Therefore, it is clearly a mortal sin and against God’s law to knowingly post and lead others to lascivious images; and this is true even if these images are posted for a so-called “religious motive” or for exposing “corruption”. For who in his right mind would knowingly put himself or others into possible mortal sin (or even venial sin) of impurity and adultery against their own soul and the all good God for any reason?
The Council of Trent, On Immodest Images: “Moreover, in the… use of images… all lasciviousness be avoided; in such wise that figures shall not be painted or adorned with a beauty exciting to lust...” (Session XXV, December 3rd and 4th, 1563)
St. Alphonsus, On the Sin of Scandal: “When speaking of the sixth commandment [against sexual immorality], we should avoid scandalizing the innocent by awakening their curiosity [such as by exposing them to lascivious or immoral images]… it is sufficient, on this point, to condemn in general what offends chastity, without explaining the species or the circumstances [or by posting the immoral image itself]...” (The complete ascetical works of St. Alphonsus, vol 15, p. 176)
A person who obstinately posts such images, links to them or search for them definitely commits a mortal sin, not only for putting himself in totally unnecessary temptations and for beholding what is not lawful for him to behold, but also for tempting his neighbor and for exposing him to behold what is not lawful for him to behold. “‘It is not lawful,’ says [Pope] St. Gregory, ‘to behold what it is not lawful to covet.’ The evil thought which proceeds from looks, though it should be rejected, never fails to leave a stain upon the soul.” (St. Alphonsus Liguori, The True Spouse of Jesus Christ, Mortification of the Eyes, p. 221)
St. Alphonsus: “With regard to removing evil. 1. A father must prevent his children from associating with bad company, or with ill-conducted servants, or with a master who does not give a good example. 2. He must remove from his house any male or female servant that may be a source of temptation to his daughters or sons. Virtuous parents do not admit into their house young female servants when their sons are grown up. 3. He should banish from his house all books that treat on obscene subjects, or on profane love, romances, and all similar works; such books are the ruin of innocent young persons. Videumaun tells us of a young man who was an example to all his fellow-citizens. He accidentally read an obscene book, and fell into such horrid crimes that he became the scandal of the entire people. His conduct was so scandalous that the magistrates were obliged to banish him from the city. Another young man, who had failed in his efforts to seduce a woman, put a book in her way that treated on love, and thus he made her lose her honor and her soul. A parent is still more strictly bound to remove the class of books that has now become so common, which, besides the other poison, contains also errors against faith or against the Church. 4. He is bound to remove from his house immodest pictures, particularly if they are obscene. Father Rho tells us that Cardinal Bellarmine went into a private gentleman’s house, where he happened to see some immodest pictures; so he said to him: "My friend, I am come to entreat you for God’s sake to do a work of charity in clothing the naked." The gentleman promised to do so; so the Cardinal pointed to the picture, saying: "There are the naked people I mean." Oh, how delighted is the devil when he sees in any house an immodest picture! It is related in the life of Father John Baptist Vitelli that a troop of devils was once seen in the hall of a certain nobleman offering incense to an immodest picture that hung there, in return for the souls which they gained by it. 5. A parent should forbid his children to frequent masquerades or public dancing-houses, or to act a part in comedies. He should not allow his daughters to be taught by any strange man. Oh, how dangerous is it for young women to receive instructions from men! Instead of learning to read, they learn to commit mortal sins. A parent should get his daughters instructed by a woman, or by a little brother; I say little, for even in a brother, when he is grown up, there is some danger. Parents must be very particular never to allow their sons and daughters to sleep in the same bed [or in the same room], and much less in the same bed with their father and mother. They should also take care not to permit their daughters to converse alone and familiarly with any man, though he be the first saint in the world. The saints in heaven only are incapable of falling; but the saints on earth are flesh like others, and if they do not avoid the occasions of sin, may become devils. Hence, a father will do well to recommend the most virtuous and steady of his daughters to let him know secretly whenever she sees any of her sisters keep up such familiarity, or when she sees any other disorder in the family. ” (The complete ascetical works of St. Alphonsus, vol 15, pp. 451-453)
While many people would never post the more outrageous images or videos on their own website or forum posts themselves, they nevertheless would have no scruple about linking to those images or videos if they are contained on other peoples websites (such as news websites or youtube), just as if they thought that they will be without guilt in leading people to behold those images or videos because someone else has posted them. Well, they will not!
