Things that are legally but morally wrong?


we have plenty of threads on, i downloaded this illegally, is it a sin, or i watched a bootlegged movie at a friends house is that a sin, or , i spit on the church side walk on a holy day, is that a sin.

what about more… walking the line things. thou shall not kill , but what about bodily harm, or committing arson, which damages property but doesnt kill anyone. does the church leave legal crimes like that out of the sin bucket, or is it lumped in there in unwritten rules as some kind of minor sin? Because plenty of people resort to vigilanteism, or " eco- terrorism " or maybe people just get in a fight or someone gets revenge on someone for what ever reason… does the catechism address such things or where are these issues addressed for clarification, rather than personal opinion.


Are you trying to say the things you mentioned aren’t sins? Or are you trying to understand why they are sins?


ah yeah i could of titled the thread different, I am asking if there is any official teaching on the matter either in the catechism or else where , something that is not an opinion, that either states such things though they may be legally wrong, are not morally wrong, or that states they are wrong and sinful.


Unjust damage (e.g. of property) is definitely a sin, potentially grave. The same can be true of inflicting bodily harm on oneself or another. As pointed out in the post below mine these are forbidden by natural law.

Sometimes the laws of the land will not line up with the moral law, such that there moral offences that are not legal offences, and legal offences that may not necessarily be moral offences.

However, we are to follow justly imposed laws:

2234 God’s fourth commandment also enjoins us to honor all who for our good have received authority in society from God. It clarifies the duties of those who exercise authority as well as those who benefit from it.

But also:

2242 The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel. Refusing obedience to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its justification in the distinction between serving God and serving the political community. “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” “We must obey God rather than men”:

When citizens are under the oppression of a public authority which oversteps its competence, they should still not refuse to give or to do what is objectively demanded of them by the common good; but it is legitimate for them to defend their own rights and those of their fellow citizens against the abuse of this authority within the limits of the natural law and the Law of the Gospel.

These sections of the Catechism should cover some of the things in your post:

2302 By recalling the commandment, “You shall not kill,” our Lord asked for peace of heart and denounced murderous anger and hatred as immoral.

Anger is a desire for revenge. “To desire vengeance in order to do evil to someone who should be punished is illicit,” but it is praiseworthy to impose restitution “to correct vices and maintain justice.” If anger reaches the point of a deliberate desire to kill or seriously wound a neighbor, it is gravely against charity; it is a mortal sin. The Lord says, “Everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment.”

2409 Even if it does not contradict the provisions of civil law, any form of unjustly taking and keeping the property of others is against the seventh commandment: thus, deliberate retention of goods lent or of objects lost; business fraud; paying unjust wages; forcing up prices by taking advantage of the ignorance or hardship of another.

The following are also morally illicit: speculation in which one contrives to manipulate the price of goods artificially in order to gain an advantage to the detriment of others; corruption in which one influences the judgment of those who must make decisions according to law; appropriation and use for private purposes of the common goods of an enterprise; work poorly done; tax evasion; forgery of checks and invoices; excessive expenses and waste. Willfully damaging private or public property is contrary to the moral law and requires reparation.


It all falls under the 10 commandments which are a form of the Natural Law that is imprinted on all people’s hearts.

“Thou shalt not kill” by extension forbids bodily harm, committing arson falls under “thou shalt not steal”.

There’s a long tradition of moral theology in the Church which has clarified these questions, and the Catechism does as well.


I changed the title for you.



okay there we go, 2303 and 2409

Anger is a desire for revenge. “To desire vengeance in order to do evil to someone who should be punished is illicit,”

Willfully damaging private or public property is contrary to the moral law and requires reparation.

and then we got the word, " illicit " defined as forbidden by law, rules or cutsom, so… why isn’t the answer in the catechism more cut and dry, labeling something as either a mortal or minor sin, or something as wrong but not sinful. using a word like illicit is a bit too broad for interpretation. because then one has to say which law, rules or custom, at least in regards to two items i quoted.

so in regards to eco activism, or eco terrorism, which ever one prefers, and for one real world analogy , there are countries like Iceland and Japan that are still whaling, and doing so in protected waters by and on whales that are recognized as endangered, so ipsofacto you take anyone of any conservation group, and members of that group in turn safely manage to sink any of these ships with out loss of life or even remotely close to harming anyone.

how then in turn is the church judging that i guess based at least on this much of the catechism that we have sited here. versus, someone wanting to enact revenge on someone, not cause bodily harm but destroy a piece of their personal property.

both are wrong legally , revenge probably more so than destroying an illegal whaling vessel but still in all.

or rather maybe i should pose my question as , even with non life threatening actions that are illegal or just morally wrong on some level, the catechism it seems even though it doesnt label things in a blatant black and white terms , these actions are still going to be considered sinful on some kind of level, that much i think is correct it seems is my question now. ?


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