Do you think that the Catholic Church's Definitions of mortal sin are unreasonable?

I read about things that are considered mortal sins. If this is the case, heaven must be a very small place then. If premarital sin is a mortal sin, then I guess at least 80% of people are going to hell when they die. If masturbation is a mortal sin, I guess at least 95% of people are going to hell. I understand things like murder or adultery or abortion. I just think some of these things are unreasonable. I just look at it if you are a good person, then you can get into heaven. I am just wondering other people’s thoughts on this.

Based on what you’ve asked, I don’t think you properly understand what the Church teaches regarding mortal sin.

Grave matter for mortal sin (eg premarital sex, masturbation, murder) is only one of the three criteria for a person to be guilty of committing personal mortal sin. One needs also to know that something is a serious sin, and freely choose to do it. Most people in a secular society lack proper understanding of certain sins, such that fornication and masturbation are often considered normal. Such people would presumably lack the knowledge required for their sins to be considered mortal. So your assumptions about percentages going to hell are unfounded.


The Church defines a mortal sin as something that is gravely wrong, done with full knowledge and full consent. What could be more reasonable than that?

Based on the descriptions we have in Scripture, the multitudes in heaven seem to contradict that position.

A) The secular culture’s accpetance of something is not an indicator of its morality. God is the author of the moral law. The Church does not determine what is and is not a sin, she merely teaches God’s truth on the matter.

B) One is always able to repent and confess, right up until one’s last breath. So, having committed a sin is no indication of one’s eternal destination unless one is an obstinate, unrepetant sinner.

C) Not all things that are objectively grave matter are subjectively a sin. If one is truly ignorant or one’s free will is impeded, then one may not have committed a “mortal sin”.

But you do not understand the others, because you are a product of the culture in which you live which constantly tells you these things are pefectly fine.

But, we are not answerable to the authors of People Magazine nor to John Stewart, the ladies of “The View”, or our friends. We are answerable to God, who has told us otherwise.

Then I encourage you to study more carefully God’s law and the call to holiness.

That is not the way God looks at it, and it is HE you need to be concerned with. Being a “good person” is certainly necessary, but not sufficient.

Keep learning. Pray and ask God to help you live the beatitudes, particularly hungering and thirsting for righteousness.

The issue here is the weak human inclination to associate commonness with acceptability. In the final years of the USSR, when the country’s knees were buckling under its own weight, thievery was so commonplace that people literally would not keep their windshield wipers on the outside of their cars, because they would get stolen. So whenever it started to rain, traffic would momentarily stop while everybody clipped on their windshield wipers, and then they would proceed to continue driving.

What should be understood is that when sinful and destructive behaviors becomes increasingly commonplace, it becomes all the more important for the Church to rebuke them, not the other way around. The Church would not need to place such a powerful emphasis on the evils of abortion if it weren’t legal to varying extents in different places. So the emphasis on the grave evil of practicing human sexuality outside of marriage is something that must be addressed front and center, precisely because it is so counter-cultural.

No sin is of itself mortal. If you haven’t been living under a rock your entire life, you will know that there is an enormous amount of misinformation, propaganda, and terrible examples that people are growing up with. The culpability of each person’s sinfulness is something only known exactly by God, however you will continue to find things such as fornication and masturbation identified as mortal sins among knowledgeable, well-trained Catholics, and this knowledge is not a burden. It is liberation. Conceding or even downplaying on the issue is the exact opposite of what ought to be done.

Well, you’re right. By all rights all humans should die and go to Hell. Sound harsh? That’s reality. BUT!!! Jesus Christ died on the cross so that all humanity could be justified in the eyes of almighty God if we accept this sacrifice and claim eternal life through His sacrifice by becoming united to the One True Church and participating in the sacraments that HE established on this earth to be the interface between Himself and us!!

I’m really glad you understand how terrible and unreasonable sin is. God loved us so much that he sent his only Son to die for us that we should not perish but have everlasting life!!!

Since you mentioned premarital sex, I’ll throw in my rant.

Since the pill has become very available, young people have become used to recreational sex. What we’ve seen over the decades is

  1. Not only skyrocketing numbers of sexually transmitted diseases, but also types of diseases have exploded. How much money world wide has gone into managing AIDS?

  2. Young women who are having sex without marriage and get pregnant find themselves in a very difficult situation. Abortions have exploded, and the acceptance of abortion as a back up has increased. Do you know the numbers of abortions committed in the USA? Shocking. Tragic.