Many of them would also have no problem or scruple about posting “less” immodest forms of pictures or videos of both women and men immodestly dressed after the world’s fashion on their own website or forum posts, or even link to such articles where such images or videos are contained. This is not acceptable behavior.
Pope Leo XIII, Exeunte iam anno (# 10), Dec. 25, 1888: “Now the whole essence of a Christian life is to reject the corruption of the world and to oppose constantly any indulgence in it…”
In truth, if anyone obstinately posts any kind of immodesty at their website or forum posts or links to them – such as by posting or linking to pictures or videos that shows the so-called modern day women’s fashion that reveals the womanly figure by the wearing of pants and tight clothing in a revealing, sensual or immodest way – this would not only be immodest and immoral, but also completely evil and a mortal sin since such clothing has the direct and potential cause to incite a man’s lust and hence cause him, and all the visitors or viewers of that page, to commit the mortal sin of lust and adultery in their hearts (Matthew 5:28).
This means that it is absolutely forbidden to post links to many news website/articles by default since they contain totally immoral and immodest pictures all over the place. Yet many evil people—and not infrequently so—even traditional so-called “Catholics”, on various forums and websites links to such websites containing such immodesty all the time, even though they are perfectly aware of that they contain such immodesty, to the destruction of their own soul (since they must not put themselves in temptations or enter such websites with images on, if they have images on) and the souls of others (whom gets scandalized and led into sin by their example) and the offense of God (whom they grieve by their bad life and example)—whom they claim to worship.
St. Alphonsus: “4. But let us return to the necessity of avoiding the occasions of sin. It is necessary, also, to abstain from looking at immodest pictures. St. Charles Borromeo forbids all fathers of families to keep such pictures in their houses. It is necessary, also, to abstain from reading bad books, and not only from those that are positively obscene, but also from those that treat of profane love, such as Ariosto’s poems, the "Pastor Fido," and all such works. Fathers should not allow their children to read romances. These sometimes do more harm than even obscene books; they put fantastical notions and affections into young persons heads, which destroy all devotion, and afterwards impel them to give themselves up to sin. "Vain reading," says St. Bonaventure, "begets vain thoughts and extinguishes devotion." Make your children read spiritual books, ecclesiastical histories, and the lives of the saints. And here I repeat: Do not allow your daughters to be taught their lessons by a man, though he be a St. Paul or a St. Francis of Assisi. The saints are in heaven.
“5. Be careful, also, not to permit your sons to act plays, nor even to be present at an immodest comedy. St. Cyprian says: "Who went chaste to the play, returned unchaste." A young man or woman goes to the play full of modesty and in the grace of God, and returns home without modesty and at enmity with God. Do not allow your children to go to those feasts of the devil where there is dancing, courting, immodest singing, and sinful amusements. "Where there is dancing," says St. Ephrem, "there a feast of the devil is celebrated." But you will say: "What harm is there in a little relaxation and amusement?" St. Peter Chrysologus says: "They are not amusements, but grievous offences against God." A certain companion of the servant of God, Father John Baptist Vitelli, wished, against the will of the father, to go to a festivity of this kind which was celebrated at Norcia; the consequence was, first, he lost the grace of God, then he abandoned himself to a wicked life, and in the end was killed by the hand of his own brother.
