Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Mortal Sins

The Seven Deadly Sins by Hieronymus Bosch
Picture source

Detail of the above painting: Table of Mortal Sins: Gluttony

Picture source

The following two posts/articles answer many questions regarding what constitutes a mortal sin.

1. Boston Catholic Journal: Mortal Sin and Holy Confession: The Antidote to Death

Our excuses are numberless. In fact, they are as numberless as our sins, none of which are now deemed by us (and, for sorrow, by many priests) grievous enough to preclude our receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in Holy Communion. Most often they are reducible simply to this: "I have not committed any mortal sin".


For Catholics who have never been taught the difference between Mortal and Venial sin — which is to say, the entire last generation of Catholics — we must be clear about the notion of sin, especially the distinction between two kinds of sin, before we can proceed to even understand the necessity, as well as the inestimable value of Holy Confession.

2. Aggie Catholics: What Constitutes Grave Matter - What Makes Mortal Sin "Mortal"?

Q - My question is regarding the distinction between mortal and venial sins. I have read (many times over) the description in the Catechism, specifically sections 1854-1864. I am still unclear about the definition of grave matter. I'm not a murderer, thief or adulterer, so those grave matters are easy to exclude for me. But, how does a decent, law-abiding, generally respectful, person know how to distinguish when a sin has moved from venial to mortal? Section 1858 of the Catechism seems to imply that violation of the Ten Commandments is a mortal sin. But aren't venial sins also violations of the Ten Commandments? Are sins on a continuum where the same act could be defined as mortal or venial depending on how the sin occurs, to whom its directed, etc? Is there a sample list of mortal vs. venial sins that could help clarify this for people?

The first one was shared by Sue Cifelli.

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