Two different opinions

Hello,

I was planning to start skydiving lessons and thought it would be a good idea to check with a Catholic priest. I first asked a Traditional Catholic priest and he stated it was a sin against the 5th commandment for “unnecessary risk” without reason. (He stated the only people who would be exempt would be emergency responders). This priest is not my normal parish priest, just someone that I met.

I then thought it over, asked my spiritual advisor, who stated she didn’t believe it to be sinful at all. Of course, there could be things that could turn it into a sinful behavior (e.g spending time skydiving instead of family time). Ultimately, she recommended I check it over with my normal parish priest.

Going on with this, I ask my parish priest and he stated it would not be sinful. Proper training and instruction would be necessary and it really comes down to intent.

I am going to believe that my regular priest was true to the Catholic Church. But, it interest me because in a traditional sense, I am sinning but not in the modern Catholic sense. Whats your take on this?

No, I don’t believe that the first priest was conveying an opinion that is that of traditional Catholicism. It was just his own opinion. I have never heard that risky recreational activities such as skydiving, car racing or mountain climbing are even remotely sinful. The Church in the US and Ireland actively promoted the sport of boxing which is also a dangerous sport back in the days when traditional Catholicism was the only Catholicism. :smiley:

As noted, it *could *be sinful if it caused you to neglect other duties - skydive instead of attend Mass on Sunday or spend so much money on it that you no longer can support your family or parish.

And what makes it even more curious is that he allowed only one exception - emergency responders. What about military personnel? Or geologists who have to jump into remote areas?

This isn’t a modern vs. traditional thing. It is just one priest’s (who happens to be a traditional minded priest) opinion.

Thanks for the reply.

Out of curiosity, why do you want to learn to sky dive? I thought about it a few (about 30) years ago, decided it was too risky for me (I have severe osteoporosis, which I’ve had for about 30 years) and declined it. Also, the lessons were expensive, and I thought there were other things I could do with the money which were more worthwhile, for me. I never thought it was sinful, and it didn’t occur to me to even ask my Priest. I did take flying lessons in college though, and still have the odd idea that jumping out of a perfectly good plane is rather a bad idea!

4 of my cousins did pay for part of their college by becoming smoke jumpers though, and they had their college interrupted by service in Viet Nam. None served in the military as paratroopers, however. They were Infantry. After jumping into forest fires, they had no interest in jumping into gunfire! LOL :smiley:

First of all, I do not share your interest; I do not like danger, I will be close enough to death against my will.

Bear in mind, I am not a priest, just a sinner.

That said, we are not, a priori, morally forbidden to incur danger. If skydiving were forbidden because it is an “unnecessary” dangerous activity, the same could be said about rock climbing, Himalayan mountaineering, shipwreck diving and a slew of other pursuits.

If skydiving will empower your life, I’d say go ahead.

But if you simply crave the adrenaline rush, that would not make it wrong, but methinks your life might need some reexamination. Facing danger should not be a focus of one’s life.

(P.S. The priest might simply not have heard about geologists needing to parachute into remote areas – I didn’t until sixty seconds ago! As to paratroopers, methinks he thought that war fighting is so inherently deadly that in that context, the added risk in parachute jumping was immaterial.)

Shalom, ICXC NIKA

No it’s not a sin, as long as you have training and the right equipment etc, it’s not an unnecessary risk. If that were the case you could say that about flying in a plane to travel, or even driving in a car etc because those activities have risks too.

Intent always matters in morality. Also, I think you need to have one spiritual advisor/director.

I’m not sure how modern/traditional plays into this. :shrug: Just because one stance is more strict, that doesn’t mean it was proper practice back in the day.

Why? So I could progress on to other sports like BASE jumping (legally in Twin Falls, Idaho) and wingsuiting. (Which would probably take over 10 years :slight_smile: ) I do have a mentor and instructor lined up.

Saint Michael, patron saint of paratroopers, Airborne.

If you want to jump out of a perfectly good aircraft, just make sure that you’ve had the best training possible from a currently certified instructor.

Safety first and always.

Check your motives.