“6. Finally, some one may ask whether it is a mortal sin to make love [he is referring to courtship]. What can I say? Ordinarily speaking, I say that persons who give themselves up to lovemaking [or courtship] are scarcely free from the proximate occasion of sinning mortally. Experience shows that few of them are exempt from grievous sins. If they do not commit mortal sin in the beginning of their courtship, they will in the course of time very easily fall into it: for at first they speak together through a predilection for each other’s conversation; this predilection afterwards grows into a passion; when the passion has taken root, it blinds the mind, and precipitates the soul into a thousand sins of bad thoughts, of immodest words, and, in the end of sinful acts. Cardinal Pico de la Mirandola, bishop of Albano, forbade the confessors of his diocese to absolve those lovers who, after being duly admonished, continued to hold long conversations together, particularly if they should be alone, or if the conversations should be of great length, or clandestine, or by night. "But, Father," some of them will say, "I have no bad intention. I have not even bad thoughts." Young men and young girls, avoid these amatory conversations with persons of a different sex. In the beginning the devil does not suggest bad thoughts, but when the affection has taken root it will not allow you to see the evil you do; and almost without knowing how, you will find that you have lost your soul, your God, and your honor. Oh! how many innocent young persons does the devil gain in this way!” (The complete ascetical works of St. Alphonsus, vol 15, pp. 480-482)
Also, since immodest website or forum posts frequently appears on the internet and search engines and any one at any site can link to these articles, pictures or videos that a website owner or forum user were responsible for uploading: this means that many people unknowingly can be exposed to these pictures or articles without knowing their graphic content. And that is another reason why it is forbidden to post immodest images or videos for any reason.
Rev. F.X. Schouppe, S.J., The Dogma of Purgatory, Chapter XXXI: “A painter of great skill and otherwise exemplary life had once made a painting not at all comformable to the strict rules of Christian modesty. It was one of those paintings which, under the pretext of being works of art, are found in the best families, and the sight of which causes the loss of so many souls. True art is an inspiration from Heaven, which elevates the soul to God; profane art, which appeals to the senses only, which presents to the eye nothing but the beauties of flesh and blood, is but an inspiration of the evil spirit; his works, brilliant though they may be, are not works of art, and the name is falsely attributed to them. They are the infamous productions of a corrupt imagination. The artist of whom we speak had allowed himself to be misled in this point by bad example. Soon, however, renouncing this pernicious style, he confined himself to the production of religious pictures, or at least of those which were perfectly irreproachable. Finally, he was painting a large picture in the convent of the discalced Carmelites, when he was attacked by a mortal malady, Feeling that he was about to die, he asked the Prior to allow him to be interred in the church of the monastery, and bequeathed to the community his earnings, which amounted to a considerable sum of money, charging them to have Masses said for the repose of his soul. He died in pious sentiments, and a few days passed, when a Religious who had stayed in the choir after Matins saw him appear in the midst of flames and sighing piteously. "What!" said the Religious, "have you to endure such pain, after leading so good a life and dying so holy a death?" "Alas!" replied he, "it is on account of the immodest picture that I painted some years ago. When I appeared before the tribunal of the Sovereign Judge, a crowd of accusers came to give evidence against me. They declared that they had been excited to improper thoughts and evil desires by a picture, the work of my hand. In consequence of those bad thoughts some were in Purgatory, others in Hell. The latter cried for vengeance, saying that, having been the cause of their eternal perdition, I deserved, at least, the same punishment. Then the Blessed Virgin and the saints whom I had glorified by my pictures took up my defence. They represented to the Judge that that unfortunate painting had been the work of youth, and of which I had repented; that I had repaired it afterwards by religious objects which had been a source of edification to souls." In consideration of these and other reasons, the Sovereign Judge declared that, on account of my repentance and my good works, I should be exempt from damnation; but at the same time, He condemned me to these flames until that picture should be burned, so that it could no longer scandalise any one." Then the poor sufferer implored the Religious to take measures to have the painting destroyed. "I beg of you," he added, "go in my name to such a person, proprietor of the picture; tell him in what a condition I am for having yielded to his entreaties to paint it, and conjure him to make a sacrifice of it. If he refuses, woe to him! To prove that this is not an illusion, and to punish him for his own fault, tell him that before long he will lose his two children. Should he refuse to obey Him who has created us both, he will pay for it by a premature death." The Religious delayed not to do what the poor soul asked of him, and went to the owner of the picture. The latter, on hearing these things, seized the painting and cast it into the fire. Nevertheless, according to the words of the deceased, he lost his two children in less than a month. The remainder of his days he passed in penance, for having ordered and kept that immodest picture in his house. If such are the consequences of an immodest picture, what, then, will be the punishment of the still more disastrous scandals resulting from bad books, bad papers, bad schools, and bad conversations?”
