Sins of the flesh versus uncharity/cruelty

I’ve always felt that Christians in general place far too much emphasis on the dangers of sins of the flesh, magnifiying them to the point where they are on par with cruelty. Or, at any rate, the certainly seem to be discussed more and worried about more than pride and cruelty. C.S. Lewis wrote that next to cruelty, unchaste behavior/sexual immorality is a fleabite. I agree. Now I am not here to say that chastity and sexual morality do not matter. It does matter a great deal. I just can’t figure out why people seem to think that sexual behavior is at the center of Christian morality. I realize that its a big topic now do to recent legal developments. But the truth is, that its always been this way. As far as I can tell, the only reason for this is that we, as a species, as a people, are obsessed with sex. Thoughts?

In the last 15 years, America has become obsessed with sex, especially in movies and on TV. Look at the commercials on TV…no matter what is being sold, there is something sexual to keep your attention.
Even the news focus is on subjects sexual…gay marriage, movie stars, cheating on spouses etc.

The reason we are forced to place so much emphasis on it is because the culture is so abhorrently deluded abut it. It is the most prevalent and publicly accepted form of sin that exists in our day and age, possibly second only to pride.

Cruelty is generally still condemned by both religious groups and secular groups, whereas sexual immorality is promoted by most secular groups and sadly a significant number of religious groups as well. As such, there is a greater immediate need to focus on the sexual sins.

With all that being said, if you read the daily messages from Pope Francis, or Popes Benedict and Saint John Paul II, you’ll find that very few of them focus on sexual sins (with the exception of Saint Pope John Paul II’s Humanae Vitae encyclical, of course.) They tend to focus more on human suffering and our call as followers of Christ to do everything we can to alleviate it.

The majority of media outlets, on the other hand, are obsessed with sex because our culture is obsessed with sex; and so they report on sexual issues. Since the Church, and Christianity in general, is at odds the common culture, they feel compelled to “expose” our views and, frequently, ridicule them. As such, it appears that the Church is spending a disproportionate amount of time worrying about sexual issues, which is simply not true. We put as much effort into combating every other form of sin as we do sexual sins, it’s just that our opposition to the modern misconceptions about human sexuality get the most attention.

Our Lady of Fatima tells us that more people go to hell because of sins of the flesh than any other sin. We are seeing the veracity of this statement today as the world is inundated with sexual perversion and promiscuity. The devil attacks us where we are most vulnerable. He sees sexuality as a perfect inroad to the destruction of souls. Look at the evils that have followed the so called “sexual revolution”. Do not be deceived, the devil is at work. And everyday he enslaves more souls through seemingly harmless sins of the flesh.

Well, Jesus essentially said something similar. If you are saying that sins of the flesh are no worse than those sins, say, of uncharitable-ness or unmerciful-ness, then yeah. You are right to say that sexual morality isn’t the center of Christian morality. It would be wrong to focus on that. And to do that would mean that our so called piety is run mostly by the sin of pride. Jesus pointed out to the scribes and pharisees that their sins were worse than the prostitute’s when He said prostitutes would be entering heaven before them… and these were religious leaders! ( Matt 21:31) So, that says A LOT right there. It truly means that God will take ALL of one’s life in account, what you know, what you don’t know, what you were given, what you did with it… etc and make a perfect judgement. Only God can make a right judgement about someone.

I’m not so sure I’d say that as people we are obsessed with sex. There are those who are and those who aren’t. You just don’t hear from the ones who aren’t, because they aren’t obsessed like the obsessed ones are, and so not talking out loud about it. I’d say the culture puts a lot of emphasis on it. People will always reach for what they consider ‘the highest’ ideal to them. If one does not believe in God, then they aren’t going to have that ideal and will reach for what they know instead. As Scripture states- Their god is their bellies, what they are hungry for themselves. Its actually very sad because it leads them away from so much good. It does destruction to themselves, and others, and they may not even know why because they were never told, never preached the Gospel. That might be hard for some of us to believe, but truly there are a lot of lost people- simply because they have never truly heard the Gospel nor known God’s love through charity of one of His followers.

