Choose a topic from Part 2B:

43. Scandal

1. Scandal is a needless word or deed which does spiritualharm to those who hear or observe it. Scandal is word or deed thatoccasions sin in another; it is bad example.

2. In the person scandalized (that is, led to sin) thescandal is passive; in the person doing or saying thescandalous thing, the scandal is active. Active scandal isa sin against charity, which bids us seek our neighbor's good.Active scandal is not only what actually leads a person to sin, butit is also what is intended to lead him to sin (or, by itsnature is calculated to lead him to sin), even if, as a fact,he does not commit sin. Passive scandal is sometimes taken, bymistake or by perversity, from what is not, in itself, calculatedto lead a person to sin.

3. Scandal is a special kind of sin, because it is opposedto a special kind of good work, which is called fraternalcorrection.

4. Scandal, in the person who actively gives it, is eithera mortal or a venial sin, according to the gravity of thescandalous word or deed, and also according to the awareness andthe intention of the scandal-izer.

5. Scandal is taken by (that is, affects) persons of amind unsettled in adherence to good. Those who adhere perfectly toGod by charity are not scandalized; passive scandal is not found inthem.

6. Nor can those perfectly united to God by charity be thecause of scandal; they cannot be active scandalizers. For scandalis inordinate, and solidly virtuous persons direct their lives withorder; they live according to the direction of St. Paul (I Cor.14:40): "Let all things be done decently, and according toorder." The slight weaknesses of thoroughly good people neveramount to an occasion of sin in others.

7. There is a type of passive scandal, calledpharisaical, or "scandal of the Pharisees,"which tries to make evil out of what is good, just as the Phariseestried to make our Lord's words and deeds seem seditious andeven diabolical. There is another type of passive scandal, called"scandal of the little ones" or scandal of the weak,which sees evil where there is none, not by reason of malice, butby want of understanding and lack of instruction. We should neverforego a spiritual good because of pharisaical scandal, for thistype of scandal is born of hypocrisy and malice, and is to betreated with contempt. Butwe ought to do all we can, withoutbeing guilty of sinful remissness, to avoid what occasions thescandal of the weak.

8. We are not always obliged to forego all claim, even ontemporal goods, because of scandal of the weak. But the scandalshould be removed by explanation or instruction. If this cannot bedone, there are occasions on which we must forego temporal goods toavoid giving scandal. St. Paul (I Cor. 8:13) says that if hiseating meat will scandalize his brother, he will not eat meat.

"The one thing necessary which Jesus spoke of to Martha and Mary consists in hearing the word of God and living by it."
R. Garrigou-Lagrange, OP

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"Let persons in the world sanctify themselves in their own houses, for neither the court, professions, or labour, are any hindrance to the service of God."
St Philip Neri

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"God looks neither at long nor beautiful prayers, but at those that come from the heart."
The Cure D'Ars

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