Posted by: Joe of St. Thérèse | November 12, 2008

nine ways of being accesory to another’s sin

Too often we’re told that God loves us as we are (which is true), but He also despises sin, and does not want us to be within the bondage of sin. And desires that we have union with Him. He does not force this union upon anyone. We are free to chose such. Onto today’s topic.

def: sin: a betrayal or an act in contrary to the Divine Law of God. I would also extend it as an offense against reason.

Every person knows what is right from what is wrong on their hearts. We call this the natural law. Something that you don’t need a textbook, the Bible, or me to tell you.

Notice that I did not say that sin was an act of evil. The reason being is that there are two types of evil actions. Intrinsically evil actions: Those actions that are in of themselves evil. The other type is a term I’ll make up on the spot for you I’ll call it non-intrinsic evil which is exactly what it says, an act that is not naturally evil.

sin breaks down into two types

a. mortal sin: sin that is deadly, “kills” the soul, it separates us from the Life of the Trinity, takes away sanctifying grace
b. venial sin: voluntary act (word, thought, deed) that is at variance with God’s Law.

Some of you are thinking, these 2 are exactly the same….this is not the case, they are different by essence.

Conditions for mortal sin:
1. grave matter: In violation of the 10 commandments in essence, or anything under it (i.e. voting for a pro-Abortion politician when there is a better pro-Life candidate, adultery, etc)
2. knowledge: you must know that this sin of grave matter. (which hopefully your catechists taught you, if they didn’t they should be fired ;))
3. consent of the will: you had to do it on your own free will (i.e. not having a physical addiction that prevents your free will from coming into play)

Conditions for venial sin:
1. non-grave matter: minor violations
2. involuntary consequence: that is to say it was like a reaction or something like that, so something like cursing someone out right after they cut you off on the freeway)
3. voluntary act: an action that you chose to do.

*2 and 3 do not contradict if you read carefully into what I’m trying to say. Like the previous example of someone cutting you off the freeway, you chose to curse them out. However this was a reaction to the situation, hence it was BOTH voluntary and involuntary…(liken to heat of the moment)…if you’re still confused, ask questions at the end of the lecture, thanks 🙂

Now the topic for today was the 9 ways of participating in another’s sin. here they are

1. by counsel
2. by command
3. by consent
4. by provocation
5. by praise or flattery
6. by concealment
7. by partaking
8. by silence
9. by the defense of the ill done

I want to break down all 9 of these for you, so I shall do that.

1. by counsel: one of the definitions from the dictionary is as follows: interchange of opinions as to future procedure and to urge the adoption of a course of action, recommended.

So what it means to counsel in someone’s sin: To advise them to commit a sin

Eg: If a lady wants to get an abortion and wants your advice, you counsel in their sin when you advise them to get an abortion.

You did NOT in this instance directly participate in the action, however you indirectly allowed by suggesting to the persons’ mind they may have an abortion. They may in the end choose not to have an abortion. But the fact that you put that thought into her head, means you should be heading straight for the confessional nearest you. This one can often be quite hard to avoid, because you want your friends’ to not hate you, or make them feel good about whatever decision that you go on. In this situation you ask for the gift of prudence to know the right thing to tell them and for wisdom that you may not advise them in error.

2. by command which from the dictionary is to direct with specific authority or prerogative, to order.

In otherwords, to direct them to sin.

Eg: Back to the lady wanting to get an abortion. Now you command the lady to get an abortion.

In this example you DIRECTLY participated in the sin, because you told them to do. You are just as culpable as the woman is for allowing this to happen. Now the lady may not listen to your command, however as mentioned from the previous example, it’s on you once you said it, therefore you should be heading straight to the nearest confessional 🙂

3. by consent: to permit, approve, agree, comply or yield

Eg: If you are the mother of a girl wanting to have an abortion, and you say okay to the abortion

This is the sin by allowing such a thing to happen. The same thing occurs when voting for a pro-abortion politician. You are consenting their action to vote for federal funding for abortions. In this way you participate in the very abortions that the doctors will then commit.

