Confused about mortal sin and death

Okay, here is what I am confused about.

Let’s say that there is a really great, holy guy. He loves God, serves the Church, goes to Mass each Sunday, goes on mission trips, etc.

Now, let’s say that this guy is also addicted to porn and masturbation, which is a mortal sin.

The guy quite planly is not completely rejecting God through his addictions, he loves God. Even though mortal sin completely rejects God, this guy does not want to do that, he is simply an addict.

If this guy dies after watching porn, where would his soul go? He loves God, yet he is in mortal sin.

That is what I’m confused about…

Sorry, mortal sin, any type of mortal sin, IS a complete severing of the relationship with God, or more accurately a complete killing of the divine life within you. And will, if unrepented, send you to hell, no matter how many other good works you do.

Picture a man who professes to love his wife and does all manner of things for her as demonstrations of it - takes her to dinner, gives her expensive presents, what have you. Except that he beats her to a bloody pulp every so often. And after having beaten her, never says sorry, never acknowledges the pain or the harm he has caused her.

Such a man, in spite of his professions of love and the good he does for his wife, doesn’t actually love her. If he truly loved her he quite simply wouldn’t do that sort of violence to her so casually and unrepentantly, no?

That’s exactly the sort of violence our mortal sins do to God. Look at a crucifix and see what suffering our mortal sins cause Him. Someone who truly loves God simply wouldn’t do, unrepentantly, the sort of violence to Him that mortal sin does.

Finally - things like masturbation and pornography may not be, if one is truly completely addicted to them and as dependant as an alcoholic is to the bottle or a heroin addict to their fix, a mortal sin. The requisite component of a mortal sin, free consent, may be absent. But of course that is not an excuse to simply continue your merry way. Knowing that your behaviour hurts God even if it isn’t a mortal sin, you’ll make every effort to stop, right?

First of all one must always remember that in order for a sin to be mortal the action must be grave in nature (which the actions you mention are) and the person must know that they are grave and the person must give full consent to commit this act. Compulsion or addiction can reduce the culpablilty and diminish the eternal consequences to that of a venial sin.

Now, on the other hand, if someone really loves God and strives for holiness as you describe then that person would do anything and everything to see that they deal with their addiction to the best of their ablilty. Many times we feed into particular habitual sins maintaining that we truly love God and that we are so weak that there is nothing that we can do to break away from those habits. God knows our hearts better than we do. He knows the lies that we tell ourselves to justify sinful behavior. ALL sins are lies. Sin moves us away from the ultimate Truth (God) and that separation could lead to eternal death.

So, in order to put this in perspective, that person needs to know whether or not they are in the state of mortal sin. Bottom line is that if one is in mortal sin that remains unrepented they will spend eternity in hell. That is 100% their choice and only they and their confessor can work through that. So in this holy, God loving, person’s situation it all boils down to the understanding of what mortal sin actually is and how this person’s love for God exhorts him/ her to a relationship with God whereby he/she would do anything to maintain that relationship.

Sexual addiction cannot for the most part end overnight. It is a willful process that can be overcome with the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. So if this person truly loves God and knows His mercy through the Sacraments, then there is hope for eternal life. No one can fool God. If one is lying to themselves and God by putting an earthly pleasure in the place of God then they place themselves in the eternal separation from God that the Church calls hell.

I hope that this helps…teachccd

:thumbsup: LillyM and teachccd both gave good responses; I can’t think of anything to add. Just keep in mind that an addiction to a sin that constitutes grave matter may not necessarily be a mortal sin.

Here are some words by St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica:

It is in the will’s power to give or refuse its consent to what passion inclines us to do, and it is in this sense that our appetite is said to be under us; and yet this consent or dissent of the will is hindered in the way already explained (1).

(1) Just as in the body the stronger the movement against the order of nature, the greater the weakness, so likewise, the stronger the movement of passion against the order of reason, the greater the weakness of the soul.

I think that in this situation one must be careful to not rely on the fact that addiction lessens the responsibility of the sinner, even though this is true. There is a danger of presumption I think, to assume that a grave matter such as this is venial. Just my two cents.

Jesus Freak, welcome to the forums!

Previous posters are right that addiction can reduce a mortal sin to a venial sin - which may answer your question.

Even if the guy has indeed committed a mortal sin, he still has a chance at Heaven. If he truly repents, and fully intends to confess the sin but didn’t get the chance, he is still Heaven-bound, via Purgatory.


