Are there degrees of mortal sin?

Are there degrees of mortal sin? Or mortal sins which would merit more punishment?

Lying is a mortal sin. Rape is a mortal sin.

To me, an untruth (even if you were using it to justify the end of something) is bad, but compared against another mortal sin like rape? Especially a rape that was premeditated?

I have some work experience in criminal justice, and today’s workload has taken a toll on me dealing with all this crime stuff I process for a living :frowning: I’m just finding it really hard to believe that some mortal sins are worse than others.

Anyone ever thought about this?

I am going to do something very dangerous… SPECULATE!

Mortal sins drive God out from us. It kills us spiritually. The consequence is eternal punishment (assuming no forgiveness). I think when it comes to eternal punishment, there is no difference between mortal sins. They all have the same result.

However, Catholics also believe sins require temporal punishment as well, to be made up for in this life or after (Purgatory), assuming you’ve been absolved of the eternal punishment first. I would think (but have no basis for assuming) that the temporal punishment for a lie would be different than the temporal punishment for murder.

I hope we can get clarification from someone who has some study or reliable source in this.

Yes all of em are mortal but yes there are ones that are worse than others…

Yes. Most certainly.

All of em are mortal but yes there are ones that are worse than others…

(and note that lying (an untruth)- while evil and sinful is not necessarily mortal - an example of such mortal lying would be seriously hurting someone via the lie or lying under oath to God)

Murdering ones parents is going to be say worse than stealing $2000 …


Yes, and degrees of punishment in hell.

Now that I’m off work I had some time to research, and I found this Catholic Answers link that advises that there are different levels of eternal punishment.

Isn’t that just from Dante? I don’t think that Catholic doctrine actually thinks of hell as a place of different degrees…

See the post above yours.

Do you think that the punishment is the same for someone who ate a hot dog on a Friday day of abstinence versus someone who tortured and murdered several innocent people?

There are no degrees as far as salvation goes (or loss thereof). A Christian who dies in a state of mortal sin goes to hell.

The Church has not taught whether the experience of hell will be different for different people. This is something that the Church teaches this about heaven, and Jesus alludes to it when he says, “In my father’s house are many mansions,” but the Church has not extended this understanding to hell (although many Catholic theologians have done so, and it is not unreasonable or against Church teaching).

There are certainly degrees regarding on how mortal sin affects us while we yet live. A person who becomes desensitized to sin is less likely to repent before death, and perhaps even more likely to sin further, into a self-destructive cycle.

I disagree. See post #8.

If you eat a hot dog on a Friday during lent, I had heard, that just eating it once is not a mortal sin. But if you totally disregard this, it is. (Of course, this is when I was going to a Church in the Chicago area, and they often had General Penance Services without individual confessions, and they could have been a little more liberal than some churches are. But, maybe I misunderstood, and of course, I never ate meat on Friday during lent because I knew better.

If this hot dog is made of pork, the eater might get punished, but the pig himself might spend some time in “pork-a-tory.” (Ha-ha.)

If you are sorry for murdering your parents & sorry you stole $2000…you confess these sins …then you are forgiven!

Your stay in Purgatory may be longer for the murders, though.

Neither one of them will see the Beatific Vision…so, the punishment is the same. :shrug:

It was taught that unbaptised babies will not see the Beatific Vision, but if true, their punishment would not be the same as those condemned to hell for murder.

I guess they have changed the rules on that?

The babies won’t suffer hellfire…so you’re right, the punishment is not the same.

So someone who dies after stealing an Ipod may not suffer the same pain as a serial killer.

I admit I still struggle with the concept of mortal sin and it’s damning effects.

God is a judge, and a judge comes to know both sides of an issue before making a ruling. To me he would have to give thought and weigh or in this case “judge” on something before espousing a punishment.

I won’t say the Church is wrong on what it teaches us, but I just struggle with knowing what sins are on the small side of the mortal sin scale compared with those on the opposite side if in effect, they all give you the same conclusion. :rolleyes:


1858 Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: "Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother."132 The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger.

(note too that there are many venial sins that fall under the Commandments too…see the CCC on that as well)

Sins on the “lesser” side of mortal sins - are still mortal. They are a choice made in freedom – with full knowledge and deliberate consent. They all are a choice that is “deadly” -but the further consequences and effects will be different depending on what the grave sin was.

Yes certainly God judges in seeing more than “both sides” - but everything! And desires not the death of the sinner -but life. Mercy desires to give us that life again! The Good Shepherd loves his sheep and want to heal them and give them life…even if it is in the last moments of earthly life.

God though allows us to make that choice in life and if we persist in that choice to the end - it is our choice. We are to choose life and to enjoy life - but God in giving us the freedom to love and choose truth and goodness…to choose God - there is also the freedom to choose to freely turn away from God to something else.


1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves…"

“To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called “hell.””

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