This shows us, once again, that if we allow a single picture, video, article, book or song to tempt either ourselves or others, we will be damned not only on account of the sins in others we are responsible for, but also on account of our own sins – unless we repent. Concerning the great evil of giving to others a cause of “scandal”, St. Alphonsus Liguori preached the following terrifying words in a sermon to his congregation:
St. Alphonsus Liguori, On the Sin of Scandal: “"The wolf catches and scatters the sheep." (John 10.12) The wolves that catch and scatter the sheep of Jesus Christ are the authors of scandal, who, not content with their own destruction, labor to destroy others. But the Lord says: "Woe to that man by whom the scandal comes." (Matt. 18.7) Woe to him who gives scandal, and causes others to lose the grace of God. Origen says that "a person who impels another to sin, sins more grievously than the other." If, brethren, there be any among you who has given scandal, I will endeavor this day to convince him of the evil he has done, that he may bewail it and guard against it for the future. I will show, in the first point, the great displeasure which the sin of scandal gives to God; and, in the second, the great punishment which God threatens to inflict on the authors of scandal.
“FirstPoint. On the great displeasure which the sin of scandal gives to God.
“1. It is, in the first place, necessary to explain what is meant by scandal. Behold how St. Thomas defines it: "Scandal is a word or act which gives occasion to the ruin of one’s neighbor." (S. Theol. 2-2, q. 45, art. 1) Scandal, then, is a word or act by which you are to your neighbor the cause or occasion of losing his soul [such as by posting or linking to soul slaying material that will induce others to sin]. It may be direct or indirect. It is direct when you directly tempt or induce another to commit sin. It is indirect when, although you foresee that sinful words or actions will be the cause of sin to another, you do not abstain from them. But scandal, whether it be direct or indirect, if it be in a matter of great importance, is always a mortal sin.
“2. Let us now see the great displeasure which the destruction of a neighbor’s soul gives to God. To understand it, we must consider how dear every soul is to God. He has created the souls of all men in his own image. "Let us make man in our image and likeness." (Gen. 1.26) Other creatures God has made by a fiat -- by an act of his will; but the soul of man he has created by his own breath. "And the Lord breathed into his face the breath of life." (Gen. 2.7) The soul of your neighbor God has loved for eternity. "I have loved you with an everlasting love." (Jer. 31.3) He has, moreover, created every soul to be crowned in Paradise, and to be a partner in his glory. "That by these you may be made partakers of the divine nature." (2 Peter 2.4) In heaven he will make the souls of the saints partakers of his own joy. "Enter into the joy of your Lord." (Matt. 25.21) To them he shall give himself as their reward. "I am your reward exceedingly great." (Gen. 15.1)
“3. But nothing can show the value which God sets on the souls of men more clearly than what the Incarnate Word has done for their redemption from sin and hell. "If," says St. Eucharius, "you do not believe your Creator, ask your Redeemer, how precious you are." Speaking of the care which we ought to have of our brethren, St. Ambrose says: "The great value of the salvation of a brother is known from the death of Christ." We judge of the value of everything by the price paid for it by an intelligent purchaser. Now, Jesus Christ has, according to the Apostle, purchased the souls of men with his own blood. "You are bought with a great price." (1 Cor. 6.20). . . Hence, the Savior tells us that whatever good or evil we do to the least of his brethren, we do to himself. "So long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me." (Matt. 25.40)
