Should I confront Catholics about their sins?

I’ve bolded that last part of the last quote above… confrontation doesn’t carry a connotation of love.

Jesus, as our High Priest and Triune God can confront - and I dare say in the particular judgement as he confronts us all, when it is my turn, I most likely will find fault in myself as I stand before him. Confrontation has an adversarial tone to it, an undercurrent of violence. Trust me… the sinner isn’t going to want to hear the sin.

But then how to admonish the sinner as a spiritual work of mercy?
(working with that bold section above) One only need to look at how our Lord admonished the sinner. Did he not stand between the woman to be stoned and the mob? Did he not “confront” the mob… no… he admonished them. Did he confront the woman, he knew her heart and her sin, no he forgive and admonish to sin no more? I dare say, even with Judas our Lord acted with love… knowing that Judas was going to betray him… and with a kiss. Christ could have confronted Judas at the table, surely Judas would have been at least restrained. No, our Lord admonished Judas, very clearly (( Matt26:23-24 )) and yet did not “confront” Judas. (( IMHO: If Judas had come to the foot of the cross and asked for forgiveness he would have received not only or Lord’s blessing but his protection too; greater the sadness in Judas’ treachery is his further loss of faith in our Lord’s mercy))

One only finds a very limited scope of confrontation between our Lord and Sinners in scripture. And I mean a true confrontation given with true anger and condemnation once such instance of confrontation is with the activities of the merchants and money changers within the temple proper.

I agree, this word has too much of a negative connotation.

Here we have the crux:

  • Christ has our most intimate relationship; thus, I would expect the most direct, no holds barred approach. Of course, if Christ appeared to me in person, I don’t think my poor heart could handle the encounter. (( Ish6:5 ))

  • Spouse: It’s our duty to help our spouse to reach heaven. To protect, to teach, to help and to expect that same of and from our spouse accepting and giving in the Love of God who created us from each other. (Gen2:22) The admonishment given here should be the closest to and like that in nature that we will receive from our Lord… be it done now with love so that we can atone and grow before our death.

  • Our Parents - I know that too many of us do not have a good relationship with our parents for all too many justifiable reasons and more the sadness for us all. However, for those of us that do have a good relationship, the more blessed in that their guidance and admonishment as adults can be so direct.

  • Our God Parents or Sponsors…
    Never choose a God Parent nor Sponsor that wont take you or your children to task!
    My sponsor has gone so far as to invite the priest over to the house, fed us dinner, and then pointed out neither my Wife nor I hadn’t been to confession in over 4 months and about to go on vacation. :blush: :blush: :blush: Got-to-love a Priest that has the purple stole in the front inside pocket of his clericals and a sponsor that cared enough to arrange things (you don’t think he didn’t know what was going to happen?).
    And yes, I ask my wife when she last went, she asks me, and I’ve certainly asked her sponsor for help to get her into the confessional. You don’t think that wasn’t a small confrontation… and back she went, and I was in the line right behind her.

These are the people in our lives that have the duty to **confront **us in our sins, out of love for us and a desire to help us obtain the Kingdom of God.

As a close friend, or as a stranger… I wish I could say it any better than this:

Confrontation, just too many people with too many instabilities to confront and possibly be physically harmed by them for doing so… however, as God wills, so shall it be.

I try to educate others when it is natural to do so. For example, when I was in college, I would get invited to go out to bars to get drunk. Rather than just say “no”, I would use those opportunities to explain why I was not interested. I didn’t talk about them or their sins, I talked about myself. My example was enough for them to know what I think about their habits.

One thing to realize is that most Catholics know what they their major sins are. They just don’t want to change. They might trick themselves into believing something is not a sin, so they can skip it at confessions. I don’t expect to change these people, but I try to be a good example. Sometimes talking about the news can bring up a Catholic issue, giving me the chance to talk about my stance on it. If I’ve known the person long enough, they will know my stance. I don’t need to repeat it. I just have to live according to my beliefs and hope it will lead some people closer to Christ.

What happens in the confessional is no one’s business except the repentant and God.
God sees our hearts.
How many times have you gone into the confessional with a good intent to reform?

I have, dozens, upon dozens, of times. Fulling intending not to repeat a given sin (say profanity) and haven’t made it down the the block before someone runs the stop sign and almost hits me. I did fully intend not to use the Lord’s name, I did fully intend not to cuss, I failed. Thankfully, the confessional was just a parking space away.

Don’t worry about their confession, worry about that log in your own eye… hard to see others sins that way too.

That would be the sin of scrupulosity - where every little thing must be a sin if not done for the pure… sigh, Calvinists fall into this trap too (click here for an other article on
Would that these people be concerned about the log in their own eye before picking at the splinter in their neighbor’s eye.
Perhaps this will help you when dealing with these types of people: ( Scrupulosity: The Occupational Hazard of the Catholic Moral Life

Thanks for the link.

bot is a term for “robot”
And H.A.L

HAL 9000 is a fictional character in Arthur C. Clarke’s Space Odyssey series. The primary antagonist of 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer)

Yes, people also need to keep this in mind when trying to talk to someone who is actively gay.

