Using this forum.... Sin?

Okay, so, this may sound absurd at first glance, when looking at the thread title… but please, read. I joined this forum because of a close friend of mine who is Catholic, aswell as the knowledge that a lot of Catholic have more common sense than fundamentalist protestants do. There are many aspects of these forums that I enjoy, but I still noticed a distinct problem.

Whenever someone makes a thread, it’s always guaranteed to escalate into an good old fashioned argument of “holier than thou”…

I find this rather sad. We’re all God’s children, yet we’re constantly bickering over who’s right, who’s wrong, who’s going to hell for what.
Which, last I checked, was not our place, as people, to judge.

And after discovering the moral theology forum, I felt even worse…
Every thread is an argument, usually over something silly, like whether or not we’re burning in eternal hellfire for kissing our boyfriend/girlfriend of several years gently on the lips.

Or for playing video games. Or getting tattoos. Or cutting our hair in a less than conservative style. And a great deal of other things that really do not make God love us any less.

But what shocks me the most, is how many people go on about scandal and the like…
When they don’t seem to realize that their being hypocritical, and that their many arguments in these threads are sins, by the standards that they’ve been preaching.

Now, I’m not trying to say everyones wrong, nor am I trying to turn this into a subject about the morality of tattoos, video games, hair cuts, and dating. Infact, I really don’t WANT this to be subject on any of those things, nor do I want it to be a fight…

I want it to be a moment to look around this forum, realize how we are treating our other human beings, and ask if such behavior is really what God wants.

And sorry if this isn’t exactly the right place to put this thread, but it’s something that has been eating away at me. :shrug:

I used to think the same way you did, pretty much letter for letter. I cringed when I see some of these questions. Is pet ownership sinful? Is playing video games sinful? Yeah, that’s a bit strange. I still do cringe sometimes as well.

Some people take it too far, but who cares?

If you find someone going overboard about a hair cut, tattoo, kissing their boyfriend, girlfriend, just let them be themself and ignore them. You don’t have listen to anyone, you don’t have to take their advice~do whatever you want.

These forums rock. There are so many great conversations, people, prayer requests. It’s a great place to hang out on the internet.

Well Sunni Moon, I believe it was GK Chesteron; as relayed to me by Peter Kreeft in his CD 7 Reasons why everyone should be Catholic; who in response to the challenging question as to was there anything that was negative in the Catholic Church, and Mr. Chesterson said, yes one thing Catholics - meaning despite the depth and wealth of the faith as handed to us by JESUS through HIS apostles, we still mess it up quite often. Fortunately, JESUS saw that as well and gave us the sacrament of confession the example of the Saints.

Suni, if we weren’t both women and if I wasn’t sure that the little joke would send the traditionalist in this forum ablaze at how I’m belittleing the holy, I’d say, MARRY ME.

I feel exactly the same way. I have never, ever in my WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE met someone like the people in these forums. My hometown and surrounding towns are overwheeelingly Catholic, but I’ve never seen a one of them obsess, bicker and fight over who has the “most Catholic point of view” (I’m quoting a forum regular here people)

You know? i WORRY about some of the people in this forum. Truly and honestly. being here just makes me ill. The negativity and overwhelming feeling of damnation often portrayed here has ore than once made me feel physically sick and left me unable to enjoy ANYthing about anything. Thanks to these forums, I can no longer EVER be happy about something very long before I start thinking, well I enjoy this, it must be a sin. Thanks guys

Really. Why can’t everyone take a chill pill? you go read a little from the great Mere Christianity and pray the rosary. I’ll be over here, watching the latest episode of Supernatural before sitting down to do a little Bible reading. And neither of us should judge the other.

Glad you asked the question and glad you noticed. It could be one of two things. One—a poster could ask “Is getting a tatoo a sin”? or “listening to rock music”…they could be yanking our chain and stirring the pot.
Two—a poster could sincerely ask a simple question like that because they are used to someone else running their lives and want to make sure they stay “perfect”.

The former happens alot and most don’t realize it until the discussion…er…arguement has escalated without the original poster ever returning to hear the answer…

Sadly there are those who fall in the latter catagory and even sadder are those who tip so far to the right extreme are eager to offer their 2 cents + interest, and live solely by the “letter of law”. They can recite canon law chapter and verse in 5 languages and will leave you feeling like a–a total idiot or worse b-not worthy of being a good Catholic. Which tends to have those who are on the journey to bid a hasty retreat, never fully grasping what Christianity is about.

