We read in 1 Cor 10: 27-29 how St. Paul takes a liberal view on the culinary habits of the faithful :

If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, out of consideration for the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience— I mean the other’s conscience, not your own.

But St. Paul goes on to state in Verse 29 and 30:

For why should my liberty be subject to the judgment of someone else’s conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why should I be denounced because of that for which I give thanks?

What St. Paul advises the faithful in Verses 27 -29 (first half), is that one should not create scandal for a man of simple faith, by eating the food offered to pagan gods . But in Verses 29 (second half) and 30, he appears to be saying that one should develop one's own conscience which is not guided by that of another person.

My question therefore is: According to Catholic Church, is there an apparent contradiction between the intent of St. Paul in 1 Cor 10: 27-29 vis-a-vis that in verses 29-30? How does the Catholic Church explain the contradiction?

  • The point is that it is out of consideration, not out of obligation, that someone does this.
    – user46876
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 15:23

1 Answer 1


It may help you answer your question to read the pericope in its entirety (1 Cor 10:23-33), and the footnotes appended by NET Bible to it.

Paul is laboriously (even clumsily) saying that people shouldn't have "questions of conscience" and shouldn't inquire of their own accord whether the meat that is put on the table is from animals sacrificed to pagan "gods". But if one of the people eating at that table says, “This is from a sacrifice”, then, even if one knows that "an idol is nothing" (1 Cor 8:4), he should abstain, so as not to put in difficulty people with a weak conscience (1 Cor 8:7-13; 9:22).

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