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Those in Mortal Sin Can't Go to Communion, Says Pope
Zenit.org ^ | 03-14-05 | Pope John Paul II

Posted on 03/14/2005 9:40:26 PM PST by Salvation

Date: 2005-03-14

Those in Mortal Sin Can't Go to Communion, Says Pope

In a Message to Priests at Course on "Internal Forum"

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 14, 2005 (Zenit.org).- In keeping with Church teaching, John Paul II issued a reminder that no one who is aware of being in a state of mortal sin can go to Communion.

The Pope confirmed the traditional teaching of the magisterium in a message published by the Holy See on Saturday. The message was addressed to young priests who attended a course last week on the "internal forum" -- questions of conscience -- organized by the tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary.

The Holy Father dedicated his letter, signed March 8 in the Gemelli Polyclinic where he was hospitalized, to the relationship that exists between the Eucharist and confession.

"We live in a society that seems frequently to have lost the sense of God and of sin," writes John Paul II. "In this context, therefore, Christ's invitation to conversion is that much more urgent, which implies the conscious confession of one's sins and the relative request for forgiveness and salvation.

"In the exercise of his ministry, the priest knows that he acts 'in the person of Christ and under the action of the Holy Spirit,' and for this reason he must nourish [Christ's] sentiments in his inner being, increase within himself the charity of Jesus, teacher and shepherd, physician of souls and bodies, spiritual guide, just and merciful judge."

The Pope continues: "In the tradition of the Church, sacramental reconciliation has always been considered in profound relationship with the banquet of the sacrifice of the Eucharist, memorial of our redemption.

"Already in the first Christian communities the need was felt to prepare oneself, with a worthy conduct of life, to celebrate the breaking of the Eucharistic bread, which is 'Communion' with the body and blood of the Lord and 'communion' ('koinonia') with believers who form only one body, as they are nourished with the same body of Christ."

Because of this, the Pontiff recalls St. Paul's warning to the Corinthians when he said: "Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:27).

"In the rite of the Holy Mass," notes the Pope, "many elements underline this exigency of purification and conversion: from the initial penitential act to the prayers for forgiveness; from the gesture of peace to the prayers that the priests and faithful recite before Communion."

"Only someone who is sincerely conscious of not having committed a mortal sin can receive the Body of Christ," states the papal message, recalling the doctrine of the Council of Trent. "And this continues to be the teaching of the Church also today."

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains the difference between mortal and venial sin in Nos. 1854 to 1864.

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KEYWORDS: catholiclist; communion; forgiveness; mortalsin; reconciliation
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**In a Message to Priests at Course on "Internal Foru

Hopefully this will get out to the Bishops of the world!

1 posted on 03/14/2005 9:40:28 PM PST by Salvation
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To: Salvation

Oops,
Didn't get the entire line there!

In a Message to Priests at Course on "Internal Forum"


2 posted on 03/14/2005 9:41:19 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: nickcarraway; SMEDLEYBUTLER; Siobhan; Lady In Blue; attagirl; goldenstategirl; Starmaker; ...
Catholic Discussion Ping!

Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Catholic Discussion Ping List.

3 posted on 03/14/2005 9:42:45 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent."

Catechism of the Catholic Church Search for Mortal Sin -- 3 pages

4 posted on 03/14/2005 9:47:02 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

I may no longer be a Catholic and all, but can any practicing Catholic honestly think they can receive Communion while they are in Mortal Sin? It's hard to believe the Pope would even find a reminder necessary.

Perhaps the Baltimore Catechism is no longer taught?


5 posted on 03/14/2005 9:49:28 PM PST by radiohead (revote in washington state)
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To: radiohead

Unfortunately it isn't. There are several good series out there right now. But some are quite lacking in content.


6 posted on 03/14/2005 9:51:08 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

That isn't new. Well, since I've been a Catholic anyway. I was born in 19** (nevermind), and it's been that way since I came into the world. If Catholics actually have to be REMINDED of this very basic rule, I guess I have to say I'm concerned....and confused....


7 posted on 03/14/2005 9:52:51 PM PST by Just Lori (There! I said it!)
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To: Spanaway Lori

I don't think most Catholics have to be reminded. However, their are those Catholics in Name Only (John Kerry comes to mind here.)who openly support abortion, and yet still receive Communion.


