Do Eastern Catholics believe in Mortal/Venial Sins??


#1

Just curious. Title is the question.


#2

No. At least they wont speak of it as mortal or venial.


#3

There are references in the writings of the Eastern (Byzantine) Fathers to "mortal" sins. Whether or not they mean the same thing by mortal sins as Roman/Western Christians do is another story. I've not actually found any further classifications such as "venial" sins. Mostly the East will speak of "deliberate" and "indeliberate" sins, or they will make reference to "serious" sins (usually referring to the "seven deadly sins" or one of the many classifications of such sins among the Eastern mystics). But I've yet to find any classification of sins into "mortal" and "venial" among the Eastern mystics and theologians. Again, any reference to "mortal" sin in the East does not necessarily mean that they have the same understanding of mortal and venial sin as in the West.


#4

I am Byzantine Catholic as well as my family and, yes, we do believe in mortal and venial sins. And yes, we go to confession and are not able te receive the Eucharisdt if we are in the state of mortal sin. We are under the Pope and therefore follow all the rules that Latin Rite Catholics do! :) We do have more fasting and abstinance rules and more Holy days and a difference in the Divine Liturgy but other than that we are observant of all the laws of the Catholic Church.

Answers to this question are found in the Catechism For Byzantine Catholics on page 21 This book is published by Prow books, 8000- 39th Avenus,Kenosha, WI 53141


#5

I would add to Brother Phillip's response by saying that as fellow Catholics, we have an appreciate for the Western catechetical definition, understanding and usage of these terms.

Insofar as this understanding helps us to make a better examination of conscience, they are surely useful. However, we tend to focus on separation from God, whether that means we have sinned mortally in a single instance or venially in repeated instances, perhaps by habit. The objective of the Mystery of Reconciliation (Sacrament of Confession) is to bring us closer to God and to help us shed our sinful ways. We must be able to be "truly repentant" and willing to "better our lives" as we profess in our Prayer of Contrition.

We do acknowledge that "grave matters" indeed represent separation from God, that must be healed through the Mystery of Reconciliation. While mortal sins can and do constitute grave matters, they do not exclusively represent what may be considered grave.


#6

Not really. We do say in our Liturgy about God forgiving us our sins both "voluntary and involuntary". For Roman Catholics, anything involuntary is not a sin. There alone we have a great divide.


#7

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:6, topic:299630"]
Not really. We do say in our Liturgy about God forgiving us our sins both "voluntary and involuntary". For Roman Catholics, anything involuntary is not a sin. There alone we have a great divide.

[/quote]

Would you agree that we place greater emphasis on examination of conscience, and tend to look at sin alone (irrespective of degree and intent)?


#8

[quote="ByzCathCantor, post:7, topic:299630"]
Would you agree that we place greater emphasis on examination of conscience, and tend to look at sin alone (irrespective of degree and intent)?

[/quote]

The thing about mortal/venial vs. voluntary/involuntary is who we see the passions itself. Because we are afflicted by sin from the start by our very (wounded) nature, the East viewpoint is that we are predisposed to sin. That is why we say we do involuntary sin, because we see it as part of our nature to orient ourselves towards sin rather than God. I see that in my 2 year old son. Often he would not want to share his toys with other kids, often he wants things for himself alone. We could say, "they're young and don't realize it yet." But Eastern theology already tells us that it is the wounded nature of us humans is what already makes us act that way even at the "age of innocence". That is why we give Communion to kids and it is against our theology to actually not give them Communion. From the moment we are born we are fighting sin, thus we need the nourishment from the Bread of Life to do so every second of our lives. That is why we don't have this strict rule of "Confession before Communion" because we do not think for one second that one is trully sin free even for the 30 minutes after Confession that you can make it to the Communion line.

To answer your question, no, it is not just a matter of emphasis.


#9

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:6, topic:299630"]
Not really. We do say in our Liturgy about God forgiving us our sins both "voluntary and involuntary". For Roman Catholics, anything involuntary is not a sin. There alone we have a great divide.

[/quote]

Does "voluntary and involuntary" mean the same thing to Easterns as it does to Latins? Are you supposed to automatically assume that it is to be understood in the same scholastic sense as the Latins? In fact, there are different levels of volition according to the Latin understanding of things. There are things that you may understand as "involuntary" but the Latins may regard as "voluntary" according to their specific definitions. The Eastern distinction between "voluntary and involuntary" may be nothing more than the Latin distinction between "sins of commission and sins of ommission." Have the Easterns gone through such great lengths to define what is "voluntary" and what is "involuntary" for you to be able to make this statement with any sort of definitiveness?

