Shunning people?

there are a few instances in scripture where shunning if prescribed. where we are told to admonish the sinner two or three time and then have nothing more to do with them.

what do we make of this?

do we really stop talking to our friends and family even if they are refusing to repent at the current time?

what is church teaching on this?

Actually, that’s not exactly right, if memory serves. Can you give a quote you’re thinking of?

I’m thinking of the passage where we’re told to talk one-on-one, and if that fails, bring two others, and if that fails, bring the Church; and if all that fails, treat him like a tax collector. Is that what you’re thinking of?

what do we make of this?

Well… “like a tax collector” doesn’t mean “shun”, does it? I would say it means that we pray for their conversion, and encourage them to convert, (and sure, we don’t treat them as if already converted if they persist in their sin), but … once they convert, we welcome them back! That doesn’t sound like “shunning”, does it?

do we really stop talking to our friends and family even if they are refusing to repent at the current time?

I would say “no”.

Matthew 18;17
Did not Christ go out of His way to eat with tax collectors?

I believe it’s titus 3:10, which is a bit different from the one youmentioned

Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them.

Read all of Titus 3, esp Titus 3:9 in the NABRE

*This saying is trustworthy. I want you to insist on these points, that those who have believed in God be careful to devote themselves to good works; these are excellent and beneficial to others. 9 Avoid foolish arguments, genealogies, rivalries, and quarrels about the law, for they are useless and futile. 10 After a first and second warning, break off contact with a heretic, 11 realizing that such a person is perverted and sinful and stands self-condemned.

This is basically saying that if every time you speaks with a heretic, he/she is causing you to engage in heated & sinful arguments, rivalries, etc over Scripture / dogma cut off from them.

This is basically an unhealthy relationship for both you and the person. However, what makes it hard is when the heretic is a member of your family.

I pray this makes sense.

God Bless!*

If you have to avoid such people how could you ever hope for them to be converted??

Yes, it is quite a bit different! The OP asked about sinners, whereas the passage in Titus is talking about heretics!

So, yes – I stand by my original comments: Christ doesn’t ask us to avoid contact with sinners.

If I have to avoid someone to keep myself clear of arguments or temptations, such as a toxic friend or family member, I can continue to pray for their conversion. A person can be converted without my personal interaction with them. I believe the Holy Spirit can work without my own direct involvement.:smiley:

Titus 3:10
“As for a man who is factious ( [FONT=&quot]αρετικν[/FONT] heretic ), after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned.”

Paul said a mouthful there.

*]A heretic by definition is a baptized person who obstinately disbelieves or persistently doubts (after multiple attempts to correct them) a teaching that must be believed. [FONT=&quot]2089[/FONT]
*]then avoid them after such multiple attempts to correct them
*]because such a person in this condition, is sinful and self condemned

It sounds harsh to give up so quick on such a person, but who inspired Paul to teach that? It was the HS John 14:25-26 . And who does the HS take that from? Jesus John 16:12-15

Here’s how St. Augustine, as a bishop, applied that verse from St. Paul:

[quote=St. Auguistine]1. The Apostle Paul has said: A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject, knowing that he that is such is subverted and sins, being condemned of himself. Titus 3:10-11 But though the doctrine which men hold be false and perverse, if they do not maintain it with passionate obstinacy, especially when they have not devised it by the rashness of their own presumption, but have accepted it from parents who had been misguided and had fallen into error, and if they are with anxiety seeking the truth, and are prepared to be set right when they have found it, such men are not to be counted heretics. Were it not that I believe you to be such, perhaps I would not write to you.And yet even in the case of a heretic, however puffed up with odious conceit, and insane through the obstinacy of his wicked resistance to truth, ** although we warn others to avoid him, so that he may not deceive the weak and inexperienced, we do not refuse to strive by every means in our power for his correction.**

So in other words, St. Paul’s admonition is not absolute. It is intended to protect us from having our own faith corrupted.

I agree. Paul is putting limits so that one doesn’t beat themselves up trying to change someone’s error when they stubbornly won’t change

Shunning seems harsh. I know in the bible it mentions it may be better in the end of time to let go such of people. I do not know scripture precisely.

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