8 posted on 03/14/2005 9:55:33 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
kudos to our pope! My new bishop just banned general absolution services during lent, his first pastoral letter, and right on target. And what is the new bishop doing holy week? One particular night during holy week, he will be at one of the larger churches who violated this canon law that gave general absolution to thousands and the bishop will conduct a penance service showing his priests and flock the right way to conduct and participate in the sacrament of reconciliation.
9 posted on 03/14/2005 10:08:11 PM PST by Coleus (Roe v. Wade and Endangered Species Act both passed in 1973, Murder Babies/save trees, birds, algae)
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To: Salvation
Because of this, the Pontiff recalls St. Paul's warning to the Corinthians when he said: "Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:27).

I don't get it. Paul warns us not to take communion in an "unworthy manner". He does not tell us to take it if we are unworthy, as we are all unworthy. It is the manner in which one takes it that brings danger of profanity. It is a warning aimed at the attitude of those who approach the communion table.

BTW, I'm not sure what a "mortal sin" is. What sin can we commit that Jesus did not die to forgive?

10 posted on 03/14/2005 10:27:22 PM PST by P-Marlowe
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To: P-Marlowe
27 Therefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord.

28 But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread and drink of the chalice.

BTW, I'm not sure what a "mortal sin" is. What sin can we commit that Jesus did not die to forgive?

Jesus died to forgive all the sins of which we repent. No repentance, no forgiveness.

A mortal sin is a sin so grievous that the sinner is no longer in a state of grace, e.g.: a man commits murder and dies without repentance, he will spend eternity in Hell.

11 posted on 03/14/2005 11:19:21 PM PST by Jeff Chandler (Tagline schmagline.)
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To: Jeff Chandler
27 Therefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord.

It still refers to attitude. Unworthily is an adverb and it describes the manner in which you partake of the bread, i.e., your attitude, not your own condition of sinlessness or worthyness.

A mortal sin is a sin so grievous that the sinner is no longer in a state of grace...

Where does it say that in the bible?

12 posted on 03/14/2005 11:24:33 PM PST by P-Marlowe
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To: P-Marlowe
It still refers to attitude. Unworthily is an adverb and it describes the manner in which you partake of the bread, i.e., your attitude, not your own condition of sinlessness or worthyness.

You're correct in your interpretation. Contextually, Paul is writing to the church at Corinth, most of whom had just recently been involved in the worship of Aphrodite. Their pagan religion involved temple prostitution, drunkenness and debauchery. At the time of the first epistle to Corinth, the church there is in major crisis, with infighting and some members slipping back into their pagan practices. Rich people were making a party out of the communion gathering, getting drunk and feasting in front of other believers who were too poor bring their own.(I Corinthians 11:19-22) Paul is telling them to be reverent about communion, and that it is a time to judge oneself. It was not about satisfying their bellies, but remembering together the body and blood of our Lord. He ends the chapter by basically telling them "No more parties, and I straighten the rest of this out personally when I get there." (vs 33-34)

Where does it say that in the bible?

Good question. Sola Scriptura

13 posted on 03/15/2005 12:25:05 AM PST by Sparticus
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To: Salvation; american colleen; Lady In Blue; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; ...
John Paul II issued a reminder that no one who is aware of being in a state of mortal sin can go to Communion.

There's the catch! Secularism, combined with poor catechesis and lackluster homiletics, has eroded the catholic's conscience. And, those who still have a conscience, oftentimes don't believe their sins are grave enough to constitute a mortal sin, regardless of what the church teaches. If one priest takes them to task, they'll look for another who agrees with their position or simply stop going to Mass. Heck, they don't believe that missing Mass is a sin either.

Good for the Holy Father! While the MSM reported on his 'frailities', the pope used his hospital stay to carry out his duties as Shepherd to the flock.


14 posted on 03/15/2005 12:40:40 AM PST by NYer ("The Eastern Churches are the Treasures of the Catholic Church" - Pope John XXIII)
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Comment #15 Removed by Moderator

To: Salvation

I learned out of the Baltimore Catechism 3 and im only a college student. It's such a great source of material on the rudiments of the Faith.


16 posted on 03/15/2005 3:23:21 AM PST by CouncilofTrent (Quo Primum...)
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To: P-Marlowe

This doesn't seem relevent to the topic at hand. Isn't this thread a Catholic issue?


17 posted on 03/15/2005 3:28:26 AM PST by CouncilofTrent (Quo Primum...)
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To: Jeff Chandler
A mortal sin is a sin so grievous that the sinner is no longer in a state of grace, e.g.: a man commits murder and dies without repentance, he will spend eternity in Hell.

