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Mortal Sins In The Catholic Church

All Sin Has Been Paid For

What is a Mortal Sin?

R.C. Sproul puts it this way: when I sin, I choose my will over the will of God Almighty. By implication, I’m essentially saying that I’m more intelligent, wise, righteous, and powerful than God Himself. In other words, there is a necessary price for all sin according to a just God.

He cannot look at sin, so it had to be paid for at the cross or all people would be condemned to death. Instead, every person who declares Christ as Savior experiences his grace and forgiveness.

This does not let the believer off the hooksin is still treason, and the believer should know better. Instead of condemning us to death, however, Sproul explains that God allows us to live We have to repent, yes, but the justifying grace that the Holy Spirit brings to us is not killed by our sin.

Gods tenderness and patience should inspire the Christian to likewise show patience and tolerance towards the struggling failures of other Christians, which is not laxity but a reflection of the Lords own grace.

Discipline is loving, especially when handled in such a way, which mercifully and truthfully leads someone to repent and experience Gods peace.

What Is A Mortal Sin

In a nutshell, a mortal sin is an act of serious offense that cuts us off from Gods sanctifying grace. Mortal sins, in short, are the gravest of sins and represent a deliberate turning away from God and His commandments.

You see, all of us are born with the original sin. In baptism, we receive Gods sanctifying grace. This not only washes away the original sin but also makes us part of the body of Christ. This grace enables us to live with God and receive his other graces.

But when we commit a mortal sin, it deprives us of Gods sanctifying grace. Meaning, we cease to become part of the body of Christ. Remember that Jesus Christ died for our sins. Thats why committing a grave sin is like taking his sacrifice for granted. It also causes us to lose charity in our hearts and robs us of an eternal life with Christ .

What Are The 3 Conditions Of Mortal Sin

Three conditions are necessary for mortal sin to exist:

  • Grave Matter: The act itself is intrinsically evil and immoral.
  • Full Knowledge: The person must know that what theyre doing or planning to do is evil and immoral.
  • Deliberate Consent: The person must freely choose to commit the act or plan to do it.

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Systems Which Deny Sin Or Distort Its True Notion

All systems, religious and ethical, which either deny, on the one hand, the existence of a personal creator and lawgiver distinct from and superior to his creation, or, on the other, the existence of free will and responsibility in man, distort or destroy the truebiblicotheological notion of sin. In the beginning of the Christian era the Gnostics, although their doctrines varied in details, denied the existence of a personal creator. The idea of sin in the Catholic sense is not contained in their system. There is no sin for them, unless it be the sin of ignorance, no necessity for an atonement Jesus is not God . Manichaeism with its two eternal principles, good and evil, at perpetual war with each other, is also destructive of the true notion of sin. All evil, and consequently sin, is from the principle of evil. The Christian concept of God as a lawgiver is destroyed. Sin is not a consciousvoluntaryact of disobedience to the Divine will. Pantheistic systems which deny the distinction between God and His creation make sin impossible. If man and God are one, man is not responsible to anyone for his acts, morality is destroyed. If he is his own rule of action, he cannot deviate from right as St. Thomas teaches . The identification of God and the world by Pantheism leaves no place for sin.

Three Conditions For Mortal Sin

Examples Of Mortal Sins

There are three conditions that make an act a mortal sin:

  • An act of grave matter that is…
  • Committed with full knowledge and…
  • Deliberate consent.
  • All three conditions must be met for it to be a mortal sin. If one condition is seriously lacking, it’s not mortal it’s considered a venial sin.

    Of course, such actions are still wrong!

    A lack of knowledge or freedom only reduces our culpability . We’ve still committed an act that is objectively evil. Such an act cannot help us to grow in grace, virtue or charity. The only upside is that our reduced responsibility means that we don’t kill the life of grace entirely.

    Obviously, it’s important to understand these conditions!


    The term grave matter means a serious act contrary to the moral law.

    The Ten Commandments are the standard reference point for defining grave matter.

    • Remember that each commandment is really a category, though. Don’t think you’re off the hook because technically you didn’t “worship a false idol”, for example!
    • A good Catholic Examination of Conscience will help you sort out the kinds of things considered to be grave matter.

    I should clarify two important things here.

    First, a serious act is required. Telling your mother you forgot to put your shoes away , is not the same as perjury or tax fraud. Minor violations are usually seen as venial sins unless serious harm results, or they are committed with real malice.

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    Mortal And Venial Sin

    The most common Bible verse used against the very Catholic and very biblical doctrines concerning mortal and venial sin is James 2:10-11:

    For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. For he who said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill.

    The argument is made from this text that all sins are the same before God. Is this true?