What it all boils down to is common sense. You want answers …look within. If the question you are asking yourself freaks you out even a little…pay attention.

Dare to think for yourself.

Maybe we should approach this forum like we would a game of sport.

  1. Play by the rules-listen to the Coach (God)
  2. Play fair-and treat others fairly
  3. Play your best-practice what you know
  4. Learn from your mistakes-
  5. Never give up

In the end, it won’t matter how many points we scored as individuals, it will only matter which team we are on: God’s winning team (He will win, you know) or the devil’s losing team.


Perhaps some people utilize this forum for entertainment rather than edification.

Educated people can take both sides of an argument , as a lawyer skilled in the art of debate.but i think many come here just looking for answers and conversation.

I had someone tell me that buring incense was sinful with no explaination :confused: Now as a RCIA beginner I am not 100% sure if that is true…and then I have been judged for my optimistic and whimsical idea of reincarnation/after life in the non-catholic religion thread… :shrug: it gets so tiring I am trying to be a good Catholic and live by my Patron and how she treated others, and then coming on here to interact with others and learn more.

Catholicism at its core, is about winners and losers. And yes, there is the idea that some people are “infinitely” better and HOLIER than THOU, in the sense that some people spend their life in eternal bliss, and some people spend their life in eternal intolerable, unmitigated, unending pure torture, with zero relief for all eternity in hell!

With the stakes SO HIGH, literal eternal hell that can hit at anytime if you die unexpectedly, you bet it makes sense to make damn sure we’re not going to go there. On top of enormously high stakes, we don’t even know the odds!! The Church says that saints are in heaven, but leaves open the possibility that many many people go straight to hell when they die! we have no idea how bad it could actually be.

So of course we should question everything we do, like video games, tatoos, everything! our every waking moment should be consumed with loving God (aka avoiding hell) because hell is soo bad, nothing is worth going there.

And it is so terrifying, I just give up.

I’m so turned off from the faith because of this negativity, I don’t know how I’ll ever come back to God :frowning:

Begs the question, if you don’t like hanging out at the CAF, why are you doing it??

Don’t blame “the forums” i.e. the rest of us. It is within your power to not to come here, not ours. Sure, some of the threads get nutty. But seriously, if such threads or the CAF in general bother you, stay away. I have to take a break every now and then from the forums…perhaps that might be helpful.

Don’t let it bother you. Focus on what works for you, within our faith. There are so many positive ways of expressing/experiencing Catholic spirituality. :thumbsup:

First of all, someone being right and someone else being wrong does not mean that the person who is right is “holier than thou.” It means that objectively truth exists and when two people hold different positions, only one of them can in fact be right.

Being right is just a reality. If a person who is right acts uncharitably, then certainly that is wrong.

And rarely do I ever see a Catholic say anyone is going to Hell. That is something only God can judge. We can state whether or not something is grave matter, objectively a mortal sin. Mortal sin requires full knowledge and free will and we cannot know all the circumstances of someone committing an act. And, since mortal sin can be repented, it would not be accurate to say someone was “going to hell” for a mortal sin. The people who tend to use the “you are going to Hell” type phrases are, in my experience, not Catholics.

You may not be acquainted with a spiritual disorder called scrupulosity. It is a very real, and very serious, spiritual condition that may or may not have its psychological roots in OCD. Many, many scrupulous people come here seeking help. So, please don’t judge these people. Just simply leave their threads and don’t return. Some of us try to help them, but some people answer their questions without realizing it’s scruplosity at work.

Perhaps you don’t understand what the **sin of scandal **is, as opposed to the common usage of that term, which are not the same thing.

The sin of scandal is a sin against the Fifth Commandment and is quite serious:

2284 Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor’s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.

2285 Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea."85 Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep’s clothing.86

2286 Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion.

Therefore, they are guilty of scandal who establish laws or social structures leading to the decline of morals and the corruption of religious practice, or to "social conditions that, intentionally or not, make Christian conduct and obedience to the Commandments difficult and practically impossible."87 This is also true of business leaders who make rules encouraging fraud, teachers who provoke their children to anger,88 or manipulators of public opinion who turn it away from moral values.

2287 Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged. “Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come!”

If particular threads trouble you, perhaps they are ones you should avoid.