First, I am not Catholic, but I see the difference between mortal and venal sin as one of intent:
The classical definition of mortal sin is given by St. Thomas: "When the will sets itself upon something that is of its nature incompatible with the charity that orients man toward his ultimate end, then the sin is mortal by its very object...whether it contradicts the love of God, such as blasphemy or perjury, or the love of neighbor, such as homicide or adultery."
Even more obtuse is the definition given by St. Augustine (Contra Faustum, XXII, xxvii) “as something said, done or desired contrary to the eternal law, or a thought, word, or deed contrary to the eternal law.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1857 has “For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent."
In modern parlance, if a sin is committed with full knowledge that it is a sin it is mortal. If a sin is committed through blind passion or accident it is venal. Even a lie can be a mortal sin if it is told under oath.
From the Catholic Encyclopedia, “Hence the wickedness of invoking the Divine testimony to confirm an untruth is specially criminal. Prescinding from cases of ignorance or insufficient deliberation this sin is reputed to be always mortal. When in doubt one cannot without perjury swear to a thing as certain. When mental reservation is permissible it is lawful to corroborate one's utterance by an oath, if there be an adequate cause.”
With such a definition we have a whole lot of people living in mortal sin. If the Church’s rules are followed to the letter, there would be few people at the communion rail.
18 posted on 03/15/2005 4:04:28 AM PST by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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To: R. Scott

It is a matter not only of intent, but it must be grave as well. That is, if you tell your wife that her awful new dress looks lovely, that is a venial sin, while lying under oath is a mortal sin.


19 posted on 03/15/2005 4:32:41 AM PST by GrannyML
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To: radiohead
No the Baltimore Catechism is no longer taught, and in my experience sin is hardly ever mentioned. I would also say that in my experience most people in their 30's and younger do not know what mortal sin is, because it was never taught to them, unless they sought to educate themselves about their faith.

A priest responsible for the teaching of other priests and laity for pastoral duties instructed a whole class (that I was a part of ) "if you don't believe that something is a sin then it is not", which of course is false when it comes to things pertaining to natural law.

20 posted on 03/15/2005 4:42:33 AM PST by murphE (Each of the SSPX priests seems like a single facet on the gem that is the alter Christus. -Gerard. P)
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To: Salvation

Is support for abortion a mortal sin? Euthanasia? Others?


21 posted on 03/15/2005 4:48:56 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of it!)
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To: P-Marlowe; Sparticus
Good question but I always think of the following:

John 20:21-23 (KJV)
21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

This is how Catholics interpret the above: the power Christ gave the apostles was twofold: to forgive sins or to hold them bound, which means to retain them unforgiven. Several things follow from this. First, the apostles could not know what sins to forgive and what not to forgive unless they were first told the sins by the sinner. This implies confession. Second, their authority was not merely to proclaim that God had already forgiven sins or that he would forgive sins if there were proper repentance.

Such interpretations don’t account for the distinction between forgiving and retaining—nor do they account for the importance given to the utterance in John 20:21–23. If God has already forgiven all of a man’s sins, or will forgive them all (past and future) upon a single act of repentance, then it makes little sense to tell the apostles they have been given the power to "retain" sins, since forgiveness would be all-or-nothing and nothing could be "retained."

Furthermore, if at conversion we were forgiven all sins, past, present, and future, it would make no sense for Christ to require us to pray, "And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors," which he explained is required because "if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matt. 6:12–15).

If forgiveness really can be partial—not a once-for-all thing—how is one to tell which sins have been forgiven, which not, in the absence of a priestly decision? You can’t very well rely on your own gut feelings (think of the current convolutions regarding personal interpretation of what the bible has to say on homosexual behaviour). No, the biblical passages make sense only if the apostles and their successors were given a real authority.

You can read the above but with a bit more detail at "The Forgiveness of Sins"

22 posted on 03/15/2005 4:54:49 AM PST by american colleen
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To: Salvation

It would be helpful if Catholics remembered what mortal sin is. That's taught from the pulpit at my parish, but not many others.


23 posted on 03/15/2005 4:57:35 AM PST by Desdemona
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To: Coleus
One particular night during holy week, he will be at one of the larger churches who violated this canon law that gave general absolution to thousands and the bishop will conduct a penance service showing his priests and flock the right way to conduct and participate in the sacrament of reconciliation.

Hee hee. I love it.

24 posted on 03/15/2005 4:58:57 AM PST by Desdemona
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To: Sparticus
Sola Scriptura

...is expressly forbidden in II Timothy.

25 posted on 03/15/2005 5:00:51 AM PST by Desdemona
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To: OptimusPrime5
The Pope having to issue a reminder that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?