    Two Points in Response:

    First, the context of James 2 reveals St. James to have been talking about showing partiality for the first nine verses leading up to verses ten and eleven. In verse one St. James says, My brethren, show no partiality as you hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ. St. James then goes on to say that if we show partiality, for example, toward the rich at the expense of the poor, we fail to keep what he calls the royal law, according to the Scripture, You shall love your neighbor as yourself . He then says, in verse nine, But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. This is his lead-in to talking about keeping the commandments.

    The point here is we cannot pick and choose who we are going to love as the Lord commands and who we are not going to love. On Judgment Day, we cannot say, But I loved over six billion people as I love myself, Lord! I only hated that one guy! It is an all or nothing proposition. In the same way, we cannot say to God on Judgment Day, But I kept the other nine commandments, Lord!

    Matt. 5:19:

    What Is An Example Of A Mortal Sin

    There must be all three of the following for there to be a grave sin: Grave Affair: The behavior is inherently reprehensible and sinful in and of itself.Examples of things that are considered to be serious include homicide, rape, incest, perjury, adultery, and so on.Complete Understanding: The individual must be aware that what they are doing or have planned to do is immoral and unethical.

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    Is The Roman Catholic Teaching Correct

    Stephen Wellum explains that within Roman Catholic theology, the distinction is tied to their overall sacramental theology whereby God applies Christs work to us by receiving the sacraments that he has established in the church.

    As a result, even apart from saving faith one can be saved. Mortal sin, if not confessed and penance done, stops this entire process, which results in eternal condemnation.

    On the other hand, venial sins if committed and not confessed and repented of, do not stop the process of justification, which began when someone was baptized. These sins result in temporal punishments, but do not cut off a person forever from salvation or prevent the individual from becoming increasingly righteous over time .

    While Wellum and others agree there are degrees of sin, the Bible does not bear out certain aspects of this theology. For one thing, baptism and other sacraments do not justify or sanctify a person.

    Baptism is an action, which symbolizes dying to ones old self and being reborn in Christ. It is symbolic, public, and is an invitation for the congregation to come alongside the new believer, but Christ alone justifies from the inside out.

    Participation in a ritual does not change the individual, it is only external, and it does not save. Genuine salvation happens inwardly but is expressed outwardly as a person submits and allows God to sanctify him or her.

    How To Distinguish Mortal And Venial Sins

    What if I Die Before Confessing a Mortal Sin?

    The virtue of charity is our union with God. The Council of Trent declared that we maintain the virtues of faith and hope after we commit a mortal sin, both of which encourage us to seek out the sacrament of confession. But the Catechism of the Council of Trent explains that whoever offends God, even by one mortal sin, instantly forfeits whatever merits he may have previously acquired through the sufferings and death of Christ, and is entirely shut out from the gates of heaven.

    Just one unconfessed mortal sin is sufficient for damnation and eternal hellfire. This is because we have broken our relationship with God through charity. Thus, we should clarify the three stipulations required in order to meet the criteria for a sin to be mortal.

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    Deliberate Consent Of The Will

    Mortal sin also requires deliberate consent. This means that you make a free choice to commit the act.

    The state of freedom is something that defines us as human beings. Freedom is the ability to choose to act or not to act. With freedom comes the responsibility for our choices.

    Sometimes, there is some factor that seriously interferes with our ability to make a free choice. These cases reduce our culpability for sin. Perhaps some factor slightly reduces the malice of our action. Other times, if we’re seriously unfree, it may reduce the gravity of our responsibility for the sin, making it a venial sin.

    Honestly, this is the hardest factor to determine accurately. At times we know clearly that our choices are indeed deliberate. In other cases, we’re honestly not sure.

    We know that God sees the truth completely and with great clarity. But here on earth, things can be a little cloudy.

    Complicating factors can include:

    • Physical force or other strong coercion
    • Great fear or anxiety
    • Hidden or deep-seated emotional wounds
    • Long-established habits

    It’s also the case the that sin tends to pull us into a downward spiral. What begins as a small matter becomes a habit. It dulls our perception of sin. We get used to sin it doesn’t seem so bad. Little by little, we “up the ante” and slide into mortal sin.

    You should know two things here.

    Second, do honestly struggle!

    Is Contraception A Mortal Sin

    CONTRACEPTION AND STERILIZATION: ARE THEY ALWAYS CONSIDERED TO BE MORTAL SINS?RESPONSE: The Catholic Church has always taught that contraception and sterilization are sinful practices, and that individuals who engage in such practices with full knowledge and consent commit mortal sins, thereby severing their relationships with Jesus Christ.Those who engage in such practices with full knowledge and consent commit mortal sins, thereby severing their relationships with Jesus Christ.