Blessings,
Marduk


#10

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:6, topic:299630"]
For Roman Catholics, anything involuntary is not a sin.

[/quote]

That's not necessarily true. It depends on how you use the word "sin". Sometimes it is used in a loose sense to denote any falling short of God's will for us. Usually, though, it refers to some willful action which damages our relationship with God, and, yes, as far as I know, such an action can't be involuntary.


#11

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:8, topic:299630"]
The thing about mortal/venial vs. voluntary/involuntary is who we see the passions itself. Because we are afflicted by sin from the start by our very (wounded) nature, the East viewpoint is that we are predisposed to sin.

[/quote]

This is what the Latins believe as well. Do you have any proof otherwise? Why do you say "the East viewpoint..." as if the Latins do not teach this as well?

That is why we say we do involuntary sin, because we see it as part of our nature to orient ourselves towards sin rather than God.

The Latins have a similar concept. It seems your distinction between "voluntary and involuntary sin" is similar if not identical to the Latin distinciton between "formal and material sin." If course, the difference could be as little as the distinciton between "mortal and venial" sin. Do you know for sure? Where are the definitive Eastern teachings on what is "voluntary sin" and what is "involuntary sin" to justify your "worlds apart" perception?

I see that in my 2 year old son. Often he would not want to share his toys with other kids, often he wants things for himself alone. We could say, "they're young and don't realize it yet." But Eastern theology already tells us that it is the wounded nature of us humans is what already makes us act that way even at the "age of innocence".

That's true, but I would like to ask you if such mistakes by our little children are considered "sin" in the exact same sense as the sin of a full grown adult.

That is why we give Communion to kids and it is against our theology to actually not give them Communion.

Do we give them communion to strengthen them on their spiritual journey, or because we think God will count these mistakes they make as sins that need to be forgiven in the exact same way that a full grown adult needs his sins forgiven?

From the moment we are born we are fighting sin, thus we need the nourishment from the Bread of Life to do so every second of our lives. That is why we don't have this strict rule of "Confession before Communion" because we do not think for one second that one is trully sin free even for the 30 minutes after Confession that you can make it to the Communion line.

Can you clarify what you mean by "sin free?" Are you saying that even children are inclined to sin and that this is reflected in their actions (something with which I can't comprehend a Latin would disagree)? Or are you saying that little children are actually sinning in the same way that a full-grown adult is sinning (with which I can see a Latin would disagree)?

Blessings,
Marduk


#12

From what I grew up with, that formal distinction is not there. There are some sins that are definitely and objectively more serious than others and the early Fathers recognized this - reflected in the levels of penance that were imposed on penitents for particular sins according to the canons of the early Fathers.

I don’t think anyone will disagree here in the ECF that what the Latins regard as “mortal sin” will always be considered “serious sin” to Easterns and Orientals. I think the distinction is really in what constitutes “venial sin.” I can only speak from my experience as a Copt, but here is the difference that I see:

A “serious sin” to Orientals may fall in the category of “venial sin” according to Latins. Whereas Latins teach that venial sins (though they need likewise to be forgiven) do not need to be confessed directly to a priest, at least Orientals believe that any sin that weighs on your conscience (even if it is formally “venial” according to the Latin definition) obtains the same necessity for confession as “mortal sins.”

Blessings,
Marduk


#13

[quote="chococat, post:4, topic:299630"]
I am Byzantine Catholic as well as my family and, yes, we do believe in mortal and venial sins. And yes, we go to confession and are not able te receive the Eucharisdt if we are in the state of mortal sin. We are under the Pope and therefore follow all the rules that Latin Rite Catholics do! :) We do have more fasting and abstinance rules and more Holy days and a difference in the Divine Liturgy but other than that we are observant of all the laws of the Catholic Church.

Answers to this question are found in the Catechism For Byzantine Catholics on page 21 This book is published by Prow books, 8000- 39th Avenus,Kenosha, WI 53141

[/quote]

:thumbsup:

(noting of course the the Eastern Catholic Churches follow the Eastern Code....so various things can be different --but yes thanks for noting the Eastern Catechism --as a Roman I do not have this one at this time...at least yet.)


#14

[quote="mardukm, post:12, topic:299630"]
From what I grew up with, that formal distinction is not there. There are some sins that are definitely and objectively more serious than others and the early Fathers recognized this - reflected in the levels of penance that were imposed on penitents for particular sins according to the canons of the early Fathers.