If you also take the letter following each letter in HAL you will end up with IBM.

Back on topic.

I once asked a priest I knew the very same question that the OP asked. Should I confront someone about their sin? He told me to remove the plank from my own eye first.

A few of you have said “take the plank out of your own eye” or saying what they say in confession is not my business but for example one day I met an older man at work that was thrilled to tell me about how he visits prostitutes and goes to confession and straight after goes to the prostitute again. Not because he is struggling with sin, he was going to confession because he thought that made it ok to visit them. He clearly told me! He thought it was a great life because he could sleep with all the women he wanted and as long as he went to confession after he would go to heaven so he kept doing it. With no intent to stop.
So why are you saying “remove my own plank”?

I never said that I go around pointing out people’s sins. This was a question posted in Moral Theology to see if as a Catholic I have a duty or not to inform people WHO OPENLY tell me that they think sin is OK and are Catholic that it’s wrong.

You are judging me by that post so take the plank out of your own eye.

First, I have to say I find it a bit creepy that an older man would have this conversation with what I am assuming to be a young(er) woman in the workplace. :bigyikes:

Now, I will give you an idea of what I might say in reply-
“Really?! I didn’t know confession worked like that!! I thought it was there for when I stumbled, but that I was supposed to try and amend my life and stop sinning. I’m really going to have to talk to my confessor about this. Thanks for the heads up!” And smile and walk away.

I think it is a cass of ‘crossed wires’. IMO it is one thing to confront someone about their sin when they come out about how they sin,and think they are not doing something wrong (if not coming out and boasting of it) and another thing when we confront the other person because we think they are sinning. :blush: :o

If you had included the above with your first post, than a lot of us would have understood where you were coming from.

Yes I agree.
I have friends that sin and I don’t ‘confront’ them because no one is perfect and I’m a sinner too but yes this post was inclined for as my above example.

And that she stood there and listened…long enough to get the details…:eek:

I was a personal care worker. My job was to take older people out individually and he was talking to me. I changed the subject when I got the first chance.
And we were sitting by the way.

If someone volunteers such a story, then by all means gently and compassionately tell him that it doesn’t work that way. But it is one thing to respond to obviously incorrect behavior and ideas when they are directed at you and another in your previous example. In that case you can’t fully know what is in their heart and mind. That is a case of judging them which only God can do.

Each of us has a “plank” (or in my case many logs!) in our own eye. Saying this is just a reminder that we must be careful when we go about correcting others as we are far from perfect ourselves. That applies to you, me, and everyone else. We must also approach them with the same Christian kindness that we would wish they would extend to us.


I quite enjoy judging other’s sins, especially when I know they confess without any real intention to change. I often find I can do this whilst I am in Church as a lot of them congregate there. I don’t confront them as this might lead them to see through my smiles, but I am happy to talk to others about these other sinners,
I find seeing other’s sins makes me feel superior and I can compare them to me as I don’t sin like that. I believe these people are real hypocrites going to mass and receiving communion when in a state of mortal sin. I have spoken to the priest about some of them and am happy to point them out to him privately, but he just talked about not judging others lest we be judged ourselves; but I believe this is just a cop out rather than standing up for Christ’s teachings wherever they are being broken.
I am hoping to get on the Parish council and get one of those white badges so people will sit up and respect my status.

This is a horse of a different color:

Certainly as 1ke has pointed out, the conversation should be done with love and kindness as the basis; however, because the topic is already being discussed, you certainly have the a greater privilege to point out Christ’s admonishment to the prostitute after he forgave her… after confession is that not what we are to do, to sin no more?

You could also point out his double sin, by his committing adultery (or fornication) he is also leading another to sin; thus, his sin is doubled! Has he by his action damned a poor soul to hell? Is this not a betrayal on par with Judas?!

You have an opportunity to save a soul here - just be gentile, as I’m sure he’ll not want to hear the truth. You might even go to the tracts available here at and download the ones on a proper confession. Present them as a topic of conversation. Keep the tone light and friendly… kind of like fishing here, jerk the line too hard or too soon and it either snaps or the fish spits the bait out. The Lord’s comment about make them a fisher or men is quite valid even today!

It does truly amaze me how poorly people are catechized in the faith; especially cradle Catholics.
This year I had a class of 10 - 3rd year children that attend public schools. Only 2 could recite “Grace Before Meals” from memory. Only 3 blessed themselves before we started the prayer. Only 6 knew to use their right hand and go from left shoulder to right (we’re Roman Right of course (^_^) but I would have taken even the Orthodox version if done properly!) The childeren were all amazed that I went to confession with them - and why not… Father is there and I’ll not miss a chance when offered - life gets in the way too often!
We’ve lost a whole generation because the generation before was not taught their faith neither at home or by us thru example.

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