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    Permission Of Sin And Remedies

    Since it is of faith that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and all good it is difficult to account for sin in His creation. The existence of evil is the underlying problem in all theology. Various explanations to account for its existence have been offered, differing according to the philosophical principles and religious tenets of their authors. Any Catholic explanation must take into account the definedtruths of the omnipotence, omniscience, and goodness of God free will on the part of man and the fact that suffering is the penalty of sin. Of metaphysicalevil, the negation of a greater good, God is the cause inasmuch as he has beings with limited forms. Of physical evil He is also the cause. Physical evil, considered as it proceeds from God and is inflicted in punishment of sin in accordance with the decrees of Divine justice, is good, compensating for the violation of order by sin. It is only in the subject affected by it that it is evil.

    What Are The Mortal Sins Of The Catholic Church

    Pin on Catholic

    The majority of Catholics are aware that a number of crimes, including murder and the abuse of children, are considered to be deadly sins. But Divine Revelation, which includes the Popes and saints as well as the Bible and the Magisterium, makes it very obvious that the majority of contemporary Catholics are omitting certain key grave sins from their confessions.

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    The Four Sins That Cry Out To Heaven

    This is a traditional list of sins that cry out to heaven. Needless to say, they are very grave and most likely mortal.

  • Wilful murder, which is a voluntary and unjust taking away anothers life.
  • The sin of Sodom, or carnal sin against nature, which is a voluntary shedding of the seed of nature, out of the due use of marriage, or lust with a different sex.
  • Oppressing of the poor, which is a cruel, tyrannical, and unjust dealing with inferiors.
  • To defraud working men of their wages, which is to lessen, or detain it from them.
  • What Ever Happened To Mortal Sin


    Fr. William Saunders

    I recently sat through a penance preparation session for parents. The teacher said, “Only neurotics would believe in mortal sin as we used too. Instead, mortal sin only happens when we break our fundamental option for God.” I don’t understand this. Whatever happened to mortal and venial sin?A parent from the Midwest

    I do not think that a person is neurotic to believe in the “old fashioned” notion of mortal sin, but I do know that one must be a fool to think some heinous actions are not mortal sins. Perhaps if we stuck to the traditional teaching on sin and forgiveness, we would not see as many heinous actions committed without any sense of remorse.

    The < Catechism> reminds us, “Sin is an offense against reason, truth and right conscience it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as ‘an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law'” .

    With this in mind, we can approach the subject of fundamental option. The idea of fundamental option is that each person makes a basic choice to love God, to accept His truth, and to be His disciple. That choice, though, is lived out each day of our lives by the individual choices we make to do good. In this sense, fundamental option makes sense.

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    What Does The Catholic Church Teach About Mortal Sin

    mortal sin, also called cardinal sin, in Roman Catholic theology, the gravest of sins, representing a deliberate turning away from God and destroying charity in the heart of the sinner. Such a sin cuts the sinner off from Gods sanctifying grace until it is repented, usually in confession with a priest.

    Does Watching Catholic Mass On Tv Count

    Can the Catholic Church change what constitutes mortal sin?

    Every Sunday, Catholics are required to go to Mass as part of their religious obligations. This is in accordance with the second commandment, which states. The requirement cannot be satisfied by merely viewing the Mass being broadcast on television. A Catholic is required to attend Sunday Mass at a parish church or oratory, provided that they are able to do so.

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    What Are The Catholic Mortal Sins

    The Ten Commandments, which correlate to the response that Jesus gave to the wealthy young man, specify grave matters as follows: Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother. The severity of each sin varies, with thievery being considered less serious than murder.

    Stipulations For Mortal Sin

    1. Serious or grave matter. This often means that the action is clearly evil or severely disordered. This would include many common activities: looking at evil images, contraception, intentionally missing Mass, recreational drug use, etc.

    2. Sufficient knowledge or reflection. This means we know we are committing a sinful act and that we have had sufficient reflection for it to be intentional. Some may tell you that the knowledge portion renders most sins less serious than a mortal sin because most people do not have a knowledge of the Faith. It is worth noting that knowledge does not mean understanding. Furthermore, nowhere in any dogmatic teaching or Scripture does it say that we must have specific theological knowledge in order to commit mortal sin. Everyone is born with a sense of the natural law, meaning that an understanding of morality, even if imperfect, is built into our nature. St. Paul says, All have sinned, and do need the glory of God, being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption, that is in Christ Je sus .

    3. Full consent of the will. This means that we must freely choose to commit a grave sin in order for it to be a mortal sin. If there is any significant impediment to our will, then it is possible that the sin is not mortal but only venial .

    To be silent when we are impelled to utter words injurious to God or to our neighbour, is an act of virtue but to be silent in confessing our sins is the ruin of the soul.

    St. Alphonsus

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