I don't think anyone will disagree here in the ECF that what the Latins regard as "mortal sin" will always be considered "serious sin" to Easterns and Orientals. I think the distinction is really in what constitutes "venial sin." I can only speak from my experience as a Copt, but here is the difference that I see:

A "serious sin" to Orientals may fall in the category of "venial sin" according to Latins. Whereas Latins teach that venial sins (though they need likewise to be forgiven) do not need to be confessed directly to a priest, at least Orientals believe that any sin that weighs on your conscience (even if it is formally "venial" according to the Latin definition) obtains the same necessity for confession as "mortal sins."

[/quote]

Brother, thanks as always for your post. FWIW - I was raised in the Byzantine tradition, and what I was taught (early on and to this day) is consistent with that which you have expressed here, including emphasis on your last point (emphasis mine above).


#15

The reality of "mortal sins" (also called "serious sins") is a teaching throughout the Catholic Church. Now in some traditions they may not use the "term" venial but just talk of "sins" and sins that are "mortal" but there is the distinction in the whole Catholic Church.

In MISERICORDIA DEI Pope John Paul II repeated:

“Individual and integral confession and absolution are the sole ordinary means by which the faithful, conscious of grave sin, are reconciled with God and the Church; only physical or moral impossibility excuses from such confession, in which case reconciliation can be obtained in other ways”

"...the Council of Trent declared that it is necessary “by divine decree to confess each and every mortal sin”.(7) The Church has always seen an essential link between the judgement entrusted to the priest in the Sacrament and the need for penitents to name their own sins,(8) except where this is not possible. Since, therefore, the integral confession of serious sins is by divine decree a constitutive part of the Sacrament, it is in no way subject to the discretion of pastors (dispensation, interpretation, local customs, etc.). In the relevant disciplinary norms, the competent ecclesiastical authority merely indicates the criteria for distinguishing a real impossibility of confessing one's sins from other situations in which the impossibility is only apparent or can be surmounted."

"All that I have decreed in this Letter is, by its nature, valid for the venerable Oriental Catholic Churches in conformity with the respective Canons of their own Code."

Given in Rome, at Saint Peter's, on 7 April, the Second Sunday of Easter, the Feast of Divine Mercy, in the year of our Lord 2002, the twenty-fourth of my Pontificate.

JOHN PAUL II


#16

St Vladimir Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church:

"SACRAMENT OF PENANCE (CONFESSION)
before Liturgies or by appointment. Parish members should go to Holy Confession at least once a month on average, or more often if there is a serious or mortal sin. In the case of a serious or mortal sin, one may not receive Holy Communion, until they have first gone to Confession and received absolution. For small or ‘daily’ sins, one may receive Holy Communion as often as once a day, provided they have made an examination of conscience, a sincere Act of Contrition, and recited the Prayer before Holy Communion, found in the text of the Liturgy."

parishesonline.com/script...?p=16&ID=18561


#17

[quote="Bballer32, post:1, topic:299630"]
Just curious. Title is the question.

[/quote]

I am not an Eastern Catholic but will note that yes such is part of the Catholic Faith --it is held by all Catholic Churches to be a reality.

Now some may use different *"terms" *to discuss the reality of "mortal sin" and "venial sin" --such as "serious sin" for mortal sin and "light sins" or just "sins" for venial. But in the Church as a whole differing terms are used (serious, mortal, grave for the one.....venial, light, daily sins for the other). There can be various spiritual approaches too regarding overcoming etc the daily sins....that can differ and even in the same Church (such is the nature of spiritualities and differing schools of theology)


#18

St Vladimir Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church:

“SACRAMENT OF PENANCE (CONFESSION)
before Liturgies or by appointment. Parish members should go to Holy Confession at least once a month on average, or more often if there is a serious or mortal sin. In the case of a serious or mortal sin, one may not receive Holy Communion, until they have first gone to Confession and received absolution. For small or ‘daily’ sins, one may receive Holy Communion as often as once a day, provided they have made an examination of conscience, a sincere Act of Contrition, and recited the Prayer before Holy Communion, found in the text of the Liturgy.”

parishesonline.com/script…?p=16&ID=18561.


#19

Call the priest and ask - you’ll surely get a far more nuanced answer than may be found on the church website.


#20

[quote="ByzCathCantor, post:19, topic:299630"]
Call the priest and ask - you'll surely get a far more nuanced answer than may be found on the church website.

[/quote]

I imagine he wrote it....or dictated it.

Same thing goes for a Latin/Roman Church. One can always say more theologically on many a topic.


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