What Is A Sin?


#1

I was recently told by my parish priest, during an RCIA class, that an act can only be deemed a sin if the person committing it and God decide that it is. Then he started going on about “objective” and “subjective” cases of sin, etc, etc…

I had never heard this before. If it is up to the individual to decide what is a sin and what isn’t, based on his or her own moral conscience, then how can the Church say that some things are sin and some aren’t? Why have Confession at all? Wouldn’t this train of thought just leave people open to sin because they’re always going to find ways to justify their actions-because that’s human nature? If the priest’s arguement was correct, then that would give leave to homosexual unions, women being priests, etc. because many people in those situations believe what they’re doing is not a sin. In the extreme case, it would excuse things like the Holocaust because the Nazis believed what they were doing was right, too.

I hope I’m making sense. I’ve been having quite a long dialog with my priest about this. My RCIA director is saying that our priest is being loyal to the Magesterium, but I guess I’m just not seeing it. Am I missing something? Is he right and I’m just refusing to follow Church teachings? I don’t want to be in rebellion against the Church, but I just don’t see how his line of thinking can be correct. What do all of you think?

Scout :tiphat:


#2

Your priest is wrong. What he is espousing is moral relativism, a position condemned by the Church since the Apostles. Sin is anything that offends God. Period. Even the fact that someone may not know it’s a sin does not change this, though because of that fact they may not be culpable (responsible) for it.

As Catholics we believe that there is an ultimate objective Truth, which is not simply a philosophy but a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. This Truth never changes because God never changes. What is contrary to His nature is a sin.


#3

This is looking for loopholes. God decides. The Bible is pretty clear on this. It is our responsibility to learn God’s law and be obedient.

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (Jn 14:15).

23 Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.(Jn 14:23).

and one of my favorites:

3 And by this we may be sure that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He who says “I know him” but disobeys his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly love for God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in him: 6 he who says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 Jn 2:3).


#4

[quote=Scout]I was recently told by my parish priest, during an RCIA class, that an act can only be deemed a sin if the person committing it and God decide that it is. Then he started going on about “objective” and “subjective” cases of sin, etc, etc…

Scout :tiphat:
[/quote]

I would need to hear his exact wording because if he really was a relativist, he would not even acknowledge the possibilty of “objective” cases of sin. It may be a case of explanatory incompetence. Catholics teach that certain acts are objectively wrong, but whether a person commiting the act is fully responsible for doing it can be subjective.

Scott


#5

From the Catechism:

1850 Sin is an offense against God: “Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight.” Sin sets itself against God’s love for us and turns our hearts away from it. Like the first sin, it is disobedience, a revolt against God through the will to become “like gods,” knowing and determining good and evil. Sin is thus “love of oneself even to contempt of God.” In this proud self- exaltation, sin is diametrically opposed to the obedience of Jesus, which achieves our salvation


#6

[quote=Scott Waddell]I would need to hear his exact wording because if he really was a relativist, he would not even acknowledge the possibilty of “objective” cases of sin. It may be a case of explanatory incompetence. Catholics teach that certain acts are objectively wrong, but whether a person commiting the act is fully responsible for doing it can be subjective.

Scott
[/quote]

Explanatory incompetence? Hmmm. Seems to be going around.


#7

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