Denial of faith caused by torture


#1

If a person is being tortured, and denies his faith to stop the torture, is he in a state of mortal sin? If the torturers then kill him, would he be damned? It seems that a lack of free consent of his will to the denial would be a mitigating factor.


#2

You can get anyone to say anything you want. You can’t get them to think anything you want.

Edit: well, that’s not strictly true. There are often many methods of doing so. But I was referring to an episode of torture. And hey, I’d be saying anything they wanted me to say well before they got the battery terminals attached.


#3

Why do some Catholics over think these issues of degrees of sin and circumstances. Christ was clear in Matthew 10

26 “So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s will. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.


#4

You are correct that the lack of free consent of the will is a mitigating factor and almost certainly drops it below a mortal sin.


#5

God would of course would know all and judge accordingly…

This particular sin…is rather though quite different than others.


#6

Do you plan on being tortured sometime soon? The fact is that most people will never face this situation, and giving you one answer over another could affect your actions in less dire situations.

Based on the catechism, I think it fully depends on the formation of your conscience and your state in life. A faithful priest faced with renouncing his faith under torture is different than a ten year old child facing the same.


#7

Let us look to all those young child martyrs in the early centuries…and even today…

They have even professed their faith in Christ where as some older persons have …denied him.


#8

I agree that it is pretty clear from Jesus’s words.that denial of the faith is in fact a very grave sin.

Of.course if the person truthfully repeats before death there is always forgiveness. St Peter himself committed this sin and he was forgiven by Jesus because he truly repented. However after st Peter denied his faith I don’t remember Jesus saying anything along the lines that his fear diminished the sin in any way. Instead his sentience was reaffirming his faith three times. So I think it us pretty clear from scripture that yes it is a very grave mortal sin.


#9

vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/saints/ns_lit_doc_20051120_anacleto-gonzalez_en.html

Saint José Sánchez del Río was 14 when he was tortured and killed for not denying Christ.


#10

Hopefully…not necessarily “always”.


#11

God would be the Judge…

One must keep in mind though that the very nature of the sin of denying Christ is rather different than other sins.

One cannot simply say “oh he was tortured so it was not a mortal sin”…


#12

Well, Jesus did warn us, in the end times, people would be arrested, tortured and imprisoned due to his name, we know when the antichrist comes, he will enact new laws against christianity, people will be FORCED to choose, side with the enemy or stand by your faith in God, trying to say this will never happen is wishful thinking and dangerous. but its not really surprising, its quite popular in our times to sort of try to change the meaning of things when we dont like what is being said, is too frightening, or it doesnt fit so well with modern times.

This is actually going on right now, Ive read plenty of articles where people are questioned about their faith and if they admit to being a christian, they are killed, in fact, terrorists were going door to door, asking this one question not long ago in Africa, I believe it also happened in South Carolina over the summer, That young man, Dylan something, he asked people if they were christian, I did read some refused to answer, but refusing to answer that question if faced with death, is the same thing as denying your faith.


#13

earlychristians.org/index.php/acts/item/315-the-acts-of-martyrdom-of-the-scillitan-saints

earlychristians.org/index.php/acts

“I am a Christian!” the constant repeated refrain of those who faced torture and death in the early Church…

Remember too that one does not have the particular grace - to undergo such - until one is faced with such…until that moment…


#14

???

We know that God is always ready to forgive, so if the person is truly repentant (as specified in the statement you responded to), how would forgiveness not be extended?

It is, of course, a further sin to presume on God’s forgiveness, and we should never assume that we will respond at the last moment to the grace calling us to repentance if we have resisted it up to that point, but I see no warrant to believe that God would ever respond to sincere repentance with “Nope, sorry.”

Usagi


#15

If someone commits a mortal sin - they are to confess their sin in the Sacrament of Confession - to be forgiven and restored to life. Such is the ordinary means given by Christ for those who have sinned mortally.

Now if that is not possible is there another way? Yes there is the desire for the Sacrament (at least implicit) …the resolution to go as soon as possible together with an act of perfect contrition (the person being restored to grace by God prior to the Sacrament or where that is not possible).

