Actual sin and objective sin

An actual sin is a sin of commission or a sin of omission, which is done with at least some knowledge that the act or omission was wrong, and with at least some intent.

An objective sin is an act or an omission that in and of itself offends God, apart from the intent and knowledge of the one who acts or who omits.

What are some examples of objective sins that are not “actual” sins?

Or examples of both actual and objective sins?

I’m asking this because often I see on here those saying that because someone is ignorant of an action they are committing, no sin would be committed and it has caused me some confusion.

Read about the three conditions for mortal sin: grave matter, full knowledge, and deliberate consent. Some things which are objectively sinful are not actual sins for a particular person at a particular time, because he lacks knowledge or consent.

The Catechism on sin:


what about venial sins?

Say, if a Catholic is ignorant of the Church teaching on receiving “communion” at a Protestant service. They do so, but learn later what the Church teaching is on that subject. It would be venial sin, but some might say there would be no sin because of culpability. Perhaps they are young, perhaps their parents never taught them well and they are just learning. I have seen similar responses on here to questions such as this.

It seems according to the definition of objective sin, that even if the person is completely ignorant of it, they could be committing a fault and have no idea of it. I’m talking about venial sins here. Culpability does not remove the sin, but plucks it from the actual sin category to the objective sin category.

Seems about right. I can think of certain situations where venial sins can be set into objective sin. If the Catholic eventually figures out that it was wrong, even with past ignorance, and then follows the correct teaching then It is then moved into objective sin I would think. Interesting question, got me thinking about it too.

An error, yes, but no sin, if they have no knowledge. Many things are wrong, objectively speaking. They are a sin for a particular person only if he has knowledge and gives consent.

A Catholic who participates in a protestant communion commits no sin at all if he has no knowledge that it is wrong.

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We are a Church built on objective Truth. If something that was done was objectively wrong, they would be committing an objective sin, though venial. How could lack of knowledge result in no sin? God is offended whether we realize it or not, right?

It isn’t really a matter of transference.
The action is always objectively disordered.
It may or may not be actual sin.

Strictly speaking a non culpable gravely disordered action is not rightly called “sin”.
It is rather “grave matter” or a “grave disorder”.

I have heard many times that we can commit sin without knowing it, because we have some knowledge of natural law and right and wrong written in our conscience. Even without the knowledge, we can commit venial sins because we sin through our wills, not our intellect.

Besides that, venial sins don’t require the same conditions as mortal sins and therefore can be committed without knowing it.

The Catechism defines sin as,

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.”

Because the fault committed is disordered against Truth and Goodness, that would make it a sin regardless of other reasons.

OK. What is the relevance to what I stated?

You said that it isn’t a matter of transference, that a gravely disordered action is not rightly called “sin”. I’m showing you that yes, it is sin. Perhaps not mortal, but it would be venial because it’s contrary to objective Truth.

And I am observing you are slightly mistaken.
One can also engage in grave matter and be fully non culpable.
These concrete actions strictly speaking are therefore not “sins”. True sins are always actual. Sin comes from the heart not the body. Its all in the CCC, but further along from where you quoted.

In older times even imperfections of body were labelled sin.
That is really by analogy. Being blind or lame does not offend God, nor is such punishment for sin.

Actual sin is in general sin, but not original sin which is inherited. You hear people refer to “objective mortal sin”, etc. This is referring to grave matter regardless of the private standards of knowledge or will.

An objective sin that is not actual sin would have to be like grave matter in that it is objectively disordered without knowledge and/or will to the extent that the one who perpetuated the sin holds no culpability of sinfulness, even venially. I am not sure if this is possible and there is probably disagreement among theologians

Not my God, maybe yours.

Obviously not wanting to know is another matter.

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