Practical examples of the sin of lukewarmness

Could anyone please provide some? The CCC’s definition seems to me to include all sins as well as any refusal to perform a good work:

…hesitation or negligence in responding to divine love; it can imply refusal to give oneself over to the prompting of charity

Here are some examples as I see them (I am not an expert, by the way)

  1. Going to church on Christmas and Easter only
  2. Not bothering to examine or inform your conscience regularly
  3. Going along with whatever society says, and not defending the faith
  4. Being a cafeteria Catholic, picking and choosing what to believe or not believe
  5. Being on the fence, and not really choosing God
  6. Religion not being top on your priority list, but falling into the “when I get around to it” spot on the list.
  7. Praying infrequently, and only when you really need something (foxhole prayers)

upbeatjonm gave a good list of big things. Lukewarmness can seep into all areas of your life - even little stuff as well. Here’s a really good book on the subject. I found it very helpful.


Thanks for the book idea.
Lukewarmness is actually something of a theme that I used in my witness in the CRHP retreat. The CRHP program cured me of this malody.


:slight_smile: Thanks to both of you.

Could someone give an example of how one can be lukewarm in “little things” as I’m not really able to order things online right now? (Besides, the book is only available previously used on Amazon UK. :()




Not standing up for Catholic social & moral principles when it counts (like in politics).

Putting off having your children baptized.

Not trying hard enough to avoid sins.

Getting to Mass late, or leaving early.

Failing to do some form of penance in place of abstaining from meat on Fridays outside of Lent.

These aren’t all mortal sins. The first and second one usually are though. The others are at least imperfections that prevent you from growing in holiness as God would like for you to.

Not remembering that you are always in the presence of God
Not attempting to be cheerful
Not finishing your work well - leaving loose ends
Disorder and lack of care for personal effects
Lack of courtesy
Constant self-indulgence, lack of generosity and love of comfort

Basically, these are a lack of human virtues in which you have an opportunity to glorify God in your behavior and do not. Lukewarmness is really a lack of love. Think of how you extend yourself to make your loved ones happy. Not doing that is lukewarmness, especially in regards to pleasing God.


You are lukewarm if you are not constantly seeking to more deeply know God. This can mean totally different things to different people, depending on where they are spiritually.

Real Good Post. Reminds me about a reprimand in the Book of the Apocalypse.

Haydock’s Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

Apocalypse Chapter 3
14-22. The seventh and last letter is to the Angel of the Church of Laodicia. Christ here takes the title of the Amen,[3] as if he said, I am the Truth. — The beginning of the creation, or of the creatures of God, to which is added in the first chapter, the beginning and the end. — Thou art neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm. A dreadful reprehension, whatever exposition we follow. According to the common interpretation, by the cold are meant those who are guilty of great sins; by the hot, such as are zealous and fervent in piety and the service of God; by the lukewarm or tepid, they who are slothful, negligent, indolent, as to what regards Christian perfection, the practice of virtue, and an exact observance of what regards the service of God. On this account they are many times guilty in the sight of God of great sins, they forfeit the favour and grace of God, fancying themselves good enough and safe, because they live as others commonly do, and are not guilty of many scandalous and shameful crimes, to which they see others addicted. — I would thou wert either cold or hot. This is not an absolute wish, because the condition of the cold is certainly worse in itself; but it is to be taken with regard to the different consequences, which oftentimes attend these two states, and to signify to us that the lukewarm may be farther from a true conversion, inasmuch as they are less sensible of the dangers to which they remain exposed, than such as commit greater sins. Their careless indevotion becomes habitual to them, they live and die with a heart divided betwixt God and the world; whereas greater and more shameful sinners are not without an abhorrence of such vices which they commit; a fear of punishment, of hell and damnation, strikes them by the mercies of God offered even to sinners, and makes them enter into themselves like the prodigal son; they detest their past lives, and by the assistance of God’s graces become both fervent and constant in the duties of a Christian life. (Witham) — Tepidity in a Christian life, and in the service of God, is oftentimes more dangerous than absolute wickedness. The open sinner is easily made sensible of his danger; he experiences the stings and reproaches of conscience, whilst the tepid Christian lives without remorse, fear, or apprehension, and listens not to those who wish to shew him the danger of his situation. I dare venture to affirm, says St. Augustine, that to fall into some public and manifest sin would be of advantage to the proud, that so those who by their self-complacency had so often fallen before, may now become displeased with themselves and humble. — To the lukewarm it is said, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth; i.e. if thou continue in that state, I will permit thee to run on and be lost in thy sins. Thou blindly sayest within thyself, I am rich, &c. A false conscience generally attends a lukewarm soul and those who serve God by halves; they flatter themselves that all goes well enough with them, when they see they are not so vicious, as many others: but here the spirit of God, who penetrates the secret folds and windings of slothful souls, admonisheth them of their dangerous mistakes, that they are wretched, poor, blind, and naked, when God, by his grace, does not inhabit their souls, though they may have millions of gold and silver in this world. I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, the love of God purified by trials and troubles in this life, to recover thy lost innocence, to be clothed with the habit of grace, to anoint thy eyes with eye-salve, by a serious reflection on what regards thy eternal salvation.

Scary predilection. I wonder how many of us can admit in all truth that we sometimes fall into the trap of lukewarmness ? Something for us all who are sinners the seriously consider.

Thanks again.

Would going to confession only once a year (plus immediately after committing any mortal sin) be classified as lukewarmness?

[quote=m134e5]These aren’t all mortal sins.

The CCC lists lukewarmness as a sin aginst the first commandment. Doesn’t that mean it is always grave matter?


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit