Are all felonies a mortal sin?

Are all felonies a mortal sin by virtue of the fact that they are felonies? If the government decided to make something that otherwise would be a venial sin a felony, like stealing $0.25 worth of bubble gum, would stealing the bubble gum become a mortal sin?

No and no.


As I told the other poster on the other thread, there is civil law by itself does not determine the morality of an action.

There is no way in all of creation, from time immemorial to the end of the ages from one end of the universe to the other, that stealing a piece of bubble gum will ever constitute grave matter, the first criteron for mortal sin.

What is your definition of mortal sin?

Ah, but what if the Church acted like this :eek::eek:
Would that be mortal sin…

Actually, no.

IF the Church legislated an inherently evil law that was ***manifestly ***contrary to the natural law, no, we would not be obligated to follow it. Canon Law is not infallible.

… and no, that doesn’t mean that the Church has ever done such a thing, and neither does it mean it was ever unjust to have things like more strict fasting regulations.

And just to piggy-back off of this excellent point: the fact that a state claims that thus-and-such is a “right” by no means implies that the state is correct. Rights are not manufactured by legislation or by the will of the people, but they come only from God. No one, for example, has a right to murder their unborn baby.

No. The secular government has no authority to make any action a sin; that is the business of the Church.

We are bound to follow the just laws of our nation, which entails pretty much all of them for Americans (if you have questions on what is an unjust law, see this Catholic Answers source).

Roman 13:1-5 is a pretty long text that shows St. Paul’s extensive views on the matter. Stealing a pack of bubble gum isn’t a mortal sin as it isn’t grave matter, but it is a sin because it is willing theft and it is also against the law.

So while the law of the land is important, and we should always follow it, it does not determine what is a sin in itself (the difference is legal vs moral).

And the law of the land defines what is an offense against it (just or unjust) and the corresponding penalties. It does not and cannot define the morality of any particular offense against it.

If a state passes a law punishing the theft of bubble gum to be punishable by death, it does not make stealing bubble gum grave matter. And if a law were passed stating stealing bubble gum will not be punished whatsoever, even though one is not entitled to it, it does not make it less venially sinful because it’s contrary to the natural law.

A person wondering about this ought to read the criminal offenses in the federal criminal code. They’re so broad and so vague, no businessman (particularly a banker or CPA) can be certain he has not committed at least one imaginable felony daily, and all without even knowing it.

ahhh, no. I don’t think so.

but do feel free . . .

. . . and I have and do represent bankers and CPAs.

I don’t know why a new Thread was started on this Topic…but my main question is …

…Does the amount stolen determine whether breaking the 7th Commandment is a mortal or venial sin?

Here’s bank fraud:

Whoever knowingly executes, or attempts to execute, a scheme or artifice—

(1) to defraud a financial institution; or

(2) to obtain any of the moneys, funds, credits, assets, securities, or other property owned by, or under the custody or control of, a financial institution, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises;

shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.

Where’s the “bright line” between that and a borrower knowingly overstating his assets a bit on his balance sheet in connection with a loan application? There isn’t any. It’s just that the U.S. attorneys don’t want to fool with small stuff like that. But they could, and sometimes they do if they want the perp badly enough.

And what CPA hasn’t told his client “now we could put this over on the business side and you would get a big deduction for it, but it’s a bit risky to do it if you get audited”? Conspiring to defraud the government of tax dollars is a felony.

And “bankruptcy fraud” is a very common crime. It’s just that most of the perps are too small time for the government to bother with. I was a bankruptcy examiner at one time in my life, and there are lots of those, usually in the form of understating assets.

I very much doubt it. It would be my belief that the amount matters, but that the intent, objectives and the anticipated effect on the victim would matter more than the amount itself. So, for example, if a man steals a half million dollars from a drug lord in order to finance his wife’s cancer treatment, are we talking mortal sin for sure?

Wow…I hope we can con God that easily when we’re at our particular judgement . :rolleyes:

I’ve had conversations in the past where people stated that canon law was automatically right and that disagreeing with even part of it is sinful.

Actually though would numbers not be a bit of a con?

I am poor and hungry and my wife is sick. I NEED half a mil to cure her and survive.

I am wealthy enough, I see gum and take it when I please because the world is my oyster and all the people merely here for my pleasure.

I would also say that at that point the first is more like a person with an “addiction” mentality and culpability wise, break point of stress and all that.

The latter being particularly directly sinful and not giving a hoot.

Oh and note a few felonies in some localities

Bear training

Doing anything with a llama whatsoever

feeding your pigs garbage without a permit

So yeah…I am sure God is getting all bent out of shape when you get into these hardcore evil acts :shrug:

There are other ways to get cancer treatment for a wife instead of stealing from a drug dealer. Charity, telethon etc.

Steal it ,the judge will say “guilty”!

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