Having said all that though… immoral sexual behavior among people who claim to be Christians can’t be. If you believe God, you just won’t do that sort of thing… unless you fall prey to a particular time of weakness or temptation. Unfortunate as that is, it does happen to believers. If you are a Christian, you absolutely will be making sure you are not offending God with your sexuality.

I don’t think the OP is deceived. The Op is not saying that sins of the flesh are not so bad, at least that is not what I took it as. I think the OP’s point was that sins of the flesh are not the only “really bad sins”, and that there are sins that kind of go unnoticed because a person thinks just as long as they don’t do the sins of the flesh that they are ok and in good standing… while they may be going to church and doing all their rightful duties, they might be ignoring God’s rule to love God first and then to love others. Like the pharisee in the temple saying “thank you God for not making me like other men”… God was not pleased with that and did not hear him but heard the sinner truly repenting in the back of the temple. God says that what he wants is mercy, not sacrifice. If we fast all the time, go to church, do all the things we are expected to do, but ignore the plight of a neighbor, or worse say that he is a fool and be angry with him,(Matthew 5:22) then we too are in danger of eternal flames of hell.

Matthew 9:13

But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

No doubt that sexual sin is the easiest way for the devil to destroy souls, harden hearts, tear nations down. In Scripture it is spoken how in 1 Corinthians 10:8 how those who acted immorally fell by the thousands…

“Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY.” 8Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. 9Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents.…”

As previously stated by another poster, Our Lady of Fatima stated that more people go to hell over sins of the flesh than any other reason.

I’m absolutely positive that we should not ignore our call to Christian charity, but if more people go to hell over sins of the flesh than any other reason, that seems to indicate that they are pretty serious.

One can certainly see how concern about charity vs. cruelty and insensitivity, could be considered more important than concern about chastity vs. sexual immorality.

So if you were a priest or any Christian, and our culture were embracing, say, slavery or child labor or legalized rape, you’d likely speak out most loudly about those things.

But our culture (including the entertainment media) loudly condemns cruelty (to the point that I’m frowned at for keeping my dog outdoors), while promoting every conceivable type of sex-for-the-sake-of-pleasure-alone.

You can’t watch an hour of TV without being told a dozen times that there are no such worries as “sins of the flesh.”

In such a culture, what SHOULD you mostly talk about?

Add to this, the fact that virtually every child abuser (a most abhorrent form of cruelty) involves himself in all sorts of “sins of the flesh” (pornography).

I think most people know cruelty – well obvious cruelty such as torture and abuse, is wrong.

People are more likely to commit sins of masturbation than beat another person up. People are more likely to watch porn than insult a homeless person.

Our society is constantly telling us sex in all sorts of manners is okay. Pornography, masturbation, open relationships, pre-marital sex… etc. As I grew into my early 20s, I found that prostitution is basically accepted…

The more society says these things are normal, the more necessary it is for the Church to point out they’re not.

Edit: I had just finished reading an article about children circulating nude selfies in school. Basically, the students said it’s normal and isn’t really a big deal. But they forget that the original case at their school possibly [not enough evidence] involved two girls who were bullied and sexually harassed. People don’t think about the possible victims involved.

Good points. Thanks for the reply.

This^. If you didn’t read it then do so the poster nailed it.

If one sin is more grievous than another doesn’t make the lesser sin OK.

Of course it doesnt

I think the focus reveals a lot more about an inclination to condemn others over supporting others. A fault in the psycho-emotional attitude of most Christians and Catholics predisposes them to seek out the devil if you will in others rather than on their own inherent failures.

I have seen many christian gatherings and political movements to deprive same sex couples from marriage, but I have not seen a single one to deprive folks of all excess resources (above their basic needs) to feed and clothe the homeless.

EXACTLY. I agree 100 percent. It’s much easier to point out peoples flaws than to help them, unfortunately.

Obviously Jesus said it better than me…

Matthew 7:1-5

1“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2“For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4“Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

If the sin is mortal it doesn’t matter what it is…it will send you to hell!

Or not

One reason for particular concern over sins of the flesh might be that the 10 commandments forbid coveting thy neighbor’s wife or committing adultery.

What does that mean…if you confess & repent it won’t send you to hell.

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