I Am a Sinner Not a Hypocrite

Hypocrite and sinner are not synonyms. 

Leila over at the Little Catholic Bubble explains the difference :

When one of our regular commenters, Mary, mentioned that her friends on the left viewed “hypocrisy” as the worst of sins, it gave me pause.

First, I have long known that the word “hypocrite” is misused generally, and misused against religious folks in particular: “Look at those self-righteous Christians! They are no better than anyone else, they sin all the time, preaching one thing and doing another… hypocrites!!”

The word “hypocrites” in this context never made sense to me. Are we sinners who are falling all the time? Yes. But “hypocrites”? No. It just didn’t sound right.

So, in responding to Mary’s comment, I looked up the definition of “hypocrite” online, and up popped something from Wikipedia, which is worthy of sharing [all emphases mine]:

Hypocrisy is the state of pretending to have beliefs, opinions, virtues, feelings, qualities, or standards that one does not actually have. Hypocrisy involves the deception of others and is thus a kind of lie.

Hypocrisy is not simply failing to practice those virtues that one preaches. Samuel Johnson made this point when he wrote about the misuse of the charge of “hypocrisy” in Rambler No. 14: Continue reading….

Yup. All Christians sin. Some people claim to be Christian, but do not believe, therefore, they commit the sin of hypocrisy.  Christians try to be holy but fail and sin. But not all sinners are guilty of hypocrisy.

Isn’t it a tad judgmental–oh the horror–to label all orthodox Christians as hypocrites?

The Church is a hospital for sinners and not a spa for saints. 

There is always room in the pew for one more sinner even a hypocrite. I will slide over in the pew for you.

About Susan Kehoe

I am the wife of a Catholic deacon living in Des Moines Iowa. My husband Larry was ordained in 2006. We have two children and five grandchildren.. Our daughter and her family live in Ireland, and our son and his family live in Franklin Massachusetts.
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2 Responses to I Am a Sinner Not a Hypocrite

  1. Christine says:

    “The Church is a hospital for sinners and not a spa for saints.” Never heard it said that way… love it!

    Your posts are always so interesting! Thank you for taking the time to write!



  2. oka says:

    if you are a hypocrite then you are a sinner say Isaiah 33 verse 14.


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