Scandal

My question, drawing on a number of different threads here, is how does one determine when some action goes over the line to be scandal (the sin).

For example, there have been a number of threads on unmarried couples “needing” to take a trip together and IMO it seems that the vast majority of posters would say that the unmarried couple cannot stay in the same hotel room, even if they are not in the same bed or fornicating, because such would be scandal as others seeing them entering the room together would think that sin was*occurring.

My question, is where is that line drawn. *
Only getting one room and going into the room together late at night?
Getting 2 rooms but going into 1 together to wait for others to meet you -because others will think there is only 1 room?
Going into the hotel together, without regard to 1 or 2 rooms–because others will suspect there is only 1 room?
Pulling in the hotel parking lot because…?
Driving together in 1 car even though parents are in the car behind…?

I think you get the idea. Where is the line. Some third parties will see impropriety anywhere and at some level it is something that “right-minded” folks see scandal.

From the catechism:

Respect for the souls of others: scandal

2284 Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor’s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.

2285 Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea."86 Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep’s clothing.87

2286 Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion.

Therefore, they are guilty of scandal who establish laws or social structures leading to the decline of morals and the corruption of religious practice, or to "social conditions that, intentionally or not, make Christian conduct and obedience to the Commandments difficult and practically impossible."88 This is also true of business leaders who make rules encouraging fraud, teachers who provoke their children to anger,89 or manipulators of public opinion who turn it away from moral values.

2287 Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged. "Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come!"90

The sin of scandal is a very specific thing. It’s a sin against the Fifth Commandment. From the Catechism:

2284 Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor’s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.

2285 Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”[85] Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep’s clothing.[86]

2286 Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion.
Therefore, they are guilty of scandal who establish laws or social structures leading to the decline of morals and the corruption of religious practice, or to “social conditions that, intentionally or not, make Christian conduct and obedience to the Commandments difficult and practically impossible.”[87] This is also true of business leaders who make rules encouraging fraud, teachers who provoke their children to anger,[88] or manipulators of public opinion who turn it away from moral values.

2287 Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged. “Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come!”[89]

I don’t believe that any of this is the sin of scandal.

Then you are very rare on these boards as I have read over and over and over again that most, if not all, of what I hypothesized involved serious sin of scandal.

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