  3. Those young women who choose to not have an abortion but keep their child have become a statistic in the increase in poverty. The sexual act between 2 consenting people means poverty for women and children, and the taxpayer footing the bill. This does not make for good ‘husband’ material where commitment, love and care of spouse and children require virtue and steadfast love.

If we could wave a magic wand and have everyone follow the law of God regarding sex within marriage and with their spouse, these effects would basically disappear. Think of that. It’s good for individuals, for families, for women and children, for the economy, and for a nation, to follow what God has laid out for us regarding sex and marriage. God’s plan is a good one, if only we believed in it.

And when we do fall short of God’s perfect plan for our lives, He gave us confession where we are washed in the Blood of the Lamb and renewed. What a great gift that is to us! There are many people who are not saints but because of God’s mercy, will be received into heaven. The grace I wish us all.

From this statement, you are dangerously close to Pelagianism , if not already there.

None of us is “good enough” on our own to deserve heaven. That’s why we need God’s grace and mercy.

Apparently in your post, there is no forgiveness of sin?

In fact, you’ve eliminated any definition of sin. And salvation is not available nor necessary? :ehh:

Seems like you eliminated the need for any relationship with the Creator or His only begotten Son. Nice trick there. :rolleyes:

Sorry, I’m not buying it. :dts:

Ah, just read your other posts, you seem to be suffering from poor catechesis, and a guilty conscience.

Enroll in RCIA for the purpose of being confirmed in the Church and you should do better, I highly recommend it! :thumbsup:

There’s also some belief in this idea called forgiveness…it’s worth looking into and pretty useful.

The almost-unanimous consensus of the Church fathers and many, many saints since then is that the number of people saved is small compared to the numbers of those damned. Widespread universalism is a relatively recent phenomenon.

I don’t see why this should be a problem. Jesus himself said that straight is the gate and narrow the way that leads to eternal life, and there are few who walk it. If this seems difficult to you, well, “This is a difficult saying, who can accept it?” was what many of Jesus’ disciples said right before they departed from him. Unless you’re willing to follow that course of action, you might consider reevaluating your assumptions.

Also, I’m not really sure what you mean by “good person” here, since you obviously aren’t using the definition Catholics always and everywhere have used. Things like masturbation and premarital sex are bad. They are bad choices. And you are not a “good person” until you make good choices, like repenting and doing penance. That’s what being a “good person” means. You seem to think “good person” corresponds to some fuzzy and vague internal disposition that isn’t coordinated in any way to external acts. If you go to work and yell at people for no reason all day and then come home and verbally abuse your family, you don’t get to say “I don’t why I act like that, I’m a good person,” because you’re not a good person, you’re just a jerk. There’s no other “you” than how you behave.

Yet the Church also teaches that the moral law is engraved upon the hearts of men, and also that culpability for our ignorance can make us culpable for the sins committed in that ignorance.

Bingo. And more importantly, “full knowledge” and “full consent” are “full” relative to the level necessary for human moral responsibility. It does not mean “full” in the sense of complete and perfect, God-like appreciation. “Full knowledge/consent” means a level of knowledge/consent sufficient for the act to be a truly personal and informed act.

There can be “multitudes” in Heaven that still represent a tiny proportion of all people who have ever lived. How many baptized people have died before the age of reason?

If “being a good person” is sufficient for heaven, than why do we need Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, and why do we need the Gospel preached by the Church, and why do we need the sacraments? Jesus himself teaches, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few." (Mt 7:13)

On the other hand, when asked how many will enter life, he responds not with a direct answer, but “Strive to enter through the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough." (Luke 13:24) That is, don’t worry so much about questions that do not help you–if many are getting in, why worry? You will likely make it regardless. If few are getting in, what does it help to worry? You will likely not make it anyway.–but do what you can, which is to be concerned to do all you can to grow in God’s grace.

Others here have pointed out that grave matter is only one of three conditions for a mortal sin–the others being full consent of the will, and full knowledge of the seriousness of the sin. Those do reduce the chances that so many will be condemned to Hell.

In addition, the Church also provides the needed remedies for sin: the sacraments of Baptism and Reconciliation, and teaching the truth so that those in danger of dying in a state of sin can do something about it.

One of the big dangers of sin is that we are not objective about it–when it comes to our own sin, often our ideas of the seriousness of that sin is weakened, and our will to choose what is right is corrupted. That’s why, when it comes to our own sins, we most need the help of others to keep us honest and committed to what is right.

O sleeper, awake from your slumber and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine upon you and give you light. (Eph. 5)

As Christians we are to live in the world, but not be ***of ***the world letting its secular/atheistic attitudes poison our minds against the reality of sin. Pray much, pray hard to be convicted in your heart of the message of truth.

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