Would you rat out a friend or relatuve you found out got away wirh a major crime?

Such as bank robbery, murder, burglary, car theft something major along these lines. Would being quiet be considered not owning up to ones moral duty.

I’d probably try to get them to turn themselves in. If they honestly refused, they I probably would turn them in.

Depends on what it was they did and why.

Note that I’m not Catholic.


And yes.

“Rat out” implies a standard that whatever happens, we are to keep out mouth shut.


O, Really? Whatever?

Say your friend or relative raped a woman or a child and you knew it and said nothing and he raped again. How can your avoid the guilt of being an enabler of evil?

A major crime is a major crime. It matters not that, in your personal opinion, that some major crimes need not be reported because you happen to know and care for the perpetrator.

JUSTICE is one of the four cardinal virtues. It is one of the four most elements of an honorable life and society. Will you sacrifice something most basic and consider yourself an honorable person?

Good Answers!

Rat out!!! Is it still 1933?:eek:


My husband? I would take it to my grave.

Anyone else? It depends on a lot. What did they do? Why? Would they do it again? Was anyone harmed and if so, how?

“Come out and take it, you dirty, yellow-bellied rat, or I’ll give it to you through the door!”


I would if it was a mortal sin. Most crimes I would consider to be mortal. Some crimes I might not “rat” on someone, such as stealing a pen from the office storeroom and giving it to a friend. I would let them know that it is wrong, but the damage done is pretty small. If it was a regular occurrence though (maybe stealing pens for all their friends), I would ask them to tell their employer, before telling them myself. Thankfully, I have never witnessed friends or family committing a major crime.

Depends on the size of the reward! Hee! Hee!

Could be extremely difficult to notify authorities on ones’ spouse! I doubt most would do so.

Viewed a crime story on TV in which a mother recognized a sketch artists drawing of a murder suspect. She called police and the investigation found out the son as the killer.

I agree, I feel that if I could get them to turn themselves in, it would be better than being a “snitch”. It might also prevent them from doing it in the future.


The Sherlock Holmes stories are replete with instances where the detective did not turn in a lawbreaker, not even a family member or friend, when he felt there was some strong moral justification or excuse for the crime, or in cases where a repentant criminal suffered a terminal illness, and as long as everyone was very likely safe. I don’t recall all the details for each story, nor that I would condone every instance, but I think there’s a point that there’s SOME room for leeway depending on the circumstances.

qui tacet consentire videtur or silence gives consent. By covering up a crime, you make yourself an accomplice to the crime. Any relative or friend that would let you be on the hook for their misdeeds is no relative or friend at all.

In my case, it would depend on the crime. I would probably not be able to live with myself if I knew a friend had killed someone or harmed someone seriously and gotten away with it. I would likely turn them in for violent crimes, but probably not for material type crimes, such as theft, robbery, etc.

The deciding factor for me would be if anyone was hurt or killed.

RosslynV asks : "would you rat out a friend or relative you found out got away with a major crime?"

First, A person tells me that she wants to share a SECRET with me, and would I agree to keep it to myself.
If I promise to not reveal her Secret, then I consider it a SIN to reveal it to someone else.
So, if a close Friend revealed that she killed someone, I would NOT go back on my Word of Honor.

Beyond that, the Bible does NOT teach us to run and tell the Police any time we hear news that someone MIGHT have committed a Crime (nor, if I actually eye-witness a Crime committed right in front of me).

In fact, Jesus REALLY does not like the Court system, and He warned all of us to avoid going to Court at all costs, or else we might suffer.

I believe that if I stir up the Police (and the Criminal Court system) with a solid accusation against someone for a Crime, that I will become attached to that situation … and have a responsibility for what happens after that.

Of course, the WORST outcome is that my information of him committing a Crime is False.
Then, I would be responsible for all of his pain and humiliation.
This would devastate me emotionally.

If anyone thinks that we have an ethical (or Religious) DUTY to report possible crimes to the Police, I would like to know the Biblical basis for it (or whatever basis for it).

You cannot let a mere promise keep you from doing any duties you may have. Your original promise may have been foolish, but I can come up with a hundred clear examples where keeping a promise can lead to disastrous results for many lives.

Without a court system there would be no way to process criminals to determine guilt or innocence. You think Jesus wants millions of criminals to roam free? Did Jesus overturn the courts in his own time or mock the courts of the Old Testament? No. You need to think this through more carefully.

You have a responsibility if you don’t report a witnessed crime also. It is a civic duty of a witness to step up.

Just because you might be a “cause” in the situation you describe doesn’t make you guilty of anything. If others abuse their offices, then they become the proximate cause of any miscarriage of justice, not you.

Try the commandments against killing and stealing which you are tantamount to breaking if you allow a known killer or thief to commit more crimes which you easily could have prevented. Stand up to protect innocent life in your community.

One must consider the common good if it so applies. Not all offenses impact the common good extremely, and so must be measured in terms of impact on the future of the subject as well as impact on the community. The subject was first to consider this also before he committed the act, but was negligent to do so. As well, there are circumstances that allow the act to remain secret, (war conditions,etc).

Not all policing agencies are deserving of receiving such evidence. For example the political genocide of thousands of citizens in south American Countries carried out by the police and their Ministry puts into question their qualification to administer untainted due process justice.

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