Appearance of Evil

Started by TerrorDæmonum, August 07, 2022, 06:55:21 PM

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Quote from: 1 Thessalonians 5:22
From all appearance of evil refrain yourselves.

Quote from: Catechism of Pius X
The Fifth Commandment

1 Q. What does the Fifth Commandment: Thou shalt not kill, forbid?
A. The Fifth Commandment, Thou shalt not kill, forbids us to kill, strike, wound or do any other bodily harm to our neighbour, either of ourselves or by the agency of others; as also to wish him evil, or to offend him by injurious language. In this Commandment God also forbids the taking of one's own life, or suicide.

5 Q. What is scandal?
A. Scandal is any word, act, or omission which is the occasion of another's committing sin.

6 Q. Is scandal a grave sin?
A. Scandal is a grave sin because, by causing the loss of souls, it tends to destroy the greatest work of God, namely, the redemption; it effects the death of another's soul by depriving it of the life of grace, which is more precious than the life of the body; and is the source of a multitude of sins. Hence God threatens the severest chastisement to those who give scandal.

Quote from: Summa Theologica, Second Part of the Second Part, Question 43
Article 1. Whether scandal is fittingly defined as being something less rightly said or done that occasions spiritual downfall?

On the contrary, Jerome in expounding Matthew 15:12, "Dost thou know that the Pharisees, when they heard this word," etc. says: "When we read 'Whosoever shall scandalize,' the sense is 'Whosoever shall, by deed or word, occasion another's spiritual downfall.'"

I answer that, As Jerome observes the Greek skandalon may be rendered offense, downfall, or a stumbling against something. For when a body, while moving along a path, meets with an obstacle, it may happen to stumble against it, and be disposed to fall down: such an obstacle is a skandalon.

In like manner, while going along the spiritual way, a man may be disposed to a spiritual downfall by another's word or deed, in so far, to wit, as one man by his injunction, inducement or example, moves another to sin; and this is scandal properly so called.

Now nothing by its very nature disposes a man to spiritual downfall, except that which has some lack of rectitude, since what is perfectly right, secures man against a fall, instead of conducing to his downfall. Scandal is, therefore, fittingly defined as "something less rightly done or said, that occasions another's spiritual downfall."

Reply to Objection 2
. A thing is said to be less right, not because something else surpasses it in rectitude, but because it has some lack of rectitude, either through being evil in itself, such as sin, or through having an appearance of evil. Thus, for instance, if a man were to "sit at meat in the idol's temple" (1 Corinthians 8:10), though this is not sinful in itself, provided it be done with no evil intention, yet, since it has a certain appearance of evil, and a semblance of worshipping the idol, it might occasion another man's spiritual downfall. Hence the Apostle says (1 Thessalonians 5:22): "From all appearance of evil refrain yourselves." Scandal is therefore fittingly described as something done "less rightly," so as to comprise both whatever is sinful in itself, and all that has an appearance of evil.

Reply to Objection 4
. Another's words or deed may be the cause of another's sin in two ways, directly and accidentally. Directly, when a man either intends, by his evil word or deed, to lead another man into sin, or, if he does not so intend, when his deed is of such a nature as to lead another into sin: for instance, when a man publicly commits a sin or does something that has an appearance of sin. On this case he that does such an act does, properly speaking, afford an occasion of another's spiritual downfall, wherefore his act is called "active scandal." One man's word or deed is the accidental cause of another's sin, when he neither intends to lead him into sin, nor does what is of a nature to lead him into sin, and yet this other one, through being ill-disposed, is led into sin, for instance, into envy of another's good, and then he who does this righteous act, does not, so far as he is concerned, afford an occasion of the other's downfall, but it is this other one who takes the occasion according to Romans 7:8: "Sin taking occasion by the commandment wrought in me all manner of concupiscence." Wherefore this is "passive," without "active scandal," since he that acts rightly does not, for his own part, afford the occasion of the other's downfall. Sometimes therefore it happens that there is active scandal in the one together with passive scandal in the other, as when one commits a sin being induced thereto by another; sometimes there is active without passive scandal, for instance when one, by word or deed, provokes another to sin, and the latter does not consent; and sometimes there is passive without active scandal, as we have already said.

Article 2. Whether scandal is a sin?

On the contrary, Scandal is "something less rightly said or done." Now anything that lacks rectitude is a sin. Therefore scandal is always with sin.

I answer that, As already said (Article 1, Reply to Objection 4), scandal is of two kinds, passive scandal in the person scandalized, and active scandal in the person who gives scandal, and so occasions a spiritual downfall. Accordingly passive scandal is always a sin in the person scandalized; for he is not scandalized except in so far as he succumbs to a spiritual downfall, and that is a sin.

Yet there can be passive scandal, without sin on the part of the person whose action has occasioned the scandal, as for instance, when a person is scandalized at another's good deed. On like manner active scandal is always a sin in the person who gives scandal, since either what he does is a sin, or if it only have the appearance of sin, it should always be left undone out of that love for our neighbor which binds each one to be solicitous for his neighbor's spiritual welfare; so that if he persist in doing it he acts against charity.

Yet there can be active scandal without sin on the part of the person scandalized, as stated above (Article 1, Reply to Objection 4).