Are these mortal or venial sins?

  1. I have a bad habit of saying “Oh my God!” when I’m surprised, angry or excited. Does this fall under taking the Lord’s name in vain, and is therefore considered a moral sin?

  2. Is it a mortal or venial sin to entertain, for about 30 seconds, impure thoughts in your head, without acting on them (i.e not masturbating to them)? Specifically if the thoughts are about someone of the same-sex? (I’m sorry if this is verging on graphic…)

  3. This is probably a horrible idea in general, but is it a mortal or venial sin to hang out with someone whom you know has been the crux of your impure thoughts in the past? (Like, I struggle with same sex attraction but have never ever acted on it in real life. However, I ~do~ have a crush on a straight girl…but as I said, she is straight, so nothing would ever happen anyway, but is it still a mortal sin for me to be around her, since she does unknowingly inspire ‘impure thoughts’ in my mind? (Aside from my stupid self finding her attractive, she is really just a very nice and cool person to be around.)

  4. I started watching a great show, but there is a gay character (actually 3 of them) in it, and the relationship between two of the characters gives me impure thoughts. Therefore, if I kept watching the show, would that be a mortal sin that I would have to confess every single week?

Thanks, and sorry for any repetition in these 4 questions. I just want to be a better Catholic and a better person, and it’s hard sometimes, but I really want to be better. Thanks. :o

These are questions to ask of your priest, in confession or via a conversation. People here could discuss the nature of such sins, but no one but your confessor can properly advise you on whether any given sin is venial or mortal for you personally.

A mortal sin must be a) a serious sin, b) done with knowledge that it is serious sin, and c) done with full consent of the will. So to take one example, taking the Lord’s name in vain is considered serious, but if it’s something you blurt out without thinking, it couldn’t be a personal mortal sin. It’s still of course something you shouldn’t do. But as above, please discuss with your priest.

Welcome to the forum.

Thanks for the welcome, Underacloud!! I am going to confession this Saturday, so I will ask a priest those questions. Hopefully he won’t think I’m* too* much of an idiot! :stuck_out_tongue: As for taking the Lord’s name in vain, I am really trying to stop doing that. It’s such a bad habit, and thankfully I’ve become more aware of it lately.

“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” -Matthew 5:28

I struggle with lustful sins aswell. :S

SummerChick,

underacloud has given you good advice. Regarding #4, it seems that continuing to watch the program would be exposing yourself to the near occasion of sin. If hard to resist the sin, please, seriously consider not watching the program anymore.

It is good that you are going to confession! Conversing with a priest can help a lot, and God’s forgiveness is wonderful.

As for your questions - I would think that you want to avoid impure, lustful thoughts. That includes “occasions of sin,” ie. occasions that you know ahead of time will put you in contact with something that will weaken your resolve and bring you to sin. So when you commit the formal sin, it might not be with full intent, but knowingly placing yourself in a situation where you won’t be able to resist is a sin in itself. If someone’s sin is drunkenness, then it isn’t sinful to have a couple beers - but it is if he knows while sober that after two beers he will lose control and have 8 more. There are, of course, nuances to this (some occasions are not always avoidable) that you could read about in the Catechism or speak to your priest about.

I have read the already posted responses to your questions and they are good answers. Whether a sin is venial or mortal depends on the three circumstances mentioned, however there are many things that only a priest, who is graced with the knowledge of that kind of discernment, can determine. If you are struggling with feelings of doubt, guilt, or shame, always bring these issues with you to confession/reconciliation, so that they can be confessed and you can reconcile all of your issues with God and his Church.

When it comes to sin, no scripture can define a specific deed as a sin in every circimstance. A sin a an offense against God and against one’s own conscience and reason. One can do what is forbidden by God’s law and not be sinning: For example, Elijah builds an altar outside of Jerusalem, which, in the Old Covenant, was one of the greatest sacrileges one could commit. He, of course, was not sinning when he did this. It was something that glorified God and converted many people. How could something like this be offensive to God?

On the other hand, King Saul was blameless and upright. None the less, he offended God in pointing this out to Samuel when Samuel declared Saul to not have fulfilled his command. Don’t be a goody goody. If you nit pick at your life, you are probably nit picking at the lives of those around you. If you were to overcome your sin in the midst of sinners, what would become of you. If there is, indeed, sin in your life, perhaps you were delivered over to it for your salvation from greater abominations. Simply examine your conscience, confess what you wish to confess (with your priest) and let what he says be sufficient for you to go on with your life. When you sin and run away, you live to sin another day. At least you live, and, on the other hand, you do good at the same time.