Judged? Or corrected? The Church has a doctrine regarding the afterlife, and teaches definitively that there is no reincarnation. From the catechism:

1013 Death is the end of man’s earthly pilgrimage, of the time of grace and mercy which God offers him so as to work out his earthly life in keeping with the divine plan, and to decide his ultimate destiny. When “the single course of our earthly life” is completed, we shall not return to other earthly lives: “It is appointed for men to die once.” There is no “reincarnation” after death.

If you are desiring to be a Catholic, you cannot be “optimistic” that reincarnation exists. It does not. This is an objective truth.

So, is it judgmental to point out that this particular idea of your is wrong? No. You are in RCIA investigating becoming a Catholic. It would be wrong to let you continue in that idea, which is incompatible with Church teaching.

That isn’t judgmental. And it isn’t “holier than thou.”

Posting in an online Catholic forum is not necessarily or always immoral.
It depends on the content of the posts.

Examples of posts that would be sinful:

  1. promoting apostasy, heresy, or schism

  2. teaching serious doctrinal errors

  3. expressions of malice or derision against Church leaders or Church teaching

  4. derision, detraction, calumny, and other types of personal attacks

A forum is only as good as the content of its posts. If there are too many members who reject Church teaching, or who present false teachings as if these were Church teachings, more harm might be done than good.

Another problem with some (relatively few) posts is that the poster presents himself or herself as answering questions authoritatively, yet anonymously, and without the support of either a sound theological argument or quotes from magisterial sources.

I don’t think this forum is sinful. Matter of fact, I feel very lucky to have it. But I seem to take the apologetics the wrong way. I can get arrogant and self-righteous because of my Catholicism. Also, the discussions on anti-Catholicism make me mad and blind me from loving God.

I’m considering taking a hiatus from CAF for a while. I only need to use the apologetics once in a blue moon. Otherwise, I feel like I’m just being paranoid that everyone is out to get me for being Catholic.

This thread itself seems a little hypocritical. It seems like a lot of people have been spending time judging people for judging people.

First, let’s keep in mind that Jesus did not mean that no judgement should ever be used. You are allowed to judge actions and see if they are objectively sinful. You are not allowed to judge the state of someone’s soul. I haven’t actually seen much of the latter on this forum, and by and large I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, so that if they don’t actually say that someone is going to Hell, I don’t assume that they mean that someone is going to Hell, just because they have made a harsh objective judgement of a particular behavior.

The other thing to keep in mind is that not everyone who asks questions that you consider “silly” is actually asking a silly question. Some people have consciences which, toward themselves, are more sensitive than others’. Here are some possibilities, some of which have already been mentioned, but not all. Say someone starts a thread asking if it is sinful for him to get a tattoo.
*]The person could be a troll.
*]The person could be scrupuous, meaning that he has a consciousness of sin that is unreasonable and inconsistent with the reality of the state of his soul.
*]The person could be showing off.
*]The person could genuinely have a greater consciousness of sin because the person is on the way to being a saint.
*]The person could genuinely have higher standards for his own behavior because he has been blessed not to be as tempted by serious sin, so God is holding him to a higher standard. It’s not that the person is particularly saintly, but that he is particularly fortunate.
*]The person could have received advice from someone who said tattoos are wrong for everyone, and they’re checking it out.

The answer to “Is it sinful for me to get a tattoo” may not end up being the same as the answer to “Is it sinful to get a tattoo.” If he is asking the question, it is unreasonable to assume (without further data) any particular one of the reasons above. It’s also kind of mean to call the question “silly” in case it is reason 2 or 6. (If it’s reason 4 or possibly 5 as well, they are probably humble enough not to mind being called silly inaccurately.)

If you find that every thread turns into an argument, I have to say that it has not been my experience. There are a few things that I can think of offhand that might contribute to our very different experience of this forum.
*]We may have different ideas of what constitutes an argument rather than a discussion.
*]We may hang out in different fora.
*]When I start reading a thread that looks to be (what I would consider) an argument, I just stop reading it, and put it out of my mind. My memory’s never been all that great even for stuff I am trying to remember, so putting negative threads out of my mind is probably a lot easier for me than most people.
*]Generally, most (not all!) of the time, I try to post on relatively new threads, or at least when I start posting they are relatively new.
*]For every five posts that I actually post, there are probably at least two posts that I write, think about for a while, and then decide not to post because I can’t think how to say what I mean without insulting someone, or because the conversation is bound to deteriorate into a wrangle that I don’t want to be a part of, or my position is based on emotion rather than fact, which makes it irrelevant for a particular thread (not all of them!), or some other reason like that.
*]I don’t subscribe to a lot of threads that I have no intention of posting in. (I read the beginnings of lots of threads without posting in them, but I don’t watch the ongoing discussion.) If you are part of the discussion and it is borderline, sometimes you can try to help it remain a discussion rather than an argument.

