Wednesday, January 25, 2023



Not all crimes (in civil law) are sins. And not all sins are “crimes” in civil law.

Which is worse? A crime or a sin?

It depends. 

Morally speaking and in terms of sin, it is no sin to enjoy life and its pleasures in moderation. This includes drinking and smoking to include the moderate use of other mind altering drugs like weed, Mary Jane, marijuana. 

But in some places alcohol and other mind altering drugs are crimes. 

Where is the sin? In the moderate use of these or in breaking the civil law.

It is breaking the civil law which comes under the 4th Commandment that we are to obey legitimate laws if they are just and set for the common good. 

Thus, if I disobey a red light in the middle of the night, after stopping, and there isn’t a soul on the road, I don’t believe I commit a sin if I run that light after stopping. However, if a law enforcement camera catches me doing it, I can be fined or sent to prison.

But which is worse? A sin or a crime?

Disobeying God, be it okay or not in civil law, is far more serious as the punishment for the unrepentant sinner could be the eternal fires of hell. Not even the death penalty for laws that are not sins is worse than that. 

Does Pope Francis, as he usually does, muddy the waters on what is worse a sin or a crime? To be fair, Pope Francis does say homosexual acts are a sin, but they should not be a crime. The question remains, though, does Pope Francis agree with his fellow Jesuits, one a priest and the other a cardinal heading up the synod on synods, that the Church can bless sin as in homosexual sexual unions? Press the title for the muddied thinking:

In the same interview there are some good things:


rcg said...

The Pope needs to explain how laws and sin are related. Should law allow for the corruption of one individual by another? He has taken up the cause of his bishops in his last days and is transparent.

John said...

A cleric is no expert on law; conversly, muddy comments are sin; it lets the youngest and the poorly taught to sin.

Anonymous said...

I do not believe that this is new. Pope Francis' comments from yesterday's interview echo the following from his 2013 A.D. press conference on his way home from Brazil:

Ilze Scamparini: "I would like permission to ask a delicate question: another image that has been going around the world is that of Monsignor Ricca and the news about his private life. I would like to know, Your Holiness, what you intend to do about this? How are you confronting this issue and how does Your Holiness intend to confront the whole question of the gay lobby?"

Pope Francis: "About Monsignor Ricca: I did what canon law calls for, that is a preliminary investigation. And from this investigation, there was nothing of what had been alleged. We did not find anything of that.

"I see that many times in the Church, over and above this case, but including this case, people search for “sins from youth”, for example, and then publish them."


"They are not crimes, right? Crimes are something different: the abuse of minors is a crime."

"No, sins."


Pope Francis continued:

"When we confess our sins and we truly say, “I have sinned in this”, the Lord forgets, and so we have no right not to forget, because otherwise we would run the risk of the Lord not forgetting our sins."

"But if a person, whether it be a lay person, a priest or a religious sister, commits a sin and then converts, the Lord forgives, and when the Lord forgives, the Lord forgets and this is very important for our lives."

"But, returning to your question more concretely. In this case, I conducted the preliminary investigation and we didn’t find anything."

"Then, you spoke about the gay lobby. I believe that when you are dealing with such a person, you must distinguish between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of someone forming a lobby, because not all lobbies are good."

"This one is not good."

"If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?"

"The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this in a beautiful way, saying ... wait a moment, how does it say it ... it says: “no one should marginalize these people for this, they must be integrated into society”.

"The problem is not having this tendency, no, we must be brothers and sisters to one another, and there is this one and there is that one."

"The problem is in making a lobby of this tendency: a lobby of misers, a lobby of politicians, a lobby of masons, so many lobbies. For me, this is the greater problem."


Mark Thomas

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Mark, my biggest problem with this is that Pope Francis is pontificating on civil law and what is or isn’t a crime. Some countries, still list sodomy as a crime, some states may still do that also. Civil law tells us speeding is a crime too as well as involuntary manslaughter. He believes any civil laws that regulate homosexual acts, meaning sodomy, should not be a civil crime. That is his opinion and I agree with that, but it isn’t up to him to pontificate on civil law.

Let’s talk about the sin of an unchaste person who is not in a recognized marriage by the Catholic Church. What is the punishment for unrepentant sexual sins, be these heterosexual or homosexual. And does sodomy (and yes heterosexuals can be guilty of this too) offend God more than natural sex, be it sinful, between a man and woman?

These are religious questions on which the pope should pontificate and this pope hasn’t.

But he is right. The homosexual orientation is not a sin. But it is a result of Original sin which a person is not culpable. Any sin is a result of original sin.

We need religious answers from this pope. I don’t give a damn about his civil law pontificating. And if we are not to discriminate against homosexuals who are actively so, meaning having sex with someone, does that mean that we should also admit them to the seminary, to the priesthood. Should lay active homosexuals teach in our Catholic schools, be CCD directors, administrators, etc?