“It’ll be fun.”
“I like to try new things.”
“It’s a challenge and I like challenges.”

And then ask the Holy Spirit to show the deeper motives. You might be surprised. :wink:

As a pilot I could never understand why someone would jump out of a perfectly good aircraft :stuck_out_tongue:

That said I don’t think it’s a sin. There are many risky activities out there. I ride a road bike for fun and fitness, and I can’t imagine having cars and truck whizzing by me at 90-100 km/h a couple of feet away is any less risky.

Like anything we need to exercise moderation and balance, and not neglect our family but it’s unrealistic to ask anyone to not have a bit of time to themselves for activities they enjoy

I was going to say, as someone who’s had the remarkable experience of being in a banking helicopter with the doors open…

There’s no sin here. As someone else said, that would make any immodestly risky behaviour, like feeding the poor, sinful through unnecessary exposure to risk.

Or eating sashimi,
Or crossing the street,
Or sunbathing.

If someone doesn’t Know, beyond doubt, that the Holy Spirit is within, then there are other lines of questioning that can lead to ‘Right Thinking’ about a situation. Just because we don’t Know, doesn’t mean we can’t Trust that He/She (Holy Spirit) is there and rooting for us, “Choose Me…You won’t find a better way to spend a lifetime.” But one must truly want to know what is in line with the Mind of Christ to get below surface answers.

Since the OP had the thought to ask a priest about sin/no sin of this action, then it may be the Holy Spirit who gave the ‘nudge’ to question it in the first place. But the role of a spiritual leader isn’t to make the determination for us, but to give guidance about how one can ‘see through the eyes of Christ’ rather than our own will or Ego’s push from behind to engage in a behavior, emotion or line of thinking.

Otherwise, we are either leaning on our own understanding (without the Holy Spirit or use of spiritual principles), or on the understanding of others, who may or may not know the Holy Spirit or be using spiritual principles. If someone can’t tell how they came to their position, then the chances are that spiritual principles weren’t part of the determination process - it’s opinion/leaning on one’s own understanding (or could even be the first priest’s intense fear of heights). Or if they read an article tonight about the topic, their position may change tomorrow. Opinions change; spiritual principles do not - they only grow deeper in our Understanding of them and application opportunities.

Tyypes of tools one can use if they don’t know the Holy Spirit personally (which still apply after one Knows the Holy Spirit):

Does this act, behavior, thought glorify Christ?

Does this a, b or t indulge in the pleasures of the flesh without regard for Christ and His will for me?

For instance, In checking motives and hidden motives, one might ask alongs the lines of:

Is this act an effort of the flesh to provide a point of pride or to obtain the esteem/respect of men?

Is it a means to stave off boredom? To add excitement to life/adrenalin rush?

Do underlying motives involve conquering fear in the wrong way, escaping feelings, or is it an act of defiance - daring the powers/principalities or God?

Do I know if skydiving would be sin/lack Wisdom for you? No. I could only share from my experience of thinking about engaging in skydiving (because my brothers enjoyed it), how my motives were suspect and the mind tools I used to come to the decision not to jump. Your motives may be different and ‘pass the test’.

I do the inner work to the best of my ability and keep moving forward. Practice, thus far, has not led to Perfect, but I endeavor to use the tools I’ve been taught that provide an anchor in the shifting tides of Ego’s influence and brings me more in line with the Goal.

Rigorous honesty isn’t easy but it’s worth it, from my experience.

One of my motivatons for considering skydiving had to do with dreams of flying as a child. No parachute, no plane - just arms out…up, up and away. I still don’t know what it means to have had such dreams that ‘stick in memory’, but I determined that skydiving would ultimately be a disappointment compared to the dream. There is a part of me that wants that unfettered freedom to soar, but now I think of it in terms of what it will be like when I’m no longer yoked/attached/grounded to the evil one within and am free to fly…with the Wings of Love. I feed Hope and keep doing my part to be made ‘white as snow’. :slight_smile:

Dave,

There is no “traditional” versus “modern”, there is only the Church.

This is not something that is intrinsically evil, i.e. a violation of the Ten Commandments. Therefore, it is prudential judgment on your part.

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