Difference between sins


Can someone please tell me (or send me a link) the difference between sins, mortal and venial (I think that’s what it’s called)? Is there a list so I can learn what NOT to do? I am new to this and very confused, trying to get it all figure out!



if you have an Apple or Android device, get the free app called “MeaCulpa Pro”

  1. Is there a variety of sins?


There are a great many kinds of sins. They can be distinguished according to their object or according to the virtues or commandments which they violate. They can directly concern God, neighbor, or ourselves. They can also be divided into sins of thought, of word, of deed, or of omission.

  1. How are sins distinguished according to their gravity?


A distinction is made between mortal and venial sin.

  1. When does one commit a mortal sin?


One commits a mortal sin when there are simultaneously present: grave matter, full knowledge, and deliberate consent. This sin destroys charity in us, deprives us of sanctifying grace, and, if unrepented, leads us to the eternal death of hell. It can be forgiven in the ordinary way by means of the sacraments of Baptism and of Penance or Reconciliation.

  1. When does one commit a venial sin?


One commits a venial sin, which is essentially different from a mortal sin, when the matter involved is less serious or, even if it is grave, when full knowledge or complete consent are absent. Venial sin does not break the covenant with God but it weakens charity and manifests a disordered affection for created goods. It impedes the progress of a soul in the exercise of the virtues and in the practice of moral good. It merits temporal punishment which purifies.



Hi navaehniko,

I have used what we call an “Examination of Conscience” leaflet or booklet. Normally the churches that I have been to for confession will put the leaflets out during the time of confession so that you can look at them before you go to confession.

I have gotten the booklet from my local Catholic book store. The booklet usually explains things in a little more detail between mortal and venial sins. I have found this to be helpful for me, too. These booklets go through your sins based on the Commandments and which of the Commandments did you violate when you sinned.

You can also do an internet search for an “Examination of Conscience” too. There are different websites that come up, if you would prefer to look on the internet. There are different ones out there that you can print out and look at.


Generally, mortal sins may include those such as, but not limited to:
Murder (including abortion)
Missing obligatory Mass
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit
Holy Communion received while in a state of mortal sin,


A sin must have three tenants to be considered mortal.

1 It must be of a serious nature.
2 You have to know its of serious nature.
3 You must freely chose to do it.

As Catholics understand if you die with an repented mortal sin you will go to hell. And If you die in the state of grace you will go to heaven.

All other sins that don’t meet the above criteria are venial and don’t seriously jeopardize your salvation.

Hope this helps.

closed #7

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