Imperfect contrition is not perfect contrition and the person is not already back in the State of Grace if they have only imperfect contrition …

A person thus repenting out of only fear of hell for example…is not yet in a state of grace…

So that person “repenting” is not yet in a state of grace…and is in danger of hell…

Jesus is very serious about these matters…as is St. Paul.

You have to take the parables of say the Good Shepherd and the lost coin…together with the parable of the young girls who let the oil run out and did not have time to get more oil and so were shut out when the bridegroom arrived…or the sayings of Jesus that not everyone who says “Lord Lord” will be known…or his sayings to Watch for we know not the day or hour…one has to take those together…

Now can it happen that a person who initially has imperfect contrition …that even in their last moments that God give them the needed grace? Yes that could occur. But as you noted we are not to presume on such…


#16

If you’re being tortured you are certainly not of sound mind and certainly it capable of making reasoned rational decisions. There’s no way you’d be culpable.

We can fantasize about being strong Catholics while facing death by torture, but the reality is that 99% of us would probably crumble like a deck of cards. That’s why those who don’t are honored and beatified.


#17

As to the first - yes there is! As noted above this is a very different sin in nature than others…

As to the second - actually it is better to not think about such too much except to pray for the grace needed and to prepare oneself to pray and to say simply “I am a Christian” (the early Christians did so even under torture…) (see my posts above). (rather now simply turn to the Lord and say I believe in you and I love you and you are my hope and my strength and I trust you will provide…I do not rely on myself but on you and you will give me the grace at the time).

The grace is given in the moment. We are not given the grace ahead of time for that exact moment - until that moment comes and then by the Holy Spirit and our cooperation we can make that profession. And note too… many many many martyrs there have been… only some of such are beatified or made Saints.


#18

You are never held responsible for things said or done under torture or coercion. That’s why soldiers who reveal information under torture are not considered to have committed treason.

Anyone who says otherwise is an “Armchair Martyr” (someone who was never tortured before, will never be tortured, and yet still brags about how they’d never do anything like that).


#19

As noted this very serious sin is of a unique nature…

It may be the case that a particular person may not be fully responsible in a particular case. God will judge.

One does not want simply to say that one is not responsible for things said against Christ under torture or coercion…Our Lord was rather serious about such…and tis part and partial of this sin. One is not to deny Christ even under such pain and threats. Granted someone in our circumstances in the west could deny Christ say for some social reason etc … and thereby commit the sin of such denial…but in the main when* Christ *spoke of such - what was coming? The persecutions of the early centuries…where people were dragged before judges and kings etc…

Tis part and partial of the nature of this sin.

As to the first - yes there is! As noted above this is a very different sin in nature than others…

As to the second - actually it is better to not think about such too much except to pray for the grace needed and to prepare oneself to pray and to say simply “I am a Christian” (the early Christians did so even under torture…) (see my posts above). (rather now simply turn to the Lord and say I believe in you and I love you and you are my hope and my strength and I trust you will provide…I do not rely on myself but on you and you will give me the grace at the time).

The grace is given in the moment. We are not given the grace ahead of time for that exact moment - until that moment comes and then by the Holy Spirit and our cooperation we can make that profession. And note too… many many many martyrs there have been… only some of such are beatified or made Saints.


#20

Matthew 24:9-13 Then you will be handed over to be tortured and put to death; and you will be hated by all nations on account of my name. And then many will fall away; people will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise; they will deceive many, and with the increase of lawlessness, love in most people will grow cold, but anyone who stands firm to the end will be saved.

Matthew 10:3-33 So, if anyone declares himself for me in the presence of human beings, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven. But the one who disowns me in the presence of human beings, I will disown in the presence of my Father in heaven.

Luke 17:33 Anyone who tries to preserve his life will lose it; and anyone who loses it will keep it safe.

I’m sorry but I completely disagree with you on this point. I’m certainly not suggesting that it will be easy to do but we are to stand firm and to choose God.


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