What are the limits of scandal?

Let’s start by saying there’s a difference between scandal and being scandalized. Scandal is something that tends to lead others to sin.

Now here’s my example. Suppose a young adult daughter has converted to Catholicism. Her parents are strongly anti-Catholic. She would like to be a good example of her faith.

However, her parents have a much stricter moral code. Any violation of this moral code will be seen as proof that her new religion is bad. Say, for example, that they believe it is Biblically required for women to have long hair. Seeing their daughter with short hair will cause them to think worse of Catholicism. Ought she to retain long hair for this reason? It seems all the elements are met - what is being asked is not itself a sin, and not doing it will indeed lead others towards sin.

I can’t say whether it meets the definition of scandal, but in the example you mention, it would be charitable for the daughter to keep long hair at least for awhile.
Of course there are limits, and the daughter would have to discern how far she needs to lead her own life and how much influence her parents’ opinions should have. It might depend on the requirements of her career, the circumstances of her life.
Many Protestants think smoking is a sin, or drinking any alcohol at all is a sin. Catholics don’t think that way. (Smoking IMO is a really bad idea, but an addiction rather than a sin.)

Here is the dilemma, as it has no consistantancy in all belief systems and government laws are always changing too.

To eat ham is not scandalous to a Christian, but to a jewish person it is. Out of respect a Christian may not serve this at a dinner party with Jewish guests, so not to offend. But what if others love ham? If still served, along with other food options, the Jewish guests may or may not eat it. No one is forcing their hand here, but everyones preferences are being met.

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.