When does opinion become rash judgment?

Can anyone answer this question? Also, could someone give me an example of rash judgment that is a mortal sin? Could opinions involve detraction or calumny when they are expressed?

When you rush to decide without enough evidence. Typically because you are led by emotions and conditioning to think to make snap decisions when you don’t like what is before you.

Are these usually cases of mortal sin?

It does not matter if most or half are. There are not enough specifics here to make any kind of decision from what I can see. I am told, if in doubt about it, confess anyway.

Not out of scrupulosity, but concern to clease this from your heart.

I think if I were christian, all things that would seperate me from God would be something I would want to remove as often as able. I would pray in the meantime, if I believed.

My thoughts are with you.

In my opinion, you won’t be able to get that snowblower to run unless you rebuild the carburetor. This is not rash judgment.

But, say you form an opinion about your neighbor, Bob, and his cruel determination to wake you up every night with his stereo. Further, let us suppose you don’t have sufficient justification for your opinion. This is rash judgment, even if you express your opinion to no one. If you do decide to pass your notion along, it is calumny. “Bob is cruel and indifferent to other people.”

Calumny is often grave, and eligible to be a mortal sin. I’m not sure with your average case of rash judgment. Probably not likely to be grave.

Opinion becomes rash judgment as a result of two things.

First, the opinion is not thought through critically - not subjected to logic, and not followed into the future. We can’t know whether or not it is true, without following through.

Second, the opinion is acted on as if it were true.

An example of rash judgment becoming mortal sin:

  1. Abortion is murder.
  2. Innocent babies must be defended.
  3. I am acting rightly to kill an abortionist.

The first two ideas are true. But #3 is bad thinking. It has jumped from one form of murder to another form of murder. What this thinker left out is this:

  1. Murder is wrong, and forbidden by the Commandments.
  2. We may not do evil that good may result.
  3. We must find a Christian way to defend the innocent.

This is only an example. LET’S NOT HIJACK THIS THREAD into a discussion of abortion.

I just read a wonderful article today by Peter Kreeft: Critical Thinking for Christians. It’s on Catholic Culture’s website, here, and my ideas here are based on it.

God bless us all,
Rational Ruthie

Perhaps I have misunderstood your point. Your example does not include reference to a lack of evidence of moral fault in a neighbor. In your example, it may be perfectly reasonable to figure the person is an abortionist. I think your #3 leans more toward an example of making an unsound moral judgment of what the rules of right conduct are. Rash judgment is not about a failure to understand the facts of the moral law.

It is not required that one take action as a result of their rash judgment for it to count as rash judgment. One need only make the judgment. I think a CCC quote would be helpful:2477 …He becomes guilty … of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor…

Sound advice.

First is helps to have a clear understanding of what rash judgement is. I’ve wondered when exactly rash judgment becomes mortally sinful and found the following which I found to be very helpful.


Unquestioning conviction about another person’s bad conduct without adequate grounds for the judgment. The sinfulness of rash judgment lies in the hasty imprudence with which the critical appraisal is made and in the loss of reputation that a peson suffers in the eyes of the one who judges adversely.


380 Q. What is forbidden by the Eighth Commandment? A. The Eighth Commandment forbids all rash judgments, backbiting, slanders, and lies.

“Rash judgment”—that is, having in your mind and really believing that a person is guilty of a certain sin when you have no reason for thinking so, and no evidence that he is guilty.

Thank you all.

So to be innocent of rash judgement, there must be sufficient evidence. Yet, what about conspiracy theorists. Do they commit the sin of rash judgement?

They commit the error of accepting bad information. This is not a sin, it is something they are allowed to delve into as the church does not say anything about it dogmatically.

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