Does mortal sin destroy all charity?

Hey there!
I just posted this in the ask an apologist thread
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=248449
and am VERY greatful to Fr Vincent for giving me a start to the answer on this matter. It’s great to hear he didn’t think that I was mortal sinning! However I’m still a little confused and was hoping to delve in a bit deeper on discussion on the matter.

The posting- Does mortal sin destroy all charity?

I’m so confused and almost want to guess ‘no’ as I know many people who commit mortal sin that still love God with all of their heart.

For example even myself, I’ve not woken up for Mass when my alarm clock has gone off. The church says this is ‘grave’, I ‘know’ the church says this is grave, and although of course I would never really want to skip, in that moment I’m willfully choosing my self and sleep above God.

But after I still have LOVED God just as deeply and ardently as before while in this state of mortal sin- woke up, hated myself for sleeping, said a rosary, made sure to go sometime during the week. If I were to have died I would NEVER choose to be separated from Him.

I can make this work with the CCC to a point

1855 Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man

1822 Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.

So in mortal sinning I’m not loving God above ‘all’ things but I can still LOVE him, thus being capable of repenting.

But then the CCC seems like it contradicts itself the further you read on Hell-

1033
We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves.

And then according to this, in a state of mortal sin we don’t love him, our souls are in a place where we would willfully choose to separate our self from him at death.

Help I just can’t make this work (knowing myself and others who mortal sin and still passionately love God while in the state- would so choose Him and Heaven if died without confession) and reconcile in my mind or understand what mortal sin does to us.

Does mortal sin destroy