Anyway, it works for me. The one thing I wanted to investigate is the possibility of #1. Do you think this thread is thus far an argument? If so, what kind of discussions are you expecting? Discussions where everyone agrees about everything are, in my experience, both boring and short.

Why do you read threads about subjects you consider silly, anyway? I mean, if the title of the thread is “Should I get a tattoo” why would you even look at it? If you feel that all of the questions in the Moral Theology forum are like that, why don’t you just stop looking at the forum, rather than getting upset about it? I’m not trying to be sarcastic or harsh, I really am wondering seriously. I don’t read threads that don’t look interesting to me, and I wouldn’t spend a lot of time in a forum where the threads didn’t interest me. We are obviously very different so I am trying to understand.


I understand your frustration, particularly with the moral theology forum.

Sometimes I see a question that makes me shake my head in disbelief and think: “Seriously?” But I have come to see that most posters are asking these questions quite sincerely. Some of them struggle to understand Catholic moral teaching. Some of them may even suffer from scrupulosity, which is very real and causes very real stress in a person’s life.

So, I do my best to assume good will and answer the question as the Church sees it (which of course I cannot do perfectly as I have my own limitations and weaknesses). I find it best not to get pulled in to any catty back-and-forth. Sometimes, it’s best just to address the OP and ignore the drama. :wink:

Hey Ron. You know how everyone always gripes about how you never ever read people’s posts?


OP’s actual post had nothing WHATSOEVER to do with the title

Oh my!

 I was just struggling with a similar opinion that the OP. Here is what I've observed: And I'm not referring to the OP of this thread, I'm referring to other OP's of other threads in my observations below.

1-Sometimes an OP is not posting with the intention of getting an honest answer to their issue but merely to find a “loophole” that will allow them to participate in a behavior that they know is not permissible in the first place; is one such issue where a poster may pose what seems to be a true dilemma of faith but is really seeking “permission” to engage in an unacceptable behavior. An example of this style of posting is in the area of “achieving male/female orgasm outside of the marital act” I’ll say no more-a lot of “loophole” seekers there.

Some people who go to psychoanalyst often do this. They will claim to want to fix a problem but really only want the shrink to validate their bad behavior.

You can see how emotion is stirred up and next thing you know everyone is overly sensitive. One response I read actually said that " their priest was fine with contraceptives!" What!!! That’s what I call manipulating the masses hoping that someone approves of a chosen behavior.

Its perfectly fine and definitely helpful to take deep concerns to the forum so that we as brothers and sisters in faith can help a poster sort out serious issues so they are doing what God wants them to do in their lives but if a situation is presented in a way that is meant to cause frustration and divisiveness amongst the members-than that is not cool! And if we “take the bait” and run with it then chaos reigns.

2-Its easy to take for granted that we laymen/women are not students of theology for the most part. We do know a lot about our faith and some definitely have studied the law and know scriptures like nobody’s business but still we are humans and imperfect and do sometimes stumble when giving loving advice-therefore we should be gently corrected and reeducated but not beaten to a pulp because we were wrong or not entirely right when trying to answer a difficult question-such as: “can you receive the sacraments with RCIA even if you have an un-annulled marriage but are now civilly divorced and living as a single man/woman-with no current intention of remarrying or holy vocation?.”

This was an issue that my candidate was going through and we sorted it out eventually but there were many differing opinions when I tried to look it up in the forums and some people really tended to trample on others as a way of making a poster feel bad about their “lack” of knowledge of the law in regards to the issue. I’m not saying all posters do this but in the rush to show what you know a poster might be less gentle with the less learned members when making corrections and that is-not cool. Everyone has something of value to offer even if they do not know everything there is to know about church teachings.