Civil law allows for all of that. Does the Church need to involve as many sexually active LGBTQ+++ lay Catholics as possible in all areas of Church ministry. The pope is quiet on this, which is his responsibility but he pontificates on things not his responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Father McDonald, as always, thank you for your reply.

Father McDonald, I thought that there is a history of holy Popes having pronounced upon laws that they had deemed unjust.


Pope Benedict XVI had deemed as unjust the death penalty. Therefore, he expected each nation to overturn the legalization of the death penalty.

"...I draw the attention of society’s leaders to the need to make every effort to eliminate the death penalty and to reform the penal system in a way that ensures respect for the prisoners’ human dignity."

Pope Benedict XVI had also injected himself into the realm of the legal system when he declared:

"It is time to put a stop to “miscarriages of justice and ill-treatment of prisoners”, and “the widespread non-enforcement of the law ... which represents a violation of human rights,” as well as imprisonment either without trial or else with much-delayed trial."


Pope Venerable Pius XII had deemed as harsh, and unjust, the United States' immigration laws.

Pope Venerable Pius XII, in a December 24, 1948 A.D. letter to the Bishops of the United States, declared:

"Therefore, when Senators from the United States, who were members of a Committee on Immigration, visited Rome a few years ago, we again urged them to try to administer as liberally as possible the overly restrictive provisions of their immigration laws."


Mark Thomas

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Mark, again you miss my point. I agree with pope Francis that sodomy should not be a civil crime, that those who engage in it consensually should not be arrested and imprisoned. The pope has a right and a duty to speak out against unjust laws, like the legalization of abortion and criminalizing those who protest it at clinics, etc.

But his area of expertise is sin, what it is, what it does and how repentance is necessary for one’s salvation. The Church clearly states that the orientation of homosexuality and temptations therein are not sins (although unchecked temptation can lead to sin as well as the near occasions of sin. I would like the pope to explain why sodomy is a sin as well as any type of unchastity. I would like to ask the pope to explain why genital mutilation in order to feign another sexual identity is a sin. I would like for Pope Francis to describe why sodomy is against natural law, as well as scripture.

Yes, I love hearing the pope say we must love the sinner, even convicted murderers as we minister to them in prison and offer Confession and the Last Rites as they are walked to their death penalty. But I would love to hear the pope say that we are to hate sin, despise it and repent of it for the sake of the salvation of our eternal soul.

I would also like for the pope to correct this notion that God forgets our forgiven sin. He does not. Justice demands that God does not. That negates the need for purgatory for forgiven sins for the need to fully satisfy the justice through penance in this life and the next.

Anonymous said...

Father McDonald, thank you, again, for the opportunity to engage you in peaceful fashion.

I understand your point.

I realize that you desire Pope Francis to "explain why sodomy is a sin."

He has pronounced against sodomy. He has referenced the CCC when he has discussed Church teaching in regard to homosexuality. Therefore, he has directed attention to the CCC should we wish to encounter a more in-depth understanding of Church teaching in regard to homosexuality.

The above has satisfied me. That has sufficed as far as I am concerned.

But Father McDonald, you feel differently about that. I understand.

Thank you.


Mark Thomas

Anonymous said...

Father McDonald said..."I would also like for the pope to correct this notion that God forgets our forgiven sin. He does not."

From Monsignor Charles Pope:

-- Does God forget our sins?

Our Sunday Visitor:

Question: "Recently I heard a priest say that when our sins are forgiven, they are forgotten. On the other hand we believe that after death comes judgment. Which is it?"

Monsignor Charles Pope: "The sins by which we will be judged after death will be unrepented sins."

"Hence when a sin is confessed and forgiveness received, it is no longer reckoned to us by God."

"Scripture says, “For I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sins no more” (Heb 8:12)."


Mark Thomas

Anonymous said...

Father McDonald, in fairness to you, I also offer the following from Monsignor Pope.

Perhaps the following is more in line with your response to the discussion as to whether "God forgets sins."

"To say God “remembers our sins no more” means that he no longer ascribes the guilt of them to us; this he has forgiven us. Forgiveness, however, does not remove all the effects of sin or all the punishments due to sin."

"But what of our particular judgment? While the guilt of past sins does not accrue to us, nevertheless, our sins and our virtues are part of our story; they have affected us and others."

"Hence, at the judgment seat, any lingering imperfections and sinful patterns will be consigned to purgation.

"Further, it is not merely sins that afflict us, it is also hurts, sorrows and regrets. We cannot take these things to heaven; for it would not be heaven. Hence these things must also be purged."

Pope Francis has taught on Purgatory.

Father McDonald, thank you.


Mark Thomas