Is sin only personal or can I be complicit in anothers


Could I push another to react in a way that they otherwise would not have and they sin? If I agitate, stir up, lie to, etc, do I have some complicity?

If I fail to teach my children properly do I have some responsibility in their sins as they cope?

If a child is repeatedly molested and later in life has trouble with depression, and maybe substance abuse, have I conjoined responsibility to an extent with their sin?

We are one body and when one member suffers the whole body suffers. We are to make amends before we return to the alter. It seems our goal is to seek healing for our infirmities amongst the members of the body.

I heard a priest say today that all sin is personal an Catholic radio. To me, that seems like a protestant view. Aren’t we all connected? Isn’t that communion?

I think many of our sin, sin that we seem to repeatedly struggle with stems from attempts to heal wounds, or feel better about suffering at the hands of others, albeit in our own frailty. But, frailty non the less.

He said do onto others…and not to harm…etc.

To me we’re interconnected…maybe that harm is to often ignored causing more grappling with sin.

Help. Your thoughts


Sin can be both I think. That is why we will undergo the particular judgement and the general judgement,

When we die, our soul stands in judgment immediately. We will have to account for our lives, for the good that we have done and for the sins we have committed. We call this the particular judgment because it is particular to each person. Good thing Christ gave us the sacrament of reconciliation!

The Last Judgment will reveal even to its furthest consequences the good each person has done or failed to do during his earthly life” (#1039). Here is a judgment not only of the individual standing alone, but also as a member of society and before the whole community of mankind.


The Catholic teaching is clear (CCC 1868)

1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:

  • by participating directly and voluntarily in them;
  • by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;
  • by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;
  • by protecting evil-doers.

You are not guilty of participating in one’s sin just by virtue of being a member of the human race. You have to cooperate in the particular sin to incur guilt yourself.


Ultimately, sin is personal because it must engage, by an act of the will, the consent of the individual who is acting, or failing to act, with both freedom and knowledge.

One sins either by commission or omission…one does something that transgresses the moral law or one culpably fails to do something, omitting something one was obliged in conscience to do.

One’s sins and moral choices can have direct as well as indirect impact on others…even a vast many people…setting in motion consequences one could never imagine or foresee.

Classically, there are nine ways of being accessory to sin:
*1. By counsel
2. By command
3. By consent
4. By provocation
5. By praise or flattery
6. By concealment
7. By partaking
8. By silence
9. By defense of the ill done *

One, however, would have to look in a non-abstract way to determine one’s culpability. There are instances where one’s proper response can be, for example, to be silent.



1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:

  • by participating directly and voluntarily in them;

  • by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;

  • by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;

  • by protecting evil-doers.

1869 Thus sin makes men accomplices of one another and causes concupiscence, violence, and injustice to reign among them. Sins give rise to social situations and institutions that are contrary to the divine goodness. “Structures of sin” are the expression and effect of personal sins. They lead their victims to do evil in their turn. In an analogous sense, they constitute a "social sin."144


Hi guys, thanks for your response. I, too, have a Catechism and looked that up before I posted. I knew there was more to it than that. I spent years interpreting Rule and Code. So, I knew if you just looked in one spot, you generally got the wrong answer.

Paul said that the blood of no man was on him because he taught the full council…etc

So let’s do a little applied “science”

When we sin, we are required to repair and restore the harm that or sin caused the other person. If we have worked to restore the harm we caused, then we would have warded off the sins of the victim. So, we could argue about definition about our responsibility. Had we followed though on our responsibility before the Lord…

Second, Being a stumbling block is discussed often both in the Old and New Testament and Jesus Himself spoke of it. There are 27 New Testament verses about causing another to sin. So, not a small thing. [scandal]

Thomas Aquinas in Summa addressed this through the fifth commandment. Thou shalt not kill" So, we are certainly culpable and it is our sin. There is also discussion on the reduced culpability of the ignorant and the weak who are affected.

Like in another train of thought, when we act in attempted honor but based on the lies of others.


Human solidarity I would suggest means that we are at all times causing and being effected whether we know it or not, consent of not, to the evil and good fortune of others.
This is a “lesser” form of sin/grace, but not of personal sin/grace which is what counts re our relationship with God. Original sin for example is not personal sin but due to our state of being in solidarity with the whole human race, and indeed creation itself which was wounded by Adam’s personal sin passed onto us as a state. Likewise through Christ’s death we, through baptism, have come into a state of redemption from sin, a graced state through no personal choice on our own part.

As others have stated personal sin/grace is a knowing choice. However, there are many choices where we may be involved in assisting others in evil for which we may in fact be blameless. A shop assistant selling contraceptives in a Pharmacy; buying an amazingly cheap electronic device imported from Asia which deep down we know is cheap precisely because of sweated labour and lack of legal protections for workers in such countries; a wife who chooses to pay a (contracepted) marital debt to her non Catholic husband for the sake of the stability of her marriage and children, attending a Protestant friend’s wedding, attending the 2nd (civil) marriage of a Catholic friend, attending a civil union of a close gay friend. It gets complicated very quickly.

Yet material cooperation in evil, sometimes significant evil, is allowed though the criteria for what is legitimate and not legitimate can get very difficult to discern in practice.
Criteria of “remoteness” and “would it still occur if I wasn’t there” are some important ones.

Wise, educated and sincere Catholics often seem to disagree in practice on particular issues. Its a prudential judgement and oftentimes things are grey. In graver matters direction from one’s Confessor would seem highly advisable.


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