3- And lastly-There are some posters who post topics with the direct intention of trying to “prove” that the Catholic faith is either invalid all together or that some teachings are in contradiction of what they understand is contained in the scriptures. Such as, “Prove to me that divinely inspired teachings are not heresy and I"ll join RCIA tomorrow.” Uhmm-ya!

This is often the case with posters of faiths based in sola scriptura. These posters usually are not genuine seekers trying to discern what spiritual path is correct but are merely trying to see how much havoc they can generate and then gleefully relishing the conflict that ensues and smugly stating that Catholics have a superiority complex.

Now this is when we need to put our best face forward-not our worst-lest a poster by justified in their anti-catholic stance. Sadly sometimes this does not happen and a real battle can erupt with one side trying to defend the truth by insulting the OP instead of engaging in a well thought out discussion. While some posters try to remain non-combative while trying to to take in the OP’s opinions and correcting them in a gentle manner but suddenly one poster who believes another poster is being too permissive or ‘weak’ will attack said poster and now everyone is fighting while the OP stands back and points the finger at all of us. This doesn’t help anyone and I don’t believe this was the intention in creating this forum.

We can only hope, pray and have faith that a hard boiled cynic will actually find something beautiful here-so beautiful that they might actually receive the ultimate calling-to join or return to Christ’s church. That will not happen unless a true spirit of love and compassion resides within these threads. When we express true love and compassion,God has-through our humility- the ingredients with which to create miracles within even the hardest of hearts.

We are a family and like most families we have our serious issues and our occasional falling out here and there but we are all committed to supporting “the church body” which is all of us combined, so that she may continue to thrive and be the embodiment of Christ’s love for all of us. Never be afraid to speak from the heart. This is a faith of that invites it’s members to use their moral understanding and conscience and God invites us to seek and gain knowledge not to be ignorant and follow blindly.

This is a timely discussion for me as I assist God in inviting a new member into the church. She -the candidate- has had many obstacles and trials in her life but is finally on her way to gaining this beautiful knowledge and inclusion in all ways of the faith. I always strive to show the honestly of what we are as a body;the good and the not-so great so that she knows as a grown adult what the “real deal” is and undertakes this journey with full understanding.

That is our purpose above all others when called to guide another;to show the truth and beauty of what Christ has created for us.

Take Care Mary

Hi Suni – I hear ya. And I‘m guilty as charged, of straining at gnats and sometimes swallowing a camel. Maybe it will help to explain where some of us may be coming from:

When I was Protestant, conscience-craft was for me a largely intuitive art: Ideally, one prayed to God and stayed close to fellow Christians, did one‘s best to be fair and helpful, and trusted the Holy Spirit to take it from there.

Becoming Catholic was like going to art school: One learns about composition and proportion, what works and what doesn‘t, and why. I saw the awfulness of some of my former handiwork, done without disobedience to conscience, but also with little reflection, for lack of a trained eye. „Formation of conscience“ – the sort of education that comes from following Church teachings and listening to the reasoning behind them – is like the consciousness-raising of the civil rights and feminist movements. The personal („Help Wanted: Female“) becomes political, and you begin vetting the taken-for-granted details of daily life for the implicit messages they send.

At this point, some people – I am one of them – start questioning everything. Is it all right to eat fortune cookies, get a tattoo, listen to the Beatles? Contrition plays a part in no longer taking your own judgment for granted. Intellectual fascination is another factor – like taking an expert-guided tour of a European cathedral, as opposed to just walking in and looking around. You find yourself drawn in, wanting to see and understand like the expert, eventually finding your own insights and wanting to share them.

At best, this whole experience is like art-class discussion, meant to serve the learning process which itself is only a means to an end. Morality is not holiness, as art theory is not art. At worst, it tempts those who participate in it to pride and exasperates those who listen. What‘s it all for, anyway? Do the art critics really appreciate the cathedral better than the working people who go in there on lunch break and light a candle?

No; but it does not follow that art theory, or detailed moral reflection on one‘s daily life, is a bad thing. It‘s a source of temptation; so is Thanksgiving dinner for the person struggling with gluttony, but they might be well advised to go anyway for the sake of others and to honor God. People on these forums are at various stages of following the moral learning process and of handling the temptations that go with it. At bottom, we‘re not that much different from you.

Using this forum – a sin? That depends, I guess, on how one is doing with regard to the temptations. They trouble some of us enough that we give up the forums for Lent.

You certainly put things beautifully.

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