Red Light


I was coming back from confession today and was about to take a right on red but then quickly changed and went forward without thinking that it was illegal. It was sort of a reaction type of thing. So after I passed through was when I realized that it was red and was like why did I just do that. So I was wondering if this kind of thing is gravely sinful or just viennal?


Venial, unless you live in Cook County, IL.

(just kidding)


Venial at most. Sometimes things are just honest, harmless mistakes and no sin at all.


Just careless, no sin. Be more aware of your surroundings next time! Not every mistake is a sin!


Do you intend to live your life asking this question at every turn? No pun intended.
That’s a really sad way to live.
Pray, be mindful of how you treat others, love your family, and start develop a happy temperment.


You did not sin. You just made a harmless mistake. I would advise you to be careful next time though.


Whenever I do something dumb like that, I thank God I didn’t cause an accident. :signofcross:


No sin, per se. Just careless.



No injury. No property damage… No problem!

Well, yes problem. Learn from your mistake. Pay attention next time.


Just a note. Civil illegality and sin are two different things.

Very often they don’t coincide and they shouldn’t be confused.

It would make more sense to say that you were driving on the road and not concentrating properly and thus putting others health at risk. Is this a sin and if so what type.


I did something similar about two weeks ago. Right through a red light without thinking. This city has sooo many 4 way stops that I thought I was at a 4 way. I literally yelled at myself half way through. I don’t consider it a sin, but need to be more aware in the future.:frowning:


Do you have a tendency towards scrupulosity? You ‘disobeyed’ a traffic law, and it could be confessed as a venial sin (however, does not need to be); in no way would this be considered grave or mortal.

Whereas, driving drunk, especially causing injury, would need to be discussed with your priest, either in or out of confession.




I’ve done that! Also the opposite. Stop & wait for the person at the stop sign to go, then realize I don’t have a stop sign. Boy, do I feel dumb then! :o

One rural intersection had been 2-way for just about forever. Then they changed it to a 4-way. One evening I came up to it, stopped, & thought the other car would also stop, since they now had a stop sign. But the driver kept going & almost T-boned me. I had to do some fancy maneuvering to avoid getting hit.


Venial: doubtful matter and no full intent. :slight_smile:

Things like this are why I don’t drive. :smiley:


Several years ago there was a thread that got into a long argument as to whether or not it was a sin to exceed the speed limit.

The issue of sin concerning such is not about exceeding the speed limit - which for interstate highways has to do with an old regulation concerning conservation of gasoline. It was not a moral issue but a legal one.

There are times where going 55 on that highway may be a moral issue; for example, if the road is iced over, one doing so may be endangering others’ lives. So it is not the speed limit itself, but the conditions which would have to do with the morality of an individual’s speed.

On a clear day or night, with little traffic, going 65 on that same road would endanger no one. It might, in some areas, result in a traffic ticket and fine, but that is a legal issue, not a moral one.

Oregon, for example, has a maximum speed limit on I-84 of 65 mph; cross over the border into Idaho and the speed limit goes to 80; basically the same highway construction. as long as one is not endangering self or others, the issue has no moral value.

Stop signs are in the same category. If you accidentally blow through one, there is no intent, and intent is part of the issue of sinfulness - so none. Get into an accident because of that, and you have a legal issue, but not a moral one.


There is a moral issue - obeying laws. Walking across the street is not a moral issue. However, if the law is to cross only with the light, to flout the law deliberately would be a sin. To not notice and absent-mindedly cross against the light can be unsafe, but not a sin.


Not entirely true. All authority, including civil, as Christ related to Pilate, comes from God. To disobey any lawfully constituted civil authority, assuming it is not in conflict with faith or morals, is sinful (against the 4th Commandment) - the gravity of which depends on the matter of the sin itself. For example, purposely running a stop sign or red light or driving without a license is sinful. Those laws are justly and lawfully put in place to protect safety and human life.

To the original post, any sin, venial or mortal, requires an act of the will. Without that, there is no sin.


What if the government is clerical fascist?


You are presuming moral content where there is none. The law about crossing only on the light is not a moral issue, it is a traffic issue. On occasion there is a safety issue directly at point - as in where there is traffic. Standing on a street corner with no traffic, at 3 a.m. in the morning waiting for the light to change is not a moral issue.

You confuse two issues. The light is used to ensure safety; if there is no safety issue, then there is no moral issue.

If there is a safety issue, then the moral matter is not the obedience to the law, but rather the moral issue is endangering another or oneself. At that point, it doesn’t matter if there is a light or no light; the moral issue is not crossing against the light; but rather, the endangerment - which is the same, light or no light.

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