“Ask a Priest: Is Selling ‘Pride’ Clothes Sinful?”

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Q: What level of cooperation in sin results in an action being a sin, in particular with respect to Pride month in the workplace? I work at a clothing store where there is a “Pride collection” sold and was asked by a customer where the rest of the merchandise could be found. It happened to be next to me and I indicated to him it was there. To what extent was this sinful, and what are some rules of thumb to follow going forward dealing with “Pride” as a Catholic in the working world? – C.D.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: Your question touches on one of the big issues of life for Catholics living in an increasingly secular culture. A complete answer could fill a book.

Suffice it to say that selling clothes generally is considered good or morally neutral. (Let’s leave aside the issue of immodest clothes.)

It’s possible that someone who wants “Pride” clothes is intending to signal solidarity with people who struggle with particular problems. This solidarity can reflect a range of views, from a show of respect for the dignity of all people, to outright endorsement of homosexual behavior.

Obviously, it’s probably hard to discern what a person has in mind. The customer might just like the colors without giving a thought to the meaning behind them. The onus isn’t on you to try to discern the customer’s motivation.

That said, it might be good to step back and ask yourself some questions.

Is working for this company going to cause you to compromise your faith?

Would your working for this company scandalize others? That is, would they perceive you to be pro-Pride?

While we can’t totally avoid material cooperation in evil, we can look for ways to distance ourselves from it.

If we work for companies that don’t promote bad values, that will afford us a certain leverage to push back against the world. It’s easier to publicly stand up for pro-family, pro-marriage values when our paycheck isn’t coming from a pro-Pride company.

(For related reading see this National Catholic Bioethics Center post.)

Perhaps some of this is worth taking to prayer.


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