Is there such a thing as sinning by omission?

By Paul Dion, STL

Most of the time when we seek guideposts for our behavior, we look for guidance concerning the acts that we should do to be righteous.  By the same token we seek to name the acts that we should not do so as not to commit sin.  It is therefore common practice to run to the Ten Commandments in our mind thereby reminding ourselves to do the acts that they dictate to us.  When we have done that we also tend to realize that these same commandments tell us to avoid certain behaviors because they are bad.

The question before us now though aims at something different.  The question is, “Is it sinful to refrain from doing good things that are expected from us by God?”  To be practical, the question could be:

“Is it sinful not to pray?”
“Is it sinful not to go to confession for long periods of time? [Years, for example]
“Is it sinful to avoid helping someone who needs help when it would be possible, in fact, to render aid?
“Is it sinful to stay away from visiting parents confined in a nursing home?
“Is it sinful to refrain from supporting the parish where we attach our religious practice?
“Is it sinful to not instruct our children about God and about praying to God?

In short, is it sinful to lurk in the shadows and not be a participating member of the Communion of Saints?

Click here for the answer to the Burning Question.

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