UnderTheRadar is on the right track. Yes, there might be addiction factors in the OP’s post that reduce culpability of the person described. However, he might infact be in much more serious danger in other ways. UtR mentioned one sin of presumption, that of assuming that these are venial sins and doing nothing about it. But I imagine there are other sins at work too: the original pornography sin which may not have been confessed prior to the addiction, sins of ommission on failing to make a well-formed conscience, failure to love God as we should, failing to put God first in our life, rebelling against God’s love, failing to take prudent steps or go to confession, putting oneself in the danger of sin imprudently, denying God’s omniscience (would one look at porn if one had that firmly fixed in one’s head?), potentially causing scandal (if someone who may not knows better could potentially stumble upon the material or act), presuming against God’s divine will (would one act differently if oneknew that this was their last day on earth?), presuming against God’s mercy (if the attitude is that this is ok, God will just forgive me at the next confession), insulting God’s creation (objectify women), selfishness, pride, perhaps lying about these habits, and abusing God’s resources in acquiring the materials, to list a few.

This is a complicated sin. If the actual viewing/acting out is not mortal, perhaps one of the others or their combined effect would lead to damnation. Mary, mother of God, pray for all of us sinners, that we may learn to detest our sins now, and that we will rejoice in the presence of your son at the hour of our death. Amen. Everyone, please pray for an end to pornography.:gopray:

We all die, hope you are not confused about that.

If I were to only know about the the Church from the Catholics that post on these forums I would think everybody is going to hell.


Somehow I don’t think that is right.

It is a contradiction to me that someone can love anybody, God or a spouse, and beat them once in awhile, or hurt them in some way. If the person truly does love them what a sorry state he must be in.

Did it ever occur to you all that people who love someone, such as a husband loving his wife, will hurt the them occasionally? It happens. In a mature loving relationship there is this thing called forgiveness. That is in our relationship with God as well. If you truly love your wife you cannot wait to forgive her if she ever does something to hurt you. I am sure God feels the same way.

Many of the posters on this site want everybody to be worse than they are, or want everybody to go to hell. That is their problem, don’t make it yours.

As far as sin goes, ask yourself a question.

As you are sitting there, watching your porn, what would you do if a woman came up to you naked and took your hand to go have sex? If you would say no, let me finish my porn, you probably are killing the relationship with the woman. Real sex is better than watching it. God and the Church want you to have the best experiences in your life. Anytime you sin you are settling for second best.

In all fairness though, our Church is not very good at being a Church. It is good at having a theology and nice buildings, but not too good at loving the members of the Church that need help. Some other churches are better. What would happen if you wanted to meet that woman, who someday would take your hand, as your wife, and make love to you, and you went to Church and met a good Catholic woman? Or how about if your good Catholic friend introduced you to her? That should happen, but it doesn’t much.

Or how about having dinner with friends, Christian friends, and enjoying it very much, but they never invite you to join them? People need to learn to be socially responsible and gracious. We need to learn to be a community. And for sure not an internet community, a real community.

Anyway, God loves you. Do your best to love Him and all the poor people you see in Church. Everybody has their Cross. Blessed is the man that carries his and help someone else. When God holds out His hand, take it.

Larry, the Catholic Church rightly teaches that God’s mercy is infinite. She refuses to say that a single soul must be in hell (although she certainly does not deny the possibility). Now if you mean, like Paul, that we are all condemned by God’s law, and that we deserve Hell, you are correct. The wages of sin, as God makes crystal clear, are death. But Jesus’s death paid the ultimate redemptive sacrifice, so that anyone who turns to him will enter his glory.

Future sin is not a given, so careful there. We are fallen, but we are called to perfection. When we fall short of the call, we turn back to our faithful Spouse, who does indeed welcome us.

I am sure nobody wants that; please be more charitable here. We all strive for holiness, despite missing the mark at times.

Who is the ‘you’ to whom you are referring? Is the ‘woman’ you mention, this person’s wife? Or are you saying that adultery is less evil than pornography (debatable, I guess)? The point is to turn away from all sin, or better yet, to be so in tune to God’s love, that to turn away from him isn’t even an option.

Our church is awesome - the one, true, holy, catholic, and apostolic church, founded by Christ, and led and renewed by the Spirit. What you write appears to be blasphemy - but perhaps you mean the term to refer to its human instruments only, which is still not a very nice or demonstrable thing to say. We are all connected asone body in the spirit - we show our love in perhaps less socially obvious ways than other Christian communities, but our mutual love reaches its zenith when we gather at Mass to participate in the Eucharist. // Now two women? Your post could use some clarity on this point please.

Catholics in America, on a practical level, seem to have a hard time with community socialization. We never transitioned well from the Old World in which society and faith were so interwoven. If that’s your point, it’s a good one. And, as you say, we need to walk in God’s hands.

