Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  551 / 904 Next Page
Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 551 / 904 Next Page
Page Background

Life in Christ

551

II.

R

espect

for

the

D

ignity of

P

ersons

Respect for the souls of others: scandal

2284

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.

2285

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.”

86

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.

87

2286

Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fash­

ion 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 im­

possible.”

88

This is also true of business leaders who make rules encourag­

ing fraud, teachers who provoke their children to anger,

89

or manipulators

of public opinion who turn it away from moral values.

2287

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 encour­

aged. “Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by

whom they come!”

90

Respect for health

2288

Life and physical health are precious gifts entrusted to us

by God. We must take reasonable care of them, taking into account

the needs of others and the common good.

86

Mt

18:6; cf.

1 Cor

8:10-13.

87 Cf.

Mt

7:15.

88 Pius XII,

Discourse,

June 1, 1941.

89 Cf.

Eph

6:4;

Col

3:21.

90

Lk

17:1.

2847

1903

1887

2498

1503