Skip to comments."Grave Sin" = Mortal Sin [Catholic Caucus]
Posted on 05/08/2010 1:40:13 PM PDT by NYer
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
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."
What if a sin has been committed that has grave matter but lacks the knowledge and consent needed to make it mortal? How might one refer to such a sin?
Since it has grave matter, one might refer to it--logically--as a grave sin. That would seem pretty straightforward: Sin with grave matter is grave sin. Add the needed knowledge and consent and it becomes mortal. Right?
Well, you'd think that. Only you wouldn't be right.
For some years it's been clear (to me, anyway) that ecclesiastical documents like the Code of Canon Law and the Catechism of the Catholic Church regularly use the phrase "grave sin" to mean "mortal sin."
But until recently I haven't had an explicit statement documenting this fact. Now I do (CHT to the reader who provided it!)
The statement is found in a post-synodal apostolic exhortation by John Paul II from 1984. The synod of bishops had been held the previous year on the theme of reconciliation and penance, and in the resulting exhortation,
During the synod, some apparently proposed a spectrum of sins consisting of venial, grave, and mortal sins--apparently using the middle category not the way proposed above but as a sin that is worse than venial but less than mortal. This is perhaps related to the mistranslation of "grave" as "serious" in English that was common for a long time.
In any event, that kind of division would be wrong, and so John Paul II wrote:
During the synod assembly some fathers proposed a threefold distinction of sins, classifying them as venial, grave and mortal. This threefold distinction might illustrate the fact that there is a scale of seriousness among grave sins. But it still remains true that the essential and decisive distinction is between sin which destroys charity and sin which does not kill the supernatural life: There is no middle way between life and death.
And so (here comes the money quote) . . .
Considering sin from the point of view of its matter, the ideas of death, of radical rupture with God, the supreme good, of deviation from the path that leads to God or interruption of the journey toward him (which are all ways of defining mortal sin) are linked with the idea of the gravity of sin's objective content. Hence, in the church's doctrine and pastoral action, grave sin is in practice identified with mortal sin.
So. Glad we've got that cleared up.
49 years later a 10 second kiss could simply be fatal. Ah to be young again!
According to my priest, it is. You can be an accessory to sin even if you didn’t commit the sin. If you know a politician is pro-abortion, and you willfully cast your ballot for them, you are an accessory to that sin.
From the Catechism:
1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:
- by participating directly and voluntarily in them;
- by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;
- by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;
- by protecting evil-doers.
This is summarized by the nine ways of being an accessory to sin:
5.By Defense of Evil Done
Since all sin separates us from God, what is the spiritual benefit of trying to rate them from mild to worst?
Cool I’ll do anything to avoid vegemite
Apologies for not getting back to you sooner. You wrote:
Since all sin separates us from God, what is the spiritual benefit of trying to rate them from mild to worst?
Our Lord said to Pilate (John 19:11): 'He that hath delivered me to thee, hath the greater sin,' and yet it is evident that Pilate was guilty of some sin. Therefore one sin is greater than another.
Therefore it matters much to the gravity of a sin whether one departs more or less from the rectitude of reason: and accordingly we must say that sins are not all equal.
Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say on the matter of degrees of sin:
1854. "Sins are rightly evaluated according to their gravity. The distinction between mortal and venial sin, already evident in Scripture, [Cf. 1 Jn 5:16-17.] became part of the tradition of the Church. It is corroborated by human experience."
1855. "Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God's law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him. Venial sin allows charity to subsist, even though it offends and wounds it. "
1856. "Mortal sin, by attacking the vital principle within us - that is, charity - necessitates a new initiative of God's mercy and a conversion of heart which is normally accomplished within the setting of the sacrament of reconciliation: 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.... But when the sinner's will is set upon something that of its nature involves a disorder, but is not opposed to the love of God and neighbor, such as thoughtless chatter or immoderate laughter and the like, such sins are venial. [St. Thomas Aquinas, Su Th I-II, 88, 2, corp. art.] "
1862. "One commits venial sin when, in a less serious matter, he does not observe the standard prescribed by the moral law, or when he disobeys the moral law in a grave matter, but without full knowledge or without complete consent."
1863. "Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; it impedes the soul's progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral good; it merits temporal punishment. Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin. However venial sin does not set us in direct opposition to the will and friendship of God; it does not break the covenant with God. With God's grace it is humanly reparable. 'Venial sin does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace, friendship with God, charity, and consequently eternal happiness.' [John Paul II, RP 17 # 9.] While he is in the flesh, man cannot help but have at least some light sins. But do not despise these sins which we call 'light': if you take them for light when you weigh them, tremble when you count them. A number of light objects makes a great mass; a number of drops fills a river; a number of grains makes a heap. What then is our hope? Above all, confession. [St. Augustine, In ep. Jo. 1, 6: PL 35, 1982.]"
Hope this addresses your question.
Thanks again for your response and God bless.
