Near Occasion


#1

It’d be a great if we could get some hard-line moral theologians on the track here. What exactly constitutes a creating a near occasion of sin for someone else?

For example, am I creating a near occasion for a thief by leaving my car door unlocked with my MacBook in the window? Is inviting a former alcoholic to a restaurant that has a bar (like Applebee’s) creating a near occasion?

The reason I ask is that people often talk about women leading men into sin through immodesty. How far should we go with that thinking, though? Is a woman who was raped, while not entirely culpable, at fault for creating a near occasion for her rapist?

For anyone who’s wondering, I happen to be a very conservative moralist, but I don’t know everything. I’m not presenting these scenarios as critiques of Catholic moral teaching. I’m presenting them because I don’t know what Catholic moral teaching would say. What are your thoughts?


#2

Yoga pants are for yoga class. Please ladies, TMI with the yoga pants.


#3

I happen to agree with you, but I’m looking for a moral argument. I’d like one that doesn’t lead to any absurd conclusions.


#4

well, there are those who will say that even in yoga class, the men will be distracted by the ladies in yoga pants

but if that’s the case, maybe those guys shouldn’t be taking yoga class. not everything is a near occasion for one person. different people struggle with different things


#5

most of it is common sense

an occasion of sin is putposefully taking your friend who you know is an alcoholic to the bar specifically for drinking. do you need to avoid the bar with all your friends/ of course not, because they are not all alcoholics. a restaurant wich simply has a bar portion doesn’t really count because there are other places to sit. and most restaurants have alcohol on the menu anuyways, regardless of whether there is an actual bar or not

in the example of the thief, you do not know who has a tendency to thieving when your car is just randomly parked somewhere. taking your kleptomaniac brother to a relatively empty grocery store and leaving him there alone might be closer to a near occasion.

and not that I am the church but I don’t think any amount of immodesty justifies rape in any way especially since rapists are usually seeking it out


#6

I need to point out that I also don’t believe that any amount of immodesty justifies rape. However, when we say women are leading men into sin by being immodest, that’s what we appear to be saying. That’s why I am asking for clarification on these issues.

So, in general, a near occasion of sin requires a specific intention to lead someone to do the wrong thing?

I appreciate your response, by the way.


#7

I think you’re mixing in scandal with this definition. I always thought near ocassion of sin was somebody that we did to ourselves, not other people.


#8

I agree with this completely. Each person is responsible for avoiding near occasions of sin as people are different. I think many things we do, wear, etc., could be such to the right person.

I have a friend who thinks a woman in shorts should not lean over the trunk of her car to retrieve something for it’s a near occasion of sin for him to see “that view.” :rolleyes:
I told him it is his RESPONSIBILITY to learn custody of the eyes.

JMO

Mary.


#9

I’m not a moral theologian, but it’s an interesting topic that I want to throw my two cents into…

For example, am I creating a near occasion for a thief by leaving my car door unlocked with my MacBook in the window? Is inviting a former alcoholic to a restaurant that has a bar (like Applebee’s) creating a near occasion?

Where I grew up, the first question would seem absurd. Now? Not so much. If I leave a valuable out for the open where there are homeless/poor/drug addicted people, I can almost expect to have it stolen. (My wife has had numerous things stolen from her car, even with the doors locked!).

For something to be a mortal sin you need to have full knowledge and deliberate consent. So wouldn’t the intent come into factor here? If you’re just parking your car in a normal place under normal circumstances, I don’t see how this could be done with full knowledge or deliberate consent. But if you’re parking your unlocked Mercedes right in the middle of a huge group of homeless drug addicts, and you consciously know they’ll be tempted, then you’re obviously causing a near occasion of sin for them.

The bar situation would also depend upon the occasion. If you know the person can’t handle this and still take them, then I would guess this is creating a near occasion of sin. I think the same thing would occur as the car-- if you do it knowing the person would be tempted then you’re culpable for the near occasion. If you don’t know then you’re not really culpable?

The reason I ask is that people often talk about women leading men into sin through immodesty. How far should we go with that thinking, though? Is a woman who was raped, while not entirely culpable, at fault for creating a near occasion for her rapist?

My guess would be that the woman would be culpable for causing men to lust in general? The man would be culpable for his reaction to the lust. Obviously a man can lust without needing to rape someone. He still has to use his will in reaction to the lust to perform the rape. It’s not her will that performed the rape, but his. He could have been tempted and not raped.

For anyone who’s wondering, I happen to be a very conservative moralist, but I don’t know everything. I’m not presenting these scenarios as critiques of Catholic moral teaching. I’m presenting them because I don’t know what Catholic moral teaching would say. What are your thoughts?

Same here… these are just my guesses here too!


#10

Let me see if I understand this:

(1) Near occasions of sin are variable. What is a near occasion for someone may not be a near occasion for someone else.

(2) Hence, we can’t make a rule that works for every case.

(3) If we can’t make a rule that works for every case, then there is no moral obligation.

(4) So we have no moral obligation to avoid putting people in a near occasion of sin.

This argument seems sound although I don’t agree with it. I’m interested to see what other people have to say.

As for the example you brought up, I would agree with you. I don’t think there are any grounds to say the woman in shorts is in the wrong. But, then again, I no one has told me yet what it is to create a near occasion of sin for someone else.


#11

My grandpa told me in the “olden days” when he was a young lad that seeing a woman lift up her long skirt (they wore in the Catholic Schools in his neck of the woods) to step over a puddle was a “sight to behold” and a near occasion of sin. (seeing an ankle alone did the trick he said)

No one can tell you what a near occasion of sin is for everyone else. We hopefully all do our best to not be as such to anyone but that would be a near impossible task given the wide variety of individuals.

Thus in public issues, a priest in our Catholic School taught about ‘custody of the eyes.’ You avoided LOOKING at what might cause you a near occasion of sin when you could avoid it.

Mary.


#12

What you’re saying makes sense, Mary. But what I’m trying to arrive at is some sort of standard.

What does doing our best look like? How do we make our decisions? By what standard do we judge such-and-such situation?

For example:
A woman reaching to get her groceries. Most people would agree that’s no big deal.

A woman going topless.

Now we have some trouble. Some say scandal, some say no problem. What I want is an argument for either case, but getting to such an argument involves figuring out what a near occasion even is in general.


#13

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