You have already received much wonderful advice - really the best is to talk with your confessor - so I hesitate to add to this since I do not wish to confuse…but taking your questions one at a time…and taking into account “underacloud’s” excellent and summary of what is necessary for a sin to be mortal…

This is indeed a bad habit…but probably does not rise to the level of a mortal sin because it is done without any real “thought” and consent. That said…It is obviously something you want to try to overcome.

  1. Is it a mortal or venial sin to entertain, for about 30 seconds, impure thoughts in your head, without acting on them (i.e not masturbating to them)? Specifically if the thoughts are about someone of the same-sex? (I’m sorry if this is verging on graphic…)

The key word here is “entertain”…this indicates a conscious decision to engage in the impure thought thus fulfilling the free consent requirement. Such thoughts are always “grave matter” so we have two of the three aspects fulfilled. However, since you are here asking the question - it appears that the “knowledge” aspect is not fulfilled and therefore you did not commit a mortal sin.
Of course - you no longer have that luxury. Now you know it is grave matter…and any future conscious “entertaining” of such thoughts would be more serious sin…possibly even “mortal” (discuss with your confessor).

  1. This is probably a horrible idea in general, but is it a mortal or venial sin to hang out with someone whom you know has been the crux of your impure thoughts in the past? (Like, I struggle with same sex attraction but have never ever acted on it in real life. However, I ~do~ have a crush on a straight girl…but as I said, she is straight, so nothing would ever happen anyway, but is it still a mortal sin for me to be around her, since she does unknowingly inspire ‘impure thoughts’ in my mind? (Aside from my stupid self finding her attractive, she is really just a very nice and cool person to be around.)

This becomes much more involved and you really need to have a good long talk with your confessor.

  1. I started watching a great show, but there is a gay character (actually 3 of them) in it, and the relationship between two of the characters gives me impure thoughts. Therefore, if I kept watching the show, would that be a mortal sin that I would have to confess every single week?

If you continue watching this program, knowing what will happen then yes you are sinning. If you confess the result of this decision while intending to continue watching the program - again knowing full well that you will sin - then there is serious question about the validity of your repentance.
Confession is not like going to traffic court and paying a fine while fully intending to speed again. Confession, and absolution, requires a genuine repentance and intent to “sin no more”.
Let’s examine the Act of Contrition (the one I learned as boy)

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended thee,
and I detest all my sins, because of Thy just punishments,
but most of all because they offend Thee, my God,
who are all-good and deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more
and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

If you intend to continue watching the program…can you honestly say you are “heartily sorry”? That you “detest” the sin" That you believe God deserves all of your love? That you resolve not to sin again? That you resolve to avoid the “near occasion” in the future?

How you answer these questions indicates how sincere your repentance is and therefore how valid your confession will be. Take care in this. Prayerfully reflect on it as you move forward.

Thanks, and sorry for any repetition in these 4 questions. I just want to be a better Catholic and a better person, and it’s hard sometimes, but I really want to be better. Thanks. :o

God bless you for this desire. I hope that my comments serve to help you.

Peace
James

Taken from a very reputable book from the 19th century called *The Way of Interior Peace *by Fr. Eduard Lehen, pg. 99:

“To a mortal sin belong three points: 1st. Weighty matter; – a jesting lie, for example or a vain, self-conceited thought, is not sufficient for a mortal sin. 2d. Full knowledge of the evil; that is, the deliberate consciousness that what one does is a mortal sin. This excludes all cases in which the sin proceeds from surprise, or in which the soul is not full master of her powers; as, for example, in half-slumber, and the like. 3d. Full consent of the will to that which the understanding knows to be mortal sin. As long as the consent remains imperfect, or we are conscious of a certain hesitancy, a deferring, or a reproach of conscience in consequence of our neglect in combating the temptation, the sin is only venial.”

If putting yourself in a particular situation puts you in grave danger of committing a mortal sin, then this is a near occasion of sin that is mortally sinful in itself: in other words, putting yourself in this occasion of sin, knowing that it could be gravely harmful, would be a mortal sin on your part.

God bless you.

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