Confused as to Fraternal Correction

Hi All

I have a question which has been on my mind for a while. I have been trained in law so perhaps I am prone to such perplexities but it appears a real issue nonetheless.

Normally, a Catholic is bound to give a fraternal admonition in the following circumstances, under pain of mortal sin (source: Catholic Encyclopedia):

-the delinquency to be corrected or prevented is a grievous one;
-there is no good reason to believe that the sinner will adequately provide for himself;
-there is a well-founded expectation that the admonition will be heeded;
-there is no one else just as well fitted for this work of Christian charity and likely to undertake it;
-there is no special trouble or disadvantage accruing to the reformer as a result of his zeal.

It would appear a person would not have such an obligation if his brothers’ fault was venial. However, consider the following revelations:

‘Moreover, know that just as all mortal sins are very serious, so too a venial sin is made mortal if a human being delights in it with the intention of persevering.’

Our Lord Jesus Christ, ‘The Revelations of St. Bridget of Sweden’

'Wherefore, know that two sins, which I now name to you, are being practiced and that they draw after them other sins that all seem as if venial. But because the people delight in them with the intention of persevering, they are therefore made mortal. . .

The first of the two sins is that the faces of rational human creatures are being painted with the various colors with which insensible images and statues of idols are colored so that to others, these faces may seem more beautiful than I made them. The second sin is that the bodies of men and women are being deformed from their natural state by the unseemly forms of clothing that the people are using.’

Our Lord Jesus Christ, ‘The Revelations of St. Bridget of Sweden’

My question: if we see a brother taking delight in the performance of a venial fault with no intention to give it up (“intention to perservere”), does this satisfy the “grevious fault” limb of the Fraternal Correction test? Are we, in such cases, deemed to be obliged to admonish under pain of mortal sin?

I would be very interested to hear your replies.

Venial sin is not a mortal sin - even if one takes delight in it without the intention to give it up (such is not something we ought to do and we can pray for others too to give such up -but such is not a mortal sin). One ought not take those words of a proposed saying to be Church Teaching. They are not.

Venial sin yes ought to be repented of and yes we ought to avoid them…and yes doing so (such habit of delight in unrepented venial sins) can dispose one towards committing mortal sin but do not confuse venial sin and mortal sin.

What venial sins does:

1863 Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; it impedes the soul’s progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral good; it merits temporal punishment. Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin. However venial sin does not break the covenant with God. With God’s grace it is humanly reparable. “Venial sin does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace, friendship with God, charity, and consequently eternal happiness.”

Jesus also advised us to pull the log out of our own eye before the splinter in our brothers.

My experience is that logical/rational justifications for fraternal correction are the goto of persons out of touch with their own negative inner motives… whether that be Pharisaism, jealousy, desire to control or an obsession with harmony.

Unless the “brother” is much younger than yourself I would suggest its 9/10 none of your business. If we think it still is our business its usually best to get advice from an objective 3rd party who knows both of us.

A few comments…

This is a translation from Swedish.

Private revelation is not authoritative, though can be helpful. This is not due to the messenger or message, but due to the one receiving the message.

What is normally a venial sin can become mortal, if done out of spite or with such zeal that one would be willing to forsake a Commandment for its sake. Perhaps this is what is being discussed.

In any case, it seems that this would be rather difficult to be sure about. So it appears unlikely to be a useful criterion for measuring the obligation to correct.

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