Ask a Question - or - Return to the Faith and Spirituality Forum Index

Question Title Posted By Question Date
Does being an enabler cause you to sin John Wednesday, December 27, 2017


Br. Ignatius,

When does being an enabler become an abuse, and/or a sin on our part, or should we allow, or discontinue, this type of situation? I ask this question because for more than 20 years our daughter, now 57, who has been on SSI since abandoning her three sons and husband, for her romantic soap box love affair with her married next door neighbor, thus resulting in the birth of twin baby girls and a very horrible two year violent arrangement and final separation, thus, resulting in her only means of support, that being a Government monthly SSI Check, and, when we could, support from us, her parents.

There are many people in this same scenario who can and do work, even if only at home, perhaps even by phone, making phone calls as sale representatives. Even now, with her daughters full grown and on their own, she still makes no attempt to work.

My question still stands, when does being an enabler become sin?

Thank you and God Bless,


Question Answered by Bro. Ignatius Mary, OMSM(r), LTh, DD

Dear John:

Being an enabler, per se, is not a sin unless it is enabling a sin. The Catechism states:

1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:

- by participating directly and voluntarily in them;

- by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;

- by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;

- by protecting evil-doers.

1869 Thus sin makes men accomplices of one another and causes concupiscence, violence, and injustice to reign among them. Sins give rise to social situations and institutions that are contrary to the divine goodness. "Structures of sin" are the expression and effect of personal sins. They lead their victims to do evil in their turn. In an analogous sense, they constitute a "social sin.

If your daughter is on SSI, it means she is disabled and cannot work. If she could work the SSI would not have been approved. Her behavior, as you describe it, appear to indicate a mental illness issue. In any case, she is disabled by virtue of the government certifying her for SSI. SSI is not that easy to get.

As for telephone sales jobs, few are able to maintain that kind of work. I challenge you or any one of our readers to try it. It is not easy. One has to have a certain kind of personality to be successful doing that. Given your description of your daughter, it is highly unlikely she could do that sort of work.

I suggest that you accept the apparent fact that your daughter is disabled. It is difficult dealing with a child with emotional problems, I know, but charity and love require parents and family to understand and do their best to deal with the inevitable frustrations.

We should not enable dysfunctional behavior, even among the emotionally disabled, but we cannot blame them for their disabilities. We need to positively respond to the dysfunctions to help them, to lead them, into more productive behavior. But, this does not mean the person will ever be able to work.

We will be praying for your, your daughter, and the whole family.

God Bless,
Bro. Ignatius Mary

Footer Notes: This forum is for general questions on the faith. See specific Topic Forums below:
Spiritual Warfare, demons, the occult go to our Spiritul Warfare Q&S Forum.
Liturgy Questions go to our Liturgy and Liturgical Law Q&A Forum
Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office) Questions go to our Divine Office Q&A Forum
Defenfing the Faith Questions go to our Defending the Faith Q&A Forum
Church History Questions go to our Church History Q&A Forum