Difference between venial sin and imperfection


Could anyone provide me with some more information about how I can make a distinction between my imperfections and my venial sins?


A mortal sin is a sin that can lead to spiritual death, a venial one most likely wont, both are imperfections, one being very serious.

1 John 5:16
He that knoweth his brother to sin a sin which is not to death, let him ask, and life shall be given to him, who sinneth not to death. There is a sin unto death: for that I say not that any man ask.


From my examination of conscience, which has a nihil obstat and imprimatur:

“Imperfections are not sins and do not need to be confessed. It is not always easy to make the distinction between venial sins and imperfections. Some things are imperfections because they are very small, other things are imperfections because they are dispositions of the soul and not willful actions or failures, still others because they are habitual. It is very helpful to be aware of imperfections because as one grows in the spiritual life, the imperfections, voluntary and involuntary, become areas where attention must be given in prayer.”

For more explanation, you can get your own little booklet from the Leaflet Missal Company. Here is the link. This booklet is tremendously helpful in learning about mortal sins, venial sins, and imperfections. It even has a page to follow along during the sacrament of confession, with an act of contrition.:thumbsup:



One can distinguish in this way generally:

Venial sin is:

(Compendium issued by Pope Benedict XVI)

  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.


An imperfection can be said to be --when good is done -but with say with less generosity then one can. It is weaker than ones gifts. It is weak but good. I do my work - it is done and is good -but really I could do it better… There is “imperfection” present.


Here is an example. It is a sin to not do my fair share of chores around the house. Sometimes I forget to do a chore. My forgetfulness is an imperfection, so I could not have committed a venial sin in that instance. Of course, knowing I have that imperfection, I have an obligation to aid myself in some way to remember this stuff. So I put it on the calendar ahead of time and write a to-do list on the day I need to do it. That is, an imperfection can remove culpability for a venial sin, but the person needs to do their best to limit the effects of that imperfection. If you are worried though, there is nothing wrong with confessing “just in case”.


super answer!!!


An imperfection is:

About doing a good act (be it of obligation or not) but doing it “less perfect” then one can.

An imperfection can be said to be --when good* is done *-but with say with less generosity then one can. I do my work - it is done and is good -but really I could do it better. Such may be involuntary or voluntary.

Or it can be happen due to involuntary inattention (one makes noise in going into the Chapel or one sings too loudly due to ones mind involuntarily wondering). *(the act being good or at least indifferent itself–such as singing).

Or it can be when I choose between goods. Both good -but the one is less good -thus the choice of the lesser good may be an “imperfection”.

(Now can say venial sin enter in with imperfections? Yes - such as one is say lazy etc etc. But in itself one can distinguish between venial sin and an imperfection.)


Thanks a lot for your answers!


I don’t see that it makes any difference trying to distinguish between the two as neither require Confession.


I don’t see that it makes any difference trying to distinguish between the two as neither require Confession.

There are various reasons but one can be that it is important to know that something is not a sin to choose.

(though again as I noted above it is also possible that sin can enter in too)


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