It wouldn't hurt.

26 posted on 03/15/2005 5:01:49 AM PST by Desdemona
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To: xzins
Is support for abortion a mortal sin? Euthanasia? Others?

With knowledge that it is wrong and you do it anyway, yes. The major infractions are things like stealing, lying, murder, etc., with knowledge of what you are doing and intent to do harm. There's a pretty good list which includes immodest dress (coug, cough considering what I saw at Mass on Sunday), not going to Mass on Sunday, impure thoughts, impure acts, etc.

27 posted on 03/15/2005 5:06:01 AM PST by Desdemona
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To: GrannyML
That is, if you tell your wife that her awful new dress looks lovely, that is a venial sin, while lying under oath is a mortal sin.

Fortunately, neither my wife nor daughter ever asked me to swear to God that it looked good. My daughter came close a few times when asking, “Do these pants make my butt look big?”
Being a basically honest type person, I would honestly answer “The pants don’t make your butt look big”.
28 posted on 03/15/2005 5:07:22 AM PST by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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To: Desdemona

Is a priest prevented from administering the Eucharist to a person the priest knows to be in mortal sin? a politician like Kennedy, for example?


29 posted on 03/15/2005 5:14:39 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of it!)
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To: R. Scott
Being a basically honest type person, I would honestly answer “The pants don’t make your butt look big”.

LOL!

30 posted on 03/15/2005 5:15:19 AM PST by american colleen
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To: radiohead; Salvation

Some Catholics justify receiving Communion in the state of mortal sin because they say they do not believe that what they are doing is sinful. For example, I have a close relative who lives with her boyfriend. She has told me that she doesn't believe it is a sin and she receives Communion.


31 posted on 03/15/2005 5:19:34 AM PST by k omalley (Caro Enim Mea, Vere est Cibus, et Sanguis Meus, Vere est Potus)
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To: xzins
Is a priest prevented from administering the Eucharist to a person the priest knows to be in mortal sin? a politician like Kennedy, for example?

A priest should be, if not by his bishop, by his conscience. That doesn't always happen. There's a little matter of free will and at this time in history, there are a number of revolutionary priests who are not hard line about this. i think there is some apathy and fear of making waves. There shouldn't be but no one ever said cowards couldn't be priests.

One of the bigger problems we're facing is some very weak bishops who do no teaching. This should be part of their teaching and when bishops like mine do say that politicians who are pro-death are not to take Eucharist (Burke was adament about it), they are labelled as extremist when all they are doing is teaching. Correctly, I might add.

32 posted on 03/15/2005 5:22:34 AM PST by Desdemona
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To: R. Scott

Wow! You sound just like my husband!!


33 posted on 03/15/2005 5:25:46 AM PST by GrannyML
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To: Desdemona

If the bible warning is valid, which I think it is, then the priest who prevents an unworthy communicant is doing that person a huge, eternal favor. Otherwise, the communicants eat and drink damnation to themselves.

Such hard line priests would be showing tough love and demonstrating themselves to be the ones who really cared about the individual.


34 posted on 03/15/2005 5:28:56 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of it!)
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To: xzins

Is there any moral/ethical difference between condoning an action and advocating an action?


35 posted on 03/15/2005 5:29:47 AM PST by verity (The Liberal Media and the ACLU are America's Enemies)
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To: Desdemona

It is a beautiful thing to see a faithful bishop actually behaving like a pastor, leading his flock in the right way...


36 posted on 03/15/2005 5:30:50 AM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: Salvation
The pope never would have said anything if they had not replaced his 9volt battery in the hospital.

One wonders who - below this old figurehead - is really trying to set policy.

Of course, it's more a "tempest in a teapot" as almost no one listens to them anymore.

37 posted on 03/15/2005 5:32:35 AM PST by Logic n' Reason (Don't piss down my back and tell me it's rainin')
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To: verity

I'm sure there are examples that push the limits in the other direction, but my understanding in our public law is that the one who hires a contract killer is more liable than the killer who pulls the trigger....condoning versus advocating.

Supporting versus doing.


38 posted on 03/15/2005 5:35:52 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of it!)
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To: CouncilofTrent; Jeff Chandler; Sparticus; american colleen
This doesn't seem relevent to the topic at hand. Isn't this thread a Catholic issue?

Excuse me. I'm sorry. I didn't know this was the Catholic Forum. I thought it was the Religion forum.

Silly me.

Have a nice day.

39 posted on 03/15/2005 5:38:00 AM PST by P-Marlowe
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To: R. Scott
With such a definition we have a whole lot of people living in mortal sin. If the Church’s rules are followed to the letter, there would be few people at the communion rail.

