Sin of silence


I have 2 questions regarding sin of silence:

  1. If we don’t speak up in situation when we don’t show tolerance for sinful act by silence, is it sinful? Few days ago, two people who I know were mocking mass and I didn’t know how to aproach them, so I pretended I don’t see them and got away from them. Was this sinful? I am ashamed of Catholic faith? Lord says that he will be ashemed of all who are ashamed of Him in front of angels on Judgement day…
  2. What to say when somebody tells you he/she is an atheist? Merely by making that God-denying statement that person have sinned. On the other hand, you can’t just say “Stop being atheist”… I have heard atheists calling CA radio and nobody from CA cast told him that they are sinning. OK, that situation is a little different since caller probably know Catholic stance on atheism, but what if a person talkinvg to us doesn’t know that we are Catholics? Wouldn’t silence than mean tolerance for act against 1st commandmant?


Neither of these is a sin.
Please, talk to a trusted priest, you will get much better answers to your questions and it will help to put your mind at ease.
Trust the fact that God loves you and is merciful. He is not waiting for you to “mess up” so He can condemn you.


I don’t think the CCC weighs in on your question. It’s a very good question. Conscience should be the guide here. If the person seems to be open to the truth, offer it. If the person does not seem open to the truth, discretion is indicated since a stubborn allegiance to error can be made even more stubborn by opposition. But we might keep in mind that the reason evil so often triumphs is that good men do or say nothing against it. Think congressional candidates who, though they know better, buy a large swath of votes by turning a deaf ear ear to the gospel, not to mention a dumb tongue…


For the people whom you knew who were mocking Mass, why didnmt you say something? Was it because it would have been inappropriate? Because they wouldn’t have listened to you? Or because you did not want to reveal yourself to be Catholic? In this case, it would depend on why you didn’t say something–but don’t fret over this!!! If you think it was sinful, just confess it and then you’ll be free! More than likely, the persons involved would have been unlikely to listen to you, and even Christ said not to theow pearls before swine. Some people are ready to hear something like that and others are not.


I have found myself in similar situatuions. Should I say something or remain silent? If I say something, would others tell me negative remarks about the Catholic Church or mock me for what I believe in? Would I know the right words to say in such situations? I guess it depends on who the others are. Perhaps let others know that your a Catholic and that hearing negative remarks about your faith is inappropiate. On a slightly different note. That’s why we (myself included) should continue to learn more about our Catholic faith. That way we will be better informed (I didn’t say have all the answers) about what we believe in and be prepared to defend the faith if such situations occur again, which is most likely. But we do live in a world where there’s so much misconceptions and myths about Catholicism.


If they would know that I saw them and asked me do I support them, I would definitely tell them that mocking of remembrance of Jesus’ suffering for our sins is evil… However, I didn’t know right way to aproach them. How to tell them? Besides, problem is that they wouldn’t openly attacked my by calling me Christian. They wouldn’t even mock me, or call me biggot, fanatic, etc. They wouldn’t physically attack me. They wouldn’t call me stupid retard or someting like that. They would do worse: They would say that I am warning them to make others look at me like I am big Christian, while in reallity I am not. They would say that I use Christianity only for my identity. and that I don’t have faith. They would say that Catholicism is just my fashion…


You are not responsible for how others respond to your honest efforts to speak the truth.
All you need to do is speak the truth in love,

If someone you know is making fun of Catholicism or the Church in your presence, you could say, “I’m Catholic and that kind of talk makes me uncomfortable, – or sad, or unhappy, or however you feel.” If they respect you, they will stop doing it in your presence,

If someone tells you he’s an atheist, you could say “I’m sorry to hear that, but you know that even if you don’t believe in God, he believes in you.”

If people then put you down for being a Christian, well, that’s their problem. People were mean to Jesus too, and he said his followers would suffer worse things.
But you may have helped plant a seed in their hearts.

Thornton Wilder said, “Of all the forms of genius, goodness has the longest awkward age.”
Don’t be ashamed of stumbling as you work out how to relate to others, especially non-believers.


The main question is: does Church define sin of silence as being silent when your silence shows approval or tolerance for sin, or as any silence when you hear/see somebody sinning?


Thanks for response, but just a small corection. The problem isn’t in them making me sad, but in them making God said. If I would say that they should stop because they make me sad, that would mean that there is nothing wrong in doing the same thing when I am absent…


Remember that Christ told the apostles to leave the towns where the people wouldn’t listen to them? He even told them to shake the dust of those towns off their sandals as they left!

We are not obliged to waste our time with people who will not listen and don’t want to hear. be open about your faith when necessary or when it might help someone, and otherwise, just pray for those involved and others like them.


Great answer. You could copy and paste this answer on pretty much every thread in this section. :slight_smile:


talk to your priest. Scrupulosity will make your life miserable.


Just as there are Crimes by Omission, there can be sins by Omission, yes, however you need not be worried about speaking up most of the time, as speaking up may put you in harms way or cause Unnecessary trouble. I have heard of people murdered and stalked for NO reason, consider pro’s and con’s.

Religious knowledge/teachings must be tempered with Common sense also.

If someone is committing blasphemy in front of you, and you know this person was a convicted murder out at the end of the sentence, I don’t know about anyone else, but my mouth stays shut.


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