According to Catholicism, what does the Bible teach about sins of omission?

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    Jesus's reasons for condemning some people to hell, as recorded in Matthew 25:41-45, are sins of omission. Mar 25, 2020 at 18:00

2 Answers 2


According to Summa Theologiae, II-II, q. 72, a. 6 by St. Thomas Aquinas:

On the contrary, Omission and commission are found in the same species of sin. For the covetous man both takes what belongs to others, which is a sin of commission; and gives not of his own to whom he should give, which is a sin of omission. Therefore omission and commission do not differ specifically.

Read full 'Whether sins of commission and omission differ specifically?' article here: STh, II-II, q. 72 on newadvent.org

Accordint to Catechism of the Catholic Church, §1853:

Sins can be distinguished according to their objects, as can every human act; or according to the virtues they oppose, by excess or defect; or according to the commandments they violate. They can also be classed according to whether they concern God, neighbor, or oneself; they can be divided into spiritual and carnal sins, or again as sins in thought, word, deed, or omission. the root of sin is in the heart of man, in his free will, according to the teaching of the Lord: "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man." (Mt 15, 19-20) But in the heart also resides charity, the source of the good and pure works, which sin wounds.

CCC, The Different Kinds of Sins on vatican.va (This is the only paragraph indexed under 'omission' in CCC)

Certainly, there is more on this topic in other documents of the Catholic Church and writings of Church Fathers and Doctors.


According to Catholicism, what does the Bible teach about sins of omission?

St. James speaks of it:

17 To him therefore who knoweth to do good, and doth it not, to him it is sin. - James 4:17

Deuteronomy say the following:

1“You shall not see your brother's ox or his sheep going astray and ignore them. You shall take them back to your brother. 2 And if he does not live near you and you do not know who he is, you shall bring it home to your house, and it shall stay with you until your brother seeks it. Then you shall restore it to him. 3 And you shall do the same with his donkey or with his garment, or with any lost thing of your brother's, which he loses and you find; you may not ignore it. 4 tYou shall not see your brother's donkey or his ox fallen down by the way and ignore them. You shall help him to lift them up again. - Deuteronomy 22:1-4

Proverbs adds this phrase about this subject:

27Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. - Proverbs3:27

13Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered. - Proverbs 21:13

And finally, St. John has something to say about the sin omission as follows:

16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and ewe ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1John3:16-18

Lie can also be considered as a sin of omission.

In Catholic teaching, an omission is a failure to do something one can and ought to do. If an omission happens deliberately and freely, it is considered a sin.

In Catholicism the eighth commandment is "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour." This includes lies of omission which are also known as exclusionary detailing or continuing a misrepresentation. In common parlance a lie of omission may colloquially be referred to as "playing dumb." - Sin of omission

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