Are all Mortal Sins Equal?


I just wanted to know if for example: is pornography less of a mortal sin then something like murder? I know both can be forgiven but just wanted to know?


Equal in what way?

They are all equal in that they deprive us of sanctifying grace and will result in us going to hell if unrepentant.

They are not equal in the other effects of sin - the damage done to others or ourselves. And they may not be equal in the damage the sin does to our relatsionship with God. Certainly, He forgives us any sin when we repent, but the sin may damage the relatsionship itself in terms of our ability to progress in our faith.


A mortal sin anything that by our own volition cuts us off from receiving God’s grace and spiritual life - so the important reality is that ALL mortal sins have the same impact upon us. It is human perceptual limitations that ‘see’ one serious sin as not being as bad as another. This sort of ‘judgment’ might work in a human law court, but things aren’t the same at the spiritual level.

Best to treat ALL mortal sins as the killing of meaningful spiritual life/activity in the soul, and that this needs to be remedied ASAP by all means available to us.


No. The Council of Florence defined that there were different levels of punishment in Hell, and thus certain mortal sins are graver than others.


Hell is being cut off from God for eternity - Purgatory is not.

Can't see how there can be 'levels' of being cut off from God for Eternity. Maybe there are levels of Hellish introspection, but they are self-generated, surely?

I am reminded of the question, 'which is worst, being killed by a head shot from a bullet, or being killed under the wheels of a speeding truck'? Either way the result is 'permanent' death.


Ahh… you took my example.:smiley:

When I hear questions like this it always makes me shudder. Why? Because some mortal sins are more insideous. Most people know in the depth of their souls that taking a life is bad, but “lesser” sins??? Too often we use comparisons like this just to justify the lesser sin. That allows those sin to more firmly anchor their hooks into us as they drag us to hell.


No - All Mortal sins are not equal in the same way that being shot though the heart with the smallest bullet is not the same as being shot through the largest bullet. One bullet may be smaller than another but the net effect is the same....Death.

Now - if your question relates to what is necessary for forgiveness - restoration etc...There can be some differences there. Of course all sin requires repentance and a firm commitment to "sin no more". However there can be differences the penitential aspects.

Highly personal and private sins, would require largely internal changes to correct the underlying faults. More public sins would require the internal efforts but might also require more external effort in order to make restitution where possible.

Examples of the difference would be - overcoming the private sin of pornography requires that one dispose of all sinful materials, but the main effort is largely going to be internal.
If the sin is theft - the internal effort will be required, but in addition the external need to make restitution (in so far as possible) is added.

Is this the kind of thing you were thinking about?



Pornography, though always a grave matter, is not always a mortal sin. If a person has an addiction it lessens thier free will and reduces it to a venial sin


This is true in many cases to a point…but only to a point.

A person is not born with an addiction to porn. At some point they make the choice to engage in the behavior and only later become addicted. So the question then becomes - what was their level of knowledge and consent when they first sinned?
If they were raised Christian and been taught that such things are sinful…then mortal sin applies. Only later, after repenting of the sin, does the possibility of decreased culpability due to addiction enter into the matter.
Likewise, the person who was not raised Christian can claim a lack of knowledge of the sinful nature of the act - and again reduced culpability would apply.

Of course there are many permutations of this so particulars must be dealt with between penitent and confessor.



I take your point about levels of insideousness - but don’t forget that these degrees of ‘habit’ are in accordance with the perceptions and emotions and temptations of the individual and these may and do vary. -Also the danger is this side of life, once consigned to Hell it is effectively for that individual, ‘game over’. :sad_bye:


[quote="TheHolyTrinity9, post:1, topic:330834"]
I just wanted to know if for example: is pornography less of a mortal sin then something like murder? I know both can be forgiven but just wanted to know?


While there are different levels of gravity (e.g. theft is less grave than murder) it doesn't really matter because whatever mortal sin is committed if you die in that state you go to Hell.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit