Voluntary near occasion of sin in an objectively neutral situation

Maybe I’m grasping at straws here, but this is a subject I have been trying to figure out for a while now, and I found this really interesting topic on another Catholic forum.

Can allowing yourself to be in a near occasion of sin be a sin itself, or even mortal sin? I’m asking about proximate occasions of sin that are voluntary, not unavoidable. When a good or neutral place (a bar, the beach, a co-workers cubicle, etc) are occasions for sin.

Like, for example, going to a keg party when you have a drinking problem, even if you don’t drink anything. Or being around someone that potentially induces lustful feelings or even thoughts in you, even if you don’t welcome those feelings or thoughts.

As someone pointed out in the topic, it probably has something to do with disordered appetite. But is it sinful? Essentially you fight the temptations head on instead of avoiding the situations altogether. My own theory is that is very subjective, but it can be confusing if you are trying to examine your conscience.

Please share your thoughts and knowledge.

If I may ask what is a “Learing Catholic” ? Thanks, just curious.

To me it depends on the chances. For each situation, how high are the chances that you would commit the sin? If it’s pretty much guaranteed or a hard fight, I would consider it a sin to put yourself in that situation. If it is 50/50, I would base it on the gravity of the sin. I would avoid a 50/50 situation if it is mortal sin, but venial sin probably not. Then below 50, I would probably go depending on how strong I feel fighting the particular temptation. But the situation would have to have some good effect to justify taking that chance. If it’s just friends hanging out at a bar, find other friends that won’t put you in that situation. If it’s a spouse and the marriage is already shaky, you might risk it for the sake of the marriage.

You are very right. It is highly subjective and probably best handled in a private conversation with a spiritual director or confessor.

Jesus spoke of things going into ones mouth not making one impure, but rather what comes out of the mouth. St Paul says that all things are lawful but not all things build up.

Both of these things speak to the importance of our internal disposition and strength and faith rather anything external.

If we try to remain focused on Loving God and Loving neighbor - I think one can not go far wrong. matters such as these will fall into their natural place.


Well, I’d say that the voluntary part of your dilemma is the crux of the matter.

Blind men don’t go to movies and if a person has a disordered appetite for such things as alcohol or drugs or gaming or women, etc. then they shouldn’t place themselves in proximate danger and “fight” the temptation to partake solely for the “proof” they can take it or leave it.

It is one thing to be an alcoholic and get invited to a wedding where there will be plenty of drinking at the reception and go but cautiously enjoy oneself. It is another thing to head for the sports bar for a few hours to hang out with the guys just after swearing off the booze. That would be stupid. I also thought of those men who go to the girlie bars where the women are prancing around on table tops with next to nothing on and they justify going and staring for a few hours by the words they aren’t committing the act of fornication so they aren’t really cheating on their wives. Dumb. There’s more than one sin being consented to than simple fornication in that instance.

Person’s with disordered desires and actual addictions to such things as booze and women really don’t need to place themselves in situations where they may fall. If they do, they are simply searching for others to blame for their fall.


Thank you for your good replies so far!

I am labeling myself as that, because I think I still have very much to learn about our faith. So if I say or ask about something, I don’t want it come of as ignorance. The are people here on these forums that seem to understand things in a much better way than I am. :slight_smile:
On the other hand, one might argue that we learn all the time. Maybe I will change it in due time :slight_smile:

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