Understanding the sin of scandal


This one has always been very difficult for me to get my head around. Where and how do we draw the lines for what is scandalous? I have one friend tell me if I go to a gay bar with my friend then I’m causing scandal in indicating that I support what’s potentially happening at the bar contrary to Catholic teaching, but I also know if I don’t there’s no one in that bar with my friend who will encourage her towards authenticity, moderation, selflessness, etc. (We’re not even close to the point of being able to discuss the whole same sex intercourse thing, so I do what I can in the meantime in discouraging pre-marital sex). This sort of thing always brings to mind the story of St. Vitalis of Gaza who hired a prostite each night and catalyzed so many of their conversions and gave them their dignity back. But on the outside it looked like condoning prostitution answer solicitation. So how do we figure these things out…where’s the line between not making it more difficult for others to figure out right and wrong, and trusting that God will lead others to whats right and the humility that I may not be the (only) one to get them all the way to that right.


Scandal is when we cause others to sin by our actions. Perhaps you can try to get her to go to a regular bar instead.


Modern Catholic Dictionary:

SCANDAL. Any action or its omission, not necessarily sinful in itself, that is likely to induce another to do something morally wrong. Direct scandal, also called diabolical, has the deliberate intention to induce another to sin. In indirect scandal a person does something that he or she foresees will at least likely lead another to commit sin, but this is rather tolerated than positively desired. (Etym. Latin scandalum , stumbling block.)

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