“4. From all this we may infer how great is the displeasure given to God by scandalizing a brother, and destroying his soul. It is enough to say that they who give scandal rob God of a child, and murder a soul, for whose salvation he has spent his blood and his life. Hence, St. Leo calls the authors of scandals murderers. "Quisquis scandalizat, mortem infert animae proximi." They are the most impious of murderers; because they kill not the body, but the soul of a brother, and rob Jesus Christ of all his tears, of his sorrows, and of all that he has done and suffered to gain that soul. Hence the Apostle says: "Now, when you sin thus against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ." (1 Cor. 8.12) They who scandalize a brother, sin against Christ; because, as St. Ambrose says, they deprive him of a soul for which he has spent so many years, and submitted to so many toils and labors. It is related that St. Albert the Great spent thirty years in making a head, which resembled the human head, and uttered words: and that St. Thomas, fearing that it was done by the agency of the devil, took the head and broke it. St. Albert complained of the act of St. Thomas, saying: "You have broken of mine the work of thirty years." I do not assert that this is true; but it is certain that, when Jesus Christ sees a soul destroyed by scandal, he can reprove the author of it, and say to him: Wicked wretch, what have you done? You have deprived me of this soul, for which I have labored thirty-three years.
“5. We read in the Scriptures that the sons of Jacob, after having sold their brother Joseph to certain merchants, told his father that wild beasts had devoured him. "Fera pessima devoravit eum." (Gen. 37.20) To convince their father of the truth of what they said, they dipped the coat of Joseph in the blood of a goat, and presented it to him, saying: "See whether this be your son’s coat or not" (v. 32). In reply, the afflicted father said with tears: "It is my son’s coat: an evil wild beast has eaten him" (v. 33). Thus, we may imagine that, when a soul is brought into sin by scandal, the devils present to God the garment of that soul dipped in the blood of the Immaculate Lamb, Jesus Christ -- that is, the grace lost by that scandalized soul, which Jesus Christ had purchased with his blood and that they say to the Lord: "See whether this be your son’s coat or not." If God were capable of shedding tears, he would weep more bitterly than Jacob did, at the sight of that lost soul -- his murdered child -- and would say: "It is my son’s coat: an evil wild beast has eaten him." The Lord will go in search of this wild beast, saying: "Where is the beast? where is the beast that has devoured my child?" When he finds the wild beast, what shall he do with him?
“6. "I will," says the Lord by his prophet Hosea, "meet them as a bear that is robbed of her whelps." (Hosea 13.8) When the bear comes to her den, and finds not her whelps, she goes about the wood in search of the person who took them away. When she discovers the person, oh! with what fury does she rush upon him! It is thus the Lord shall rush upon the authors of scandal, who have robbed him of his children. Those who have given scandal will say: My neighbor is already damned; how can I repair the evil that has been done? The Lord shall answer: Since you have been the cause of his perdition, you must pay me for the loss of his soul. "I will require his blood at your hands." (Ezek. 3.20) It is written in Deuteronomy, "You shall not pity him, but shall require life for life" (19.21). You have destroyed a soul; you must suffer the loss of your own. Let us pass to the second point.
“SecondPoint. The great punishment which God threatens to those who give scandal.
