Confession Question


#1

Here is what I was told about the requirements for a sin to be a mortal sin as stated in my RCIA class.

“Deliberate and free choice of something known to be seriously wrong that destroys our friendship with God and seperates us from him”

The 3 conditions: 1) Must be something serious 2) Must be done with sufficient knowledge of its gravity and 3) must be done with sufficient freedom of the will.

Are these correct?

Here is my question. When I was very young I did something that I knew was very wrong I did it with freedom of will and it was in fact serious. However I didnt not fully understand its full consequences, because although I knew it was bad I did not ever think it could “destroy my relationship with God”. So would this have been a sin? Morally it was wrong but because I didnt fully understand its implications, did I commit a mortal sin? Did I have “sufficient knowledge”, even though I didnt know it could seperate me from God?

Thanks for any responses.


#2

[quote=Kepha45]Here is what I was told about the requirements for a sin to be a mortal sin as stated in my RCIA class.

“Deliberate and free choice of something known to be seriously wrong that destroys our friendship with God and seperates us from him”

The 3 conditions: 1) Must be something serious 2) Must be done with sufficient knowledge of its gravity and 3) must be done with sufficient freedom of the will.

Are these correct?

Here is my question. When I was very young I did something that I knew was very wrong I did it with freedom of will and it was in fact serious. However I didnt not fully understand its full consequences, because although I knew it was bad I did not ever think it could “destroy my relationship with God”. So would this have been a sin? Morally it was wrong but because I didnt fully understand its implications, did I commit a mortal sin?

Thanks for any responses.
[/quote]

I would have to say that yes it was a mortal sin because it fits all three categories.


#3

[quote=MonicaC]I would have to say that yes it was a mortal sin because it fits all three categories.
[/quote]

Even though I didnt have sufficient knowledge that it would seperate me from God. When I was growing up I had no concept of sin or God, I have just recenlty this past year looked to join the Catholic Church so I never thought of it as committing a sin against God. Or is this not what is meant when it talks about “sufficient knowledge”?


#4

[quote=Kepha45]Even though I didnt have sufficient knowledge that it would seperate me from God. When I was growing up I had no concept of sin or God, I have just recenlty this past year looked to join the Catholic Church so I never thought of it as committing a sin against God. Or is this not what is meant when it talks about “sufficient knowledge”?
[/quote]

My understanding of sufficient knowledge is that you knew full well of the sin that you were going to committe. Now in your OP you stated that you knew it was bad.

Like I said this is my own opinion and I am sure some might pipe in if I am wrong.


#5

kepha,

these are things that are best left for your confessor to discuss with you. they can help you with this.
Either way, it can be reconciled in the confessional.


#6

[quote=MonicaC]My understanding of sufficient knowledge is that you knew full well of the sin that you were going to committe.
[/quote]

This is my understanding of sufficient knowledge as well. But is knowing that the act is wrong enough to constitute fully knowing it is a sin? If I have no concept of sin and the consequences which follow committing a sin,do I have sufficient knowledge? Do you understand what I am trying to say, its knida hard to explain. I never thought of it as ruining my relationship with God, and never thought of it as a sin, although I did know I shouldnt do it and it was wrong. Knowing what I know now I would never dream of doing today what I did when I was a child, because I am now fully aware of it consequences not just in this world but in the next as well.

By the way thanks for helping me throught this.


#7

I would agree, you’d be best to discuss it with your confessor next time you have the opportunity. you dont need to know it is a grave sin, you just need to know it is a sin. knowing it is ‘bad’ is the same thing as knowing it is a sin, but using different words. from what you say, your conception of sin didnt change, only the terminology in your mind.


#8

Ok, I’ll mix it up here!

I teach 11th grade CCD, the Confirmation class and we have had this specific discussion when discussing the 10 commandments.

When we discussed the things that were “grave matter” some of the kids were horrified and they couldn’t believe they had committed a mortal sin. Their question mirrored yours - Now that they know what they did was a sin - did it count as a sin - they won’t do it again (hopefully!) and if they do, they know to confess it now.

