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Definition: Scandal

 

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According to the Baltimore Catechism...

"Scandal is any sinful word, deed, or omission that disposes others to sin, or lessens their respect for God and holy religion."

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"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." (Catechism of Pope St. Pius X)

"Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. the person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor's tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense. Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: 'Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.' Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep's clothing. Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion. Therefore, they are guilty of scandal who establish laws or social structures leading to the decline of morals and the corruption of religious practice, or to 'social conditions that, intentionally or not, make Christian conduct and obedience to the Commandments difficult and practically impossible.' This is also true of business leaders who make rules encouraging fraud, teachers who provoke their children to anger, or manipulators of public opinion who turn it away from moral values. Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged. 'Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come!'" (Ref. Vatican Website/Catechism of the Catholic Church)


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