, then you should not treat others with disrespect.

On the subject of Roman Catholic hamartiology, is something a sin because a person feels guilty of a behavior, or is something a sin because of a biblical narrative or because it is mentioned by one of the Church Fathers?

Something is a sin because it goes against the law and command of Agape. Something is more gravely sinful if one knows that it goes against the law of Agape and does it anyway.

Peace
James

I think if you’re refusing to even listen to someone, you’re probably guilty of being pretty prideful - you assume, without even hearing the person, that you are so intelligent or enlightened that they cannot give you any new insight.

This is quite possible.
On the other hand, if you know that the person is teaching things that are NOT in line with Church teaching (and this can include priests), is it prideful or prudent to not listen to that person. :hmmm: hhmmmmm

The OP asks a very good question but as with most things there are a lot of nuances that have to be considered.

Peace
James

First and foremost is that you need to define sin and then apply this definition. No act is ever sinful in itself.

In the Catholic definition - which I assume is what the OP is asking, sin is anything that violates the law of Love - acts against charity. Building on this the Catechism defines sin as:
1849 Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience;** it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor** caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as “an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law.”

Also - I believe it is wrong to say that no act is sinful in itself. If something violates the moral law, as summarized by the Law of Love, it is sinful…the gravity of that sin might vary…but it remains sinful.

Peace
James

The OP may have read my post that I walked out on the priest’s sermon… The reason is simple…I didn’t like the way he explained Jesus’ miracle of feeding the 5000 by saying He distributed the 5 loaves & 2 fish & then everybody else contributed food they had with them until everyone was satisfied.

That makes Jesus look like an ordinary soup kitchen worker and is definitely NOT what is written in the Bible.

I won’t listen to a sermon that belittles my Lord & Savior, Jesus! :tsktsk:

That’s an important difference. You were not refusing to listen to the sermon. You listened enough to know you were not hearing the Truth. I would want to leave also but I would stay just to be able to approach the priest afterward and ask why he doesn’t believe Jesus performed miracles.

So, sin has to do with objective morality. Something that violates this objective morality is sinful. Your next comment is about the frequency of sin. That sin must occur rarely. If it is too commonplace, then it is less of a sin and more of a norm? So, sin correlates with what is socially normal or acceptable at a given place and time? If everybody in the city refuses something that would otherwise be intended for spiritual growth, then that is less of a sin, simply because that is normal human behavior.

So, sin involves intention and the willingness and ability to violate godly love.

Pride is a sin.

Pride is a sin . . . but the sinfulness of a situation may vary.

Yeah. I think that’s why there is an entire discipline devoted to this. Hamartiology. I find that it’s a deeply philosophically complicated issue, because it is tied to the nature of morality.

So, sin is anti-godly love or anti-charity. It is against reason, truth, and right conscience. It is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor, caused by a perverse attachment to certain worldly goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It defies eternal law.

To quote from Corinthians:

Um… actually I didn’t really read your post. It must be a coincidence. :shrug:

If refusing to listen to a priests sermon is a sin then I am guilty of a sin. I have refused to listen to priests sermons that deal with anything related to marriage or a relationship between a man and a woman. After spending 20 some years of prayer, looking and doing everything one can possibly do to find love with a woman, I simply have lost all faith on that issue and given up on it.

I’m a competitive person and demand of myself excellence and success. When I am unable to achieve that I keep trying until I can not achieve it. I then decide to move on from it. 20 years is far more time then necessary to spend on achieving something that simply isn’t meant for you to achieve.

You’re right on the first bit about objective morality, but I think you misunderstood my second point. I wasn’t saying a sin has to be infrequent to be a sin - If we lived in a culture where everybody lied and stole the whole time, it wouldn’t cease to be a sin. I was merely saying that we can’t be expected to spend every minute of every day praying/reading books/ listening to sermons for the purpose of growing spiritually. If someone recommends a good, catholic book to me, there’s no moral obligation on me to actually read the book.
If not listening to a sermon is a sin, it’d be under the grounds that other people here mentioned - disrespect and a lack of love.

I did not get this from the post that you responded to…
The commonality of sin does not effect it’s gravity.

So, sin involves intention and the willingness and ability to violate godly love.

Not really. Sin is a violation of the Law of Love. The or the culpability for a sin can be greater or lesser depending on other factors such as knowledge, intent, willingness etc.

Pride is a sin . . . but the sinfulness of a situation may vary.

Pride is most definitely a sin, but the gravity of the sin will vary.

Yeah. I think that’s why there is an entire discipline devoted to this. Hamartiology. I find that it’s a deeply philosophically complicated issue, because it is tied to the nature of morality.

It’s complicated because people make it so.
The Greek, hamartánō, which is often translated as sin has a somewhat wider definition than we commonly think of when we here the word “sin”. Thayer defines it as:
[LIST]
*]to be without a share in
*]to miss the mark
*]to err, be mistaken
*]to miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honour, to do or go wrong
*]to wander from the law of God, violate God’s law, sin
[/LIST]
So sin is anything that leads us away from God, and since we know that the path to God is the road of Love…anything that is against Love is the wrong path.

So, sin is anti-godly love or anti-charity. It is against reason, truth, and right conscience. It is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor, caused by a perverse attachment to certain worldly goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It defies eternal law.

Yup - that is what the catechism teaches.

Peace
James

I think this is why there are monastics who do spend every minute of every day praying, reading books, listening to sermons. Though, traditionally, in order to be a monastic, you probably have to exit the secular life and enter the secluded cloister.

That’s also true, and you do hear stories of saints who hoped that “their every heart beat could be a prayer”, but it’s kinda ‘above and beyond the call of duty’, if you know what I mean. Still a standard we should aim for, but I don’t think it’s a sin to miss it, especially when you’ve other practical concerns.

I believe that God usually wants me to listen from within, and not to the sermon per se.

Answering the question strictly, no, refusing to listen to the priest’s sermon is not necessarily a sin. As stated, the circumstances have their role to play. It can be if your refusal to listen is uncharitable. It would not be if your refusal to listen was because you had knowledge that what would be said was in some way harmful or not worth hearing.

This is not pride, but righteous judgment. As Socrates pronounces in Protagoras to the young Hippocrates, he is very young, and does not always know good from bad, and it could be that in listening to the preaching of Protagoras, he imbibes words that will bring harm to his soul. He cautions us that none eat foods without first knowing whether they are good or bad for the body, and questions us on why we ingest what we hear without knowing first whether it is good or bad for the soul.

Just as a vendor may not know whether his foods are truly good or bad for the body, so too is there the risk that a man like Protagoras does not truly know whether his products are good or bad for the soul.

Avoiding this sort of soul-poisoning is not sinful, but it is right, and furthermore may even be right or even obligatory to prevent others from hearing it.

I have no problem refusing to listen to a priest’s sermon, especially when it is politically motivated.

If no act is ever sinful, then why do we confess our actions. Why do we say in the confiteor “what I have done”?

Why do we replace our sinful acts with “acts” of faith, hope, love, and contrition.

We also are asked to do certain loving actions for our Lord and our Mother in reparation of acts done against our Lord and our Mother.

Probably need to explain yourself a little bit.

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