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'Quick Help' Page: Should Sinners Ever Be Rebuked Publicly?

 

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Related Terms...

Public Rebuke

Rebuking Sinners Publicly

Admonishing Sinners

Admonishing the Sinner

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Arrow Question / Issue:

Should sinners ever be rebuked publicly?

 

Arrow Answer / Resources:

[click link(s) below, as applicable]

Yes, there are times when it is necessary for sinners to be rebuked publicly. Note that St. Paul instructed Timothy (a bishop) as follows in Holy Scripture...

"Reprimand publicly those who do sin ('public criminals'), so that the rest also will be afraid." (1 Tm. 5:20)

Note that the text above...

1. Is addressed to one with lawful authority (a bishop), NOT to the public at large

2. Refers to those who sin publicly, NOT to those who sin privately

3. Is to be done in charity/it seeks good (e.g. encouraging repentance/avoidance of sin), and is NOT done to bring harm to the sinner

Whether a person should or should not be rebuked, whether a person should be rebuked privately or publicly, whether a public rebuke should follow certain warning(s), whether a person has legitimate authority/ability to rebuke, what is the end in view, etc. should be carefully evaluated in any given case. [Note: For assistance regarding rebuking, it may be recommended to consult a good priest/bishop.]

Note especially that a public rebuke concerns public sins. For private sins, one must be careful not to commit the sin of detraction...

"Detraction is revealing the sins of another without (legitimate) necessity." (Baltimore Catechism)

Note: The timing / wording / conditions / etc. of any rebuke should be carefully considered, and also the other party's potential reaction should be considered. Again, for assistance regarding rebuking, it may be recommended to consult a good priest/bishop. Rebuking some people or concerning certain matters (whether privately or publicly) may be inappropriate / harmful / dangerous / unadvisable. Parties who proceed must do so at their own risk.


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