Anyways, sin is very real and should not be underestimated. Our sins must sadden God and offend his justice. Still, even before man fell, God created us, and God’s creation was good. We have good tendencies for which God, no doubt, loves us very much. Let us strive for holy perfection and to love as He does.

I am appalled by many people who profess to know the true destinations of ANY of God’s servants after they sin. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone!! Judge not and ye shall not be judged!!

You have NO idea, being sinners yourselves, as am I, where any sinner ends up after death, regardless what they have done. God knows we are all sinners, and will forgive us endlessly for what we have done, even if it’s the same sin over and over and over again. Faith, prayer, and devotion to doing good in this life is all we can possibly do.

As a good friend of mine wrote recently:

“Thoughts are just thoughts, actions are sins. I wouldn’t let it bother you because there is one thing God offers and it is forgiveness. People will sin, it is inevitable, but the last thing God wants anyone to do is dwell on thoes sins. You simply have to repent and move on with your life. If you are genuinely sorry God will forgive you. And, if you sin again, he will forgive you an infinite ammount of times. That is why Jesus died. Don’t dwell on your sins, try to learn from them, and be a good person. That’s all anyone can do.”

I think twice whenever I hear people speak of a vengeful god who will smite any one of us for such sins as masterbation and pornography. Do you know how many men and women do it daily and constantly? How many men have stacks of adult materials in their homes or hanging on their walls in college? Many of these people grow up and start families and maintain beautiful marriages without any of this stuff in their lives. By any extremists’ logic, the flyers in WW2 with the pinups painted on their planes committed adultery and are guilty of lust, despite the good they all did for the world and the oppressed.

Be a good man or woman, let good control you, not evil, and let not your sins worry you into a corner. Live a good life, be a good person, and keep the faith. God will ALWAYS be there for us, no matter what we do in life… we just need to accept him.

Do note Matthew 5:27-28 27* "You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’

28 But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

On Judgment day we will have our sins and actions read off before all souls. Either we will be part of gods mercy or his justice.

A person shall die as he lives. Do not be presumptive of gods mercy and do not despair at his justice. Be perfect fully faithful and strive to please him.

Just an observation on your statement of good works. I don’t think on judgment day we want to have less good works to show God we truly loved him than the person who masturbated and looked at porn constantly. We may receive gods divine justice if we cannot measure up to people who are damned.

Read the passage where Christ talks about how important it is to remove the things that cause us to sin.

Modern talk would say “if your computer offends you, throw it out. It is better to enter heaven without being on line than to go into heaven with the latest Dell processor”.

In this day we use the excuse of “addiction” far to easily. Masturbation is a nasty sinful habit. The way to remove such vice is to foster the opposite virtue - so, work to grow in chastity.

Many posters on different forums I have visited forget the two thieves crucified beside Jesus Christ. The man on the right hand, dying no differently than Christ (much like a present day man or woman on their deathbeds) said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Luke: 23:42) To which Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke:23:43)

Even at our hour of death, we can be saved, regardless of our sins. While I remain aware of the fact that I am a great sinner, I remain confident that the Lord’s love and mercy will be extended to me even in my last moments on this earth… not that I will wait until that time to repent.

and why don’t you “enjoy” life now then wait till you die to repent? is it because you know if you live in this manner you would most likely not repent…

My post was to show that all is not lost because of what we do now, or what we have done in days gone by. If we just remain faithful and try to lead good lives now while we’re still here, we need not fear condemnation over what we do now. Having no shame or guilt over our actions, however, would be a grave problem.

I confess, pray, and repent every chance I get (which isn’t as often as I’d like.) But still, all is not lost.

thanks for the insight…helps me to understand more of what you were saying.
one needs to be diligent in their struggle against sin.

I try and I try, and sometimes I just plain old fail because I let my guard down. I do not say, “Ah the heck with the Lord and his teachings!” I merely dust myself off and say a prayer.

He knows we have these flaws, but as long as I say my prayers, wear my cross, and acknowledge that I have done wrong, then that is my faith bleeding through the fabric of my vices.

What gives me solace now, and was a particularly nice story from the bible that I remember from my childhood days, is found in Mark 5:22-34

*"25 And there was a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well.” And immediately the hemorrhage ceased; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone forth from him, immediately turned about in the crowd, and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had been done to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” *

This story gives me much hope

If ALL of my sins are my plague, then I will keep striving for goodness, reaching for his salvation and mercy. It’s the best any of us can do.

Hope this helps, fbl9 :slight_smile:

Don’t ever give up

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