Today was the last day for my priest at our parish.
He is the facilitator for 3 churches that are merging in Bellmawr NJ.
I will miss him so much. Lots of weeping eyes after Mass.
A group of us are going in tomorrow, because he want the new priest to have a spick and span church to welcome him.
During confession yesterday I asked him if he could remain my Confessor. I have decided to remain at my present parish and attend Saturday Vigil, I will attend Sunday Mass in his new parish.
No sin is acceptable to God and that is why, in His great mercy, he left us with the Sacrament of Penance, where we are cleansed of our sins. Baptism was given to take away the sin inherited from Adam (original sin) and any sins we personally committed before baptismsins we personally commit are called actual sins, because they come from our own acts. Thus on the day of Pentecost, Peter told the crowds, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38), and when Paul was baptized he was told, "And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name" (Acts 22:16). And so Peter later wrote, "Baptism . . . now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 3:21).
For sins committed after baptism, a different sacrament is needed. It has been called penance, confession, and reconciliation, each word emphasizing one of its.aspects. During his life, Christ forgave sins, as in the case of the woman caught in adultery (John 8:111) and the woman who anointed his feet (Luke 7:48). He exercised this power in his human capacity as the Messiah or Son of man, telling us, "the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins" (Matt. 9:6), which is why the Gospel writer himself explains that God "had given such authority to men" (Matt. 9:8).
Since he would not always be with the Church visibly, Christ gave this power to other men so the Church, which is the continuation of his presence throughout time (Matt. 28:20), would be able to offer forgiveness to future generations. He gave his power to the apostles, and it was a power that could be passed on to their successors and agents, since the apostles wouldnt always be on earth either, but people would still be sinning.
God had sent Jesus to forgive sins, but after his resurrection Jesus told the apostles, "As the Father has sent me, even so I send you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" (John 20:2123). (This is one of only two times we are told that God breathed on man, the other being in Genesis 2:7, when he made man a living soul. It emphasizes how important the establishment of the sacrament of penance was.)
You have my sympathy. This is especially difficult when you have a priest with whom you have developed a rapport. The degree of pain is commensurate with one's involvement in any parish. It's of far less concern to those who show up on Sunday to fulfill their weekly obligation but rarely participate in any other aspect of the community.
For us, a community of only 40 families, this priest is the first one to fully take charge and lead the community in obtaining an actual church in which to celebrate Mass. He is a strong taskmaster which bothers some of the parishioners (one even went so far as to complain to the bishop that the priest "micromanages" every aspect of the parish). Yes! And that is how the work has been accomplished. Today, for example, was the last day of Religious Education classes. He decided it was time for the pre-K through 3rd grade children to learn to pray the rosary. (We also had a 3 year old in the group.) If you are familiar with children at that age level, then you know how fidgety they can be. The children had already been there 1 hour before he brought them forward, explained the rosary to them and then took the time to enforce proper position in the pews. "Sit straight, no turning around, no crossing legs, no twisting ... look forward towards me!" He faced them and used a microphone as we began the rosary. Each time a child began to fidget, he spoke directly to them and lauded those who followed his directions. At the end, we were both amazed at one little 4 y/o girl who loudly recited each and every prayer. He later commented that you can see which parents teach their children to pray.
He drove up to his future parish in Buffalo this afternoon and won't be back until Wednesday. He is determined, however, to see our project through to the end, despite his new assignment and the months of June and July at CUA to work on his Canon Law degree. Check out the pictures at our web site. Click on the Events button.
The web site has been designed by one of our younger parishioners. It's a work in progress, albeit slow because I am the one feeding him photos and information.
Thank you so much for the post and ping! I will remember you, your parish and your priest in my prayers. Please pray for us!
What wonderful priests we have.
Your priest sounds a lot like Fr Carmel. He too is a hard taskmaster, but he does not ask of anyone what he does not expect of himself. His first year at our parish was very rough with more than one letter going to the bishop. We lost some parishioners but as Fr has often said, " I love you all dearly, my people, but I will not go to hell for you."
Your words are basically what our priest final words were to us. We are a community and that community does not end as you walk out the door of the church, it is the only the beginning.
but since my top two sins are sloth and gluttony, well ...
In my area the push is face to face only, grudgingly letting the those who want anonymity have a screen.
Fast forward to our current Sunday parish, St. John Cantius, in Chicago, where confession is highly promoted by the Canons Regular (before, during, and after all Sunday masses),
Wow, what a blessing and an example for other dioceses. I'm not surprised then that they were so accommodating to you.
Yes!!! He says exactly the same thing to us. They are both remarkable priests and we should thank God for the blessing of their gifts to us and our respective parishes. We also need to pray for our new pastors. May they continue the work begun by their predecessors.
Thank you ... so beautiful!
Isn't that the truth. I am a convert (5 years) and at first I was lucky to make one confession a month. Now I go every week.