“7. "Woe to that man by whom the scandal comes." (Matt. 18.7) If the displeasure given to God by scandal be great, the chastisement which awaits the authors of it must be frightful. Behold how Jesus Christ speaks of this chastisement: "But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea." (Matt. 18.6) If a malefactor dies on the scaffold, he excites the compassion of the spectators, who at least pray for him, if they cannot deliver him from death. But, were he cast into the depths of the sea, there would be no one present to pity his fate. A certain author says that Jesus Christ threatens the person who scandalizes a brother with this sort of punishment, to signify that he is so hateful to the angels and saints, that they do not wish to recommend to God the man who has brought a soul to perdition. "He is declared unworthy not only to be assisted, but even to be seen." (Mansi. ch. 3, no. 4)
“8. St. John Chrysostom says that scandal is so abominable in the eyes of God, that though he overlooks very grievous sins, he cannot allow the sin of scandal to pass without adequate punishment. "Tam Deo horribile est scandalum, ut peccata graviora dissimulet non autem peccata ubi frater scandalizatur." God himself says the same by the prophet Ezekiel: "Every man of the house of Israel, if he... set up the stumbling block of his iniquity... I will make him an example and a proverb, and will cut him off from the midst of my people." (Ezek. 14.7, 8) And, in reality, scandal is one of the sins which we find in the sacred Scriptures punished by God with the greatest rigor. Of Eli, because he did not correct his sons, who gave scandal by stealing the flesh offered in sacrifice (for parents give scandal, not only by giving bad example, but also by not correcting their children as they ought), the Lord said: "Behold, I do a thing in Israel: and whosoever shall hear it, both his ears shall tingle." (1 Sam. 3.11) And speaking of the scandal given by the sons of Eli, the inspired writer says: "Wherefore the sin of the young men was exceedingly great before the Lord." (Ibid. 2.17) What was this exceedingly great sin? It was, says St. Gregory, in explaining this passage, drawing others to sin. "Quia ad pecandum alios pertrahebant." Why was Jeroboam chastised? Because he scandalized the people: he "has sinned, and made Israel sin." (1 Kings 14.16) In the family of Ahab, all the members of which were the enemies of God, Jezebel was the most severely chastised. She was thrown down from a window, and devoured by dogs, so that nothing remained but her "skull, and the feet, and the extremities of her hands." And why was she so severely punished? Because "she set Ahab on to every evil."
“9. For the sin of scandal hell was created. "In the beginning God created heaven and earth." (Gen. 1.1) But, when did he create hell? It was when Lucifer began to seduce the angels into rebellion against God. Lest he should continue to pervert those who remained faithful to God, he was banished from heaven immediately after his sin. Hence Jesus Christ said to the Pharisees, who by their bad example scandalized the people, that they were children of the devil, who was from the beginning a murderer of souls. "You are of your father, the devil: he was a murderer from the beginning." (John 8.44) And when St. Peter gave scandal to Jesus Christ, by suggesting to him not to allow his life to be taken away by the Jews, and thus endeavoring to prevent the accomplishment of redemption, the Redeemer called him a devil. "Go behind me, Satan; you are a scandal to me." (Matt. 16.23) And, in reality, what other office do the authors of scandal perform, than that of a minister of the devil? If he were not assisted by such impious ministers, he certainly would not succeed in gaining so many souls. A scandalous companion does more injury than a hundred devils.
“10. On the words of Hezekiah, "Behold, in peace is my bitterness most bitter" (Isa. 38.17), St. Bernard, in the name of the Church, says: "Peace from pagans, peace from heretics, but no peace from children." At present the Church is not persecuted by idolaters, or by heretics, but she is persecuted by scandalous Christians, who are her own children. In catching birds, we employ decoys, that is, certain birds that are blinded, and tied in such manner that they cannot fly away. It is thus the devil acts. "When," says St. Ephrem, "a soul has been taken, it becomes a snare to deceive others." After having made a young man fall into sin, the enemy first blinds him as his own slave, and then makes him his decoy to deceive others; and to draw them into the net of sin, he not only impels, but even forces him to deceive others. "The enemy," says St. Leo, "has many whom he compels to deceive others." (Serm. de Nativ.)