Actually, with such a definition, there may not be as many people living in mortal sin as you think. Full, deliberate consent, grave matter, and full knowledge. Mortal sin separates one from God essentially; it ruptures the relationship.

Think of something that you do that can rupture the relationship between you and another person. There are things (such as losing one's temper or negligence) that can damage it, but it takes almost a premeditated act to kill a relationship with someone.

The present state, where Catholics think nothing is a mortal sin, is a reaction to years and years of Catholics thinking everything was a mortal sin. Catechesis is needed to bring our understanding back into balance.

40 posted on 03/15/2005 5:48:23 AM PST by sinkspur ("Preach the gospel. If necessary, use words.")
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To: xzins
Is a priest prevented from administering the Eucharist to a person the priest knows to be in mortal sin? a politician like Kennedy, for example?

A member of the clergy may refuse the Eucharist to a person who is known, by public action, to be living or advocating contrary to the teaching of the Church. The refusal is thus done to avoid scandal.

No one can know whether another person is actually in the state of mortal sin, and should not make judgements on that basis.

41 posted on 03/15/2005 5:52:55 AM PST by sinkspur ("Preach the gospel. If necessary, use words.")
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To: xzins
I used condoning in the sense of overlooking or disregarding an "offense" without protest as opposed to advocating an "offense" i.e. encouraging it.

As you point out guilty is guilty. However, it seems that condoning would be a lesser offense than advocating. In a religious context, is condoning abortion a venial sin while advocating abortion a mortal sin?

I would wager that there are different answers even within the clergy.

42 posted on 03/15/2005 5:58:00 AM PST by verity (The Liberal Media and the ACLU are America's Enemies)
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To: k omalley; Salvation
Spot on K. The every growing tendency of Catholics to define doctrine on their terms has led to a congregation of egoists and anthropocentrists who weekly desecrate the Eucharist. Penance is the forgotten sacrament. If you can rationalize your sin in your personal Catholic theology (a la Joseph Martos, John Kerry, et al) then having to admit guilt and do penance is, in their thinking, so medieval it can't be true.

The sacred truths need to be reinforced from the top like this because unfortunately, they are given scant if any mention in American Catholic religion classrooms and Mass homilies.

43 posted on 03/15/2005 6:01:25 AM PST by animoveritas (Dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.)
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To: R. Scott
Being a basically honest type person, I would honestly answer “The pants don’t make your butt look big”.

LOL! Good answer! :D

44 posted on 03/15/2005 6:07:39 AM PST by kstewskis ("Tolerance is what happens when one loses their principles"....Fr. A Saenz.)
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To: sinkspur
The present state, where Catholics think nothing is a mortal sin, is a reaction to years and years of Catholics thinking everything was a mortal sin.

I think Fundamentalists could be put into the 'everything is a sin' category, but not Catholics - not now and not ever. When has drinking or dancing or gambling (except to excess) been thought a sin?

45 posted on 03/15/2005 6:10:10 AM PST by american colleen
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To: Salvation

Guess that leaves out Michael Schiavo.


46 posted on 03/15/2005 6:12:22 AM PST by madison10
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To: verity

I guess I see condoning and advocating on a continuum. At some point of public behavior or expression, the condoning becomes advocating.


47 posted on 03/15/2005 6:21:56 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of it!)
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To: P-Marlowe

"A mortal sin is a sin so grievous that the sinner is no longer in a state of grace...

Where does it say that in the bible?"

The relative gravity of venial and mortal sins are attested in 1 John 5:

"16 He that knoweth his brother to sin a sin which is not to death, let him ask, and life shall be given to him, who sinneth not to death. There is a sin unto death: for that I say not that you ask. 17 All iniquity is sin, but there is sin that is not mortal."


48 posted on 03/15/2005 6:22:34 AM PST by Tantumergo
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To: sinkspur
The present state, where Catholics think nothing is a mortal sin, is a reaction to years and years of Catholics thinking everything was a mortal sin.

The attraction of Calvinism?

There are things (such as losing one's temper or negligence) that can damage it, but it takes almost a premeditated act to kill a relationship with someone.

Maybe my cynicism is a bit too heavy, but I see it on a daily basis, almost as if people think anything is OK as long as they don’t get caught.
49 posted on 03/15/2005 6:31:02 AM PST by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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To: kstewskis

I thought so. It took the kid several years to catch on to what I was saying.


50 posted on 03/15/2005 6:32:00 AM PST by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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