4. by provocation: to instigate, to irritate, to anger, to incite

Eg: Let’s say that someone is really angry with a person, and the person blurts out “I want to knock that persons’ head off.” Then if you as a friend, or a group of you go “do it,” “do it”, “do it” This is the provoking of the sin of wrath. That’s right, all the times you’ve encouraged the buddies to keep on drinking to the point of drunkenness, that’s a sin too. You’ve participated in the very act. I’ll see you in front of the confessional

5. by praise of flattery: from the dictionary again: act of expressing approval, commendation

Eg: If a person was to curse someone out on the freeway, and you applaud them. This is a sin, why? You’ve encouraged that person by praising their actions to sin more.

I like to call this the sin of ego boosting. When I taught physics a while back…I went on a little tirade because I was much disappointed in my students’ test results, blasting them for a lack of studying and a lack of caring for the material. One of the teachers’ then came in and congratulated me on that tirade. That teacher sinned by encouraging my sin of wrath in that particular example.

6. by concealment: a place of hiding, the act of concealing.

Eg: If you find out that a person committed an abortion. Let’s say that the person asked you to hide the baby in a trash can. You are concealing the sin from this person by hiding the evidence of a destroyed life from them.

7. by partaking

Eg: The doctor that commits the abortion is partaking in the very sin. They themselves are committing the act of murder on a child

This is the most direct way of participating in a sin. Usually this kind of things happens with pre-marital relations or in cases of morality. It can certainly happen in other cases as well. The thing about partaking in a sin directly…you’ll have to be able to explain that at the Last Judgement (as with all sin)). This is the easiest one to avoid though thank goodness. 🙂

8. by silence:

Eg: If you see two people living together, and you do not choose to correct them.

Courage my friends, courage. It takes courage (last time I checked one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit). (Likely better known as Fortitude (and the way I learned it)). We must pray for this gift constantly. I don’t know about you, but being politically correct is MUCH easier than telling the Truth. Our Bishops’ for far too long have been silent on the issues that matter. 54% of Catholics voted for Obama. A number of Bishops’ this year FINALLY spoke out on the issues (with the known exceptions). I know that I did not hear anything from my Bishop (that’d be Cardinal Mahony) on pro-Life matters. Ironically i did hear about him on the illegal immigration matters, lol. Silence is perhaps the most deadly of the ways that we can participate in a sin…by letting someone fall without warning, there’s one we’ll have to find our creative ways to explain to God.

9. by defense of the ill done.

Eg: Trying to justify the act of voting for a pro-abortion politician.

When you know the act is wrong, and you’re trying to defend it. Those of you apart of Apostates for Obama (better known as Catholics for Obama) KNEW that Obama was pro-abortion, pro-ESCR, pr0-anti-Catholic principles. You put the needs of yourself ahead of those who could not defend themselves. In trying to defend yourself, you’re trying to defend the sin that you knowingly committed. It’s like going to the Confessional and telling the priest, yeah, but but this happened so I had to do it, in turn showing no contrition. Apostates for Obama, you need to recognize that the good of the innocent babies leads to your good, because you wouldn’t have economic problems had 50 million babies had the opportunity to grow and contribute to society. 2 wrongs definitely do not make anything right. Do not defend selfish sinful actions, but try to change from them 🙂

The one thing that we forget as Catholics is how many ways that we can participate in the acts of sin. It is our job to avoid the near occasions of sin. Not that avoiding sin is the easy thing to do. I’ve just made it a bit harder by reminding you of these 9 things :). (Good it’s my job, I’m a teacher). To avoid the near occasions of sin means to not put ourselves in situations where we can sin, and to avoid the participation in another persons’ sin. Of course we fail everyday, thank goodness for Confession eh?


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