“11. Miserable wretches! the authors of scandal must suffer in hell the punishment of all the sins they have made others commit. Cesarius relates (Bk. 2, ch. 6) that, after the death of a certain person who had given scandal, a holy man witnessed his judgment and condemnation, and saw that, at his arrival at the gate of hell, all the souls whom he had scandalized came to meet him, and said to him: Come, accursed wretch, and atone for all the sins which you have made us commit [by your deeds and actions, such as by immodest forum posts, images and links that contains such images etc]. They then rushed in upon him, and like so many wild beasts, began to tear him in pieces. St. Bernard says that, in speaking of other sinners, the Scriptures hold out hopes of amendment and pardon; but they speak of those who give scandal as persons separated from God, of whose salvation there is very little hope. "Loquitur tanquam a Deo separati, unde hisce nulla spes vitae esse poterit."
“12. Behold, then, the miserable state of those who give scandal by their bad example, who utter immodest words before their companions [or post immodest images or videos, or promotes them, or links to them], in the presence of young females, and even of innocent children, who, in consequence of hearing those words [or seeing those images in the news article or video clip], commit a thousand sins. Considering how the angel-guardians of those little ones weep at seeing them in the state of sin, and how they call for vengeance from God against the sacrilegious tongues [and actions] that have scandalized them. A great chastisement awaits all who ridicule those who practice virtue. For many, through fear of the contempt and ridicule of others, abandon virtue, and give themselves up to a wicked life. What shall be the punishment of those who send messages to induce others to sin? or of those who boast of their own wicked actions? God! instead of weeping and repenting for having offended the Lord, they rejoice and glory in their iniquities! Some advise others to commit sin; others induce them to it; and some, worse than the devils, teach others how to sin. What shall we say of fathers and mothers, who, though it is in their power to prevent the sins of their children, allow them to associate with bad companions, or to frequent certain dangerous houses [or internet sites, or allow them watching the television or listening to secular sinful music], and permit their daughters to hold conversations with young men? Oh! with what scourges shall we see such persons chastised on the day of judgment!
“13. Perhaps some father of a family among you will say: Then, I am lost because I have given scandal? Is there no hope of salvation for me? No: I will not say that you are past hope -- the mercy of God is great. He has promised pardon to all who repent. But, if you wish to save your soul, you must repair the scandal you have given. "Let him," says Eusebius Emmissenus, "who has destroyed himself by the destruction of many, redeem himself by the edification of many." (Hom. 10 ad Mon.) You have lost your soul, and have destroyed the souls of many by your scandals. You are now bound to repair the evil. As you have until now drawn others to sin, so you are bound to draw them to virtue by words of edification, by good example, by avoiding sinful occasions, by frequenting the sacraments, by going often to the church to pray, and by attending sermons. And from this day forward avoid, as you would death, every act and word which could scandalize others. "Let their own ruin," says St. Cyprian, "suffice for those who have fallen." (Bk. 1, L. 3) And St. Thomas of Villanova says: "Let your own sins be sufficient for you." What evil has Jesus Christ done to you that it is not enough for you to have offended him yourselves, but you wish to make others offend him? This is an excess of cruelty.
“14. Be careful, then, never again to give the smallest scandal. And if you wish to save your soul, avoid as much as possible those who give scandal. These incarnate devils shall be damned; but, if you do not avoid them, you will bring yourself to perdition. "Woe to the world because of scandals," says the Lord (Matt. 18.7), that is, many are lost because they do not fly from occasions of scandal. But you may say: Such a person is my friend; I am under obligations to him; I expect many favors from him. But Jesus Christ says: "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you, having one eye, to enter into life, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire." (Matt. 18.9) Although a certain person was your right eye, you must withdraw for ever from her; it is better for you to lose an eye and save your soul, than to preserve it and be cast into hell.” (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Sermons (nn. 2-4) taken from Ascetical Works, Volume XVI: Sermons for all Sundays in the Year (1882) pp. 152-173)
Question: Is it a sin to willfully look at persons or things that one are sexually attracted to and that arouse one’s sexual desire? Is it permitted to seek directly the proximate occasion for sinning for a spiritual or temporal good of our own or of a neighbor?