I told them that with my understanding of “sufficient knowledge,” it would probably not count against them as a sin because they were not fully aware of “graveness and consequences.” HOWEVER, the next time they went to confession, if I were them, I would confess it to the priest and get it cleared up FOR CERTAIN. I hope that’s what they did!

The reason I say this is because a few years back, in the middle of a penance service at church, I had a sudden and horrible rememberance of something that I did many years ago. I guess I “blocked” it out. I immediately made an appointment with our parish priest (very orthodox, btw) to confess. He explained to me that because I knew what I was about to do was “bad,” under the particular circumstances, I did not realize the full weight of my actions. I do now know and realize and that’s why I was there to confess. Therefore, I would not have been guilty of mortal sin. It was good to confess anyway at the point of remembering just to clear anything left standing in the way.

The Sacrament of Confession is always good, mortal sin or not. It’s a wonderful gift that Jesus gave us to keep us close to Him and it should be utilized often!


#9

At a younger age culpability could be more of a factor, like not totally understanding. Regardless, the confessional is the place for grace.


#10

[quote=Kepha45]Here is what I was told about the requirements for a sin to be a mortal sin as stated in my RCIA class.

“Deliberate and free choice of something known to be seriously wrong that destroys our friendship with God and seperates us from him”

The 3 conditions: 1) Must be something serious 2) Must be done with sufficient knowledge of its gravity and 3) must be done with sufficient freedom of the will.

Are these correct?

Here is my question. When I was very young I did something that I knew was very wrong I did it with freedom of will and it was in fact serious. However I didnt not fully understand its full consequences, because although I knew it was bad I did not ever think it could “destroy my relationship with God”. So would this have been a sin? Morally it was wrong but because I didnt fully understand its implications, did I commit a mortal sin? Did I have “sufficient knowledge”, even though I didnt know it could seperate me from God?

Thanks for any responses.
[/quote]

The best place to determine this is in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Mention this action and the circumstances to the priest and let him decide.


#11

Actually DianJo, from what i understand, you do not need to know the graveness, only that it is a sin. a sin is a sin, you either know it or do not. the graveness (whether your know it or not) still adds to the list of mortal sins. kinda like if i shot a man, as long as i knew it was a sin( my knowledge of gravity notwithstanding), and i chose to do it, would make it a mortal sin, my not konwing it was grave, doesnt matter to that point… if that makes sense…


#12

Kepha, you answered your own question. I did some cutting and pasting with your original post. I hope you don’t mind:

My understanding of having knowledge of the gravity of a sin is being aware that it is seriously wrong, not necessarily the full consequences. I don’t think any of us truly understand the full consequences of our sins. To my understanding, the fact that you state you knew what you did “was very wrong” rather than simply that it was wrong, indicates you were aware of the gravity at the time.

I also agree with everyone else here that this is something you need to discuss with your confessor who can offer you the guidance you need.

In my personal experience, unless you’re suffering from a case of scruples, if you start questioning whether a sin is mortal or not, it usually is. At the very least it is wise to confess it and discuss it with your confessor.


#13

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]The best place to determine this is in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Mention this action and the circumstances to the priest and let him decide.
[/quote]

It definitely can’t hurt to mention it to your confessor as Bro. Rich says. Sometimes, if I’m not sure if I just blew it or if the situation warranted the act, I mention this and the priest can either say yeah or nay on it.


#14

Take Newman’s advice. Don’t worry about whether a sin is mortal or venial; let your ordinary repentance be as if it were mortal.

My confessor says, if it bothers you, confess it. That’s not to say one should court scrupulosity but the love of God prompts us to a certain tenderness of conscience.

When I was preparing my life confession (as a convert), I realized while doing my examen that the sins of my childhood (which I had been told “have no place here”) actually seeded the sin-history of my adolescence and adulthood.

So confess what troubles you. As you prepare, you will begin to see the profile of grace and sin in your life; you will learn how God has been with you all along.

Peace.


#15

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