Is this participating in another's sin by silence?


#1

A friend told me his friends drive 90mph on the highway and that they rolled down their windows and discussed where they were going while driving side-by-side at that speed. He never actually said whether he was in the car with them or not but at the time I assumed he was. All I said in response to this was "Uhy-yuy-yay" or something to that effect. I thought of saying more to dissuade him from riding with them such as: "That's really dangerous" but I didn't because it might have been uncool or something.

I did not specifically think of it as a sin at the time but did I participate in my friend's objectively grave sin (putting himself in serious danger by riding in the car with his friends [is this objectively grave?]) by not saying more? Is this a mortal sin?


#2

Taken from a very reputable book from the 19th century called *The Way of Interior Peace *by Fr. Eduard Lehen, pg. 99:

"To a mortal sin belong three points: 1st. Weighty matter; -- a jesting lie, for example or a vain, self-conceited thought, is not sufficient for a mortal sin. 2d. Full knowledge of the evil; that is, the deliberate consciousness that what one does is a mortal sin. This excludes all cases in which the sin proceeds from surprise, or in which the soul is not full master of her powers; as, for example, in half-slumber, and the like. 3d. Full consent of the will to that which the understanding knows to be mortal sin. As long as the consent remains imperfect, or we are conscious of a certain hesitancy, a deferring, or a reproach of conscience in consequence of our neglect in combating the temptation, the sin is only venial."

I hope this helps.


#3

It sounds like your friend is aware that he is breaking the law and doing something dangerous--and that that is precisely why he's doing it.

While I (an anonymous internet poster ;)) would say that you did not participate in his sin by remaining silent, the fact that you said you didn't want to seem uncool to your friend leads me to suspect that you need to consider your desire for the approval of others, which can become the sin of human respect. My thought may be colored by the fact that I just went through a bout of this myself!


#4

I’m not sure who is quoted here but:

Silence = Consent


#5

As someone who is not that adept at thinking quickly on his feet, I understand being in those situations where you don't quite know what to say until much later.

Saying something like, "That sounds like a good way to get yourselves killed" isn't "uncool". Part of being "cool" is being able to speak your mind without worrying about what others think. Obviously your friend didn't worry about what you would think by divulging the fact that he participates in bone-headed, life-threatening behavior (a fact I would think is embarassing rather than something to proclaim to others). So why should you worry if he thinks you are "cool"?

Being comfortable saying such things is perhaps something you can work towards. That said, I cannot imagine that someone would not recognize how dangerously stupid it is and would require you to tell them that. You can always bring it to Confession if you are unsure. The priest would give you better advice than any of us here.


#6

[quote="Patrocinor, post:4, topic:330415"]
I'm not sure who is quoted here but:

Silence = Consent

[/quote]

interesting question.

the CCC:

1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them: (1736)
—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.

praise or approval are the only ways of cooperating with the sin in the OP. but is silence either? the context seems to be that the speeder was boasting and expecting approval, so the silence, it withholding approval, is not consent.

"consent" here also seems weak, the actions were in the past, and the OP did not have influence over the actors.


#7

[quote="Fairwinds, post:6, topic:330415"]
interesting question.

the CCC:

praise or approval are the only ways of cooperating with the sin in the OP. but is silence either? the context seems to be that the speeder was boasting and expecting approval, so the silence, it withholding approval, is not consent.

"consent" here also seems weak, the actions were in the past, and the OP did not have influence over the actors.

[/quote]

Good point. He was describing something that happened in the past. If he said that he was just getting ready to hop in the car and drive like a maniac, it might be a different story.


#8

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