GUEST COLUMN
'Hate the Sin but Love the Sinner': Not Scriptural, Not Catholic Doctrine

June 2006By Erven Park

Erven Park, of Toledo, Washington, is a widowed father of eight children (one a monastic priest). He is the past publisher of the Catholic Truth and Catholic Intersect journals, and provided documentation to and testimony before the official Vatican Commission that investigated and ruled on the ministry of Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen of the Archdiocese of Seattle.

Contrary to much popular belief, the catchphrase "hate the sin but love the sinner" is not of biblical origin, and caution should be given to its connotations. The tendency it too often leads to today is to view the sinner as a victim of his sin, rather than the author of the sin he commits.

In truth, there are biblical teachings that contravene the above cliché, for example the following (from the Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible):


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Back to June 2006 Issue

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"Shew" does not mean "deny"; it is simply an older, variant spelling of "show". So "shew mercy" means "show mercy", not "deny mercy". The Greek is ?????? 'I will show mercy'.
Posted by: Aelfwine
July 09, 2006 06:33 PM EDT
Interesting article, but the key is the words "love" and "hate."

Love does not mean acceptance or uncritical support of the sinner, but includes praying for the sinner, fraternal correction, and even just punishment.

"Hate" on the other hand does not justify hurting him physically or morally, lest we become like him! Also, hating does not mean that we should not pray for the sinner! In fact, the sinner needs our prayers more than anyone else.

Everybody needs a chance to get forgiveness (this is the idea behind confession!) and God must love the repentant sinner. God's love turns to hate only after death when here is no more chance for repentance.

Finally, who among us it NOT a sinner? In reality, we all should be hated, even Mr Park, by his standard!

Love and hate are fine lines that have to be drawn carefully!

Let's take a child molester. Quarantining him to prevent him from committing more of his act is love, while neglecting him and allowing him to molest others is false love!
Posted by: blueskies
July 12, 2006 09:38 AM EDT
Jesus died for sinners not the righteous. He came to rescue the lost sheep, to welcome home the prodigal sinner. He ate and drank with tax collectors and prostitutes; He said He would search the highways and byways to fill His Kingdom since the chosen were rejected. Does this sound like Jesus hates sinners? Granted we should not condone / support sinning or those who wilfully sin, yet we are called to love the sinners just as Jesus did -- imitate Jesus! Posted by: tomreynolds46
July 12, 2006 03:46 PM EDT
Did I read in St Faustina's diary of how much Christ loves the worst of sinners? Of course we know unrepentant sin is a blasphemy of the Holy Spirit if we die in a state of sin. While this world is alive and we are not yet finally condemned remember Charity can and must be always practiced. As my sins are quite dreadful, love me and pray for me. If I do not repent then forget me when the second and final judgment is done just as Christ with a tremendous effort of his will will do. Posted by: mike hurcum
June 17, 2006 12:36 PM EDT
Re: wfrancis' request for illuminations on the biblical instruction: "By their fruits you shall know them." It can be observed that this advice is one fail-safe indicator that Christ has provided for us (Mat 7:16) in applying judgment to moral acts. The answer is contained in one word: "consequences." As applied to sodomy, what are its known consequences? That provides the immutable answer. Posted by: nevre7
June 14, 2006 02:53 PM EDT
Does anyone know the genesis of the homosexual movement in recent years? Where did it come from? who finances it? What is their agenda? Is their an article on this in the archives?

Thanks!
Posted by: sgraessle
June 13, 2006 10:16 PM EDT
NOR has an entire dossier of articles that answer sgraessle's questions above. See the DOSSIER link for Homosexuality & the Gay Rights movement above (at the end of Park's article). Posted by: nortemp
June 14, 2006 11:16 AM EDT
Here is an article to memorize and send to everyone you know. Most everyone I know, especially those older than me, has chastised me with 'hate the sin and love the sinner.' Usually what follows or precedes it is some other tolerant, non-judgmental hogwash they abuse in the telling as well. Posted by: mykleone
June 02, 2006 05:29 PM EDT
Good article. Very well thought out and it makes sense. I have always had a problem w/that "nice" phrase. However, I wish the next nice phrase to be put into appropriate context would be "by their fruits you shall know them." Posted by: wfrancis
June 08, 2006 07:14 AM EDT
As are so many expressions employed in the vocabularies of today’s utterances, the term “hate” has taken on an identification somewhat displaced from its rightful meanings. Hate has a duality of proper application and meaning but today’s self-proclaimed victim classes have co-opted it as the evil responsible for all their torments and disorders. Hate is one of the “eleven passions” (sensitive appetites) bestowed on all of mankind. Otherwise it is a natural endowment such as is love, joy, sadness, abhorrence, etc. Passions, although innate and in many instances spontaneous, are nonetheless subject to the will and its moderator which is a persons reason. The passion of hate is a GOOD where it is directed to the aversion or revulsion of evil; a detestation of that which is hateful; an animosity to that which attacks or corrupts the good. Hate is a SIN where it is directed against the good, and the worst of sins where it is directed against God, His Commandments and His Church. Hate is a serious sin when directed to the purposeful willing of harm or destruction of persons, or the hate of good or virtue in others. Posted by: nevre7
July 25, 2006 10:34 PM EDT
Did Jesus die for those he hates, viz. sinners? If God hates sinners, then I guess the answer is yes.
Did He do this while they [we] were still sinners?! Yes.
Well then, if loving those you hate [sinners] means loving them by dying for them [imitating Jesus], then there is some room for us to love the sinner even while hating the sinner.
Perhaps the answer to this paradox is that the mercy of God can even overcomes His ever-present justice ... where there is a sinful heart willing to repent and receive His ever-present mercy.
Thanks be to God for the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ!!!
Posted by: tomreynolds46
July 31, 2006 09:16 AM EDT
I cannot help but agree with the author that the catchphrase of "hating the sin but loving the sinner" is so much insipid drivel. Using the phrase is a way for Catholics to save face and avoid being called mean spirited. As I tell adolescents in the high school where I work, "If you keep behaving in a dysfunctional manner, your behaviors will become the real YOU! They always smile as if they just attended a NCCB meeting. Posted by: gwolak
August 15, 2006 12:38 PM EDT
But I can't help thinking about when I was far from Christ, I was gently corrected. If I had been sternly corrected it might have hardened my heart or caused me to take longer to come back. I think correction has to be done really carefully--and only by someone you know really well. I just see too much temptation to self-righteousness, knowing human nature (including mine). Just a caveat.
Posted by: Donna
October 17, 2012 01:43 PM EDT
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