I had an interesting chat with my father this evening regarding Confession.
I am not entirely sure how it came about, but we ended up discussing venial and mortal sins.
I said that venial sins are forgiven during the Confessor at the beginning of Mass but that mortal sins must be confessed.
He wanted to know why, and I said because we have to. He wanted to know what made a mortal sin a mortal sin. I said breaking one of the big 10. He stated that murdering someone is the same as not going to mass? I said yes.
So- he asked why we have to do all of this. What will happen if he does not confess mortal sins? Why are venial sins forgiven before Mass and not mortal? What makes the two different?


For a sins to be mortal, there must be malice of forethought. One of the ways I think about the difference in sin is by analogy to things children may do and the different levels of punishment or reprimand that a parent may impart.
A young child loses track of time while he is playing and does not come home when first called.
A teenager, not wanting to comply with his/her curfew makes arrangements with a friend to lie about staying overnight. Who will receive the greater punishment?
A venial sin is more like the person breaking a window while playing ball while a mortal sin is the person picking up a rock and throwing it through the window. In either case, the window needs to be repaired. One was done itentionally while the other was an accident. What is your response to the person breaking the window?


If you have the Catechism of the Catholic Church, you might like to review paragraphs 1852 through 1864.

#1861 Mortal sin… It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God’s forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ’s kingdom and the eternal death of hell, …

#1863 Venial sin weakens charity; … Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin. However venial sin does not break the covenant with God. … “Venial sin does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace, friendship with God, charity, and consequently eternal happiness.”

The Church has established the necessity of the Sacrament of Confession for the restoration of the life of sanctifying grace to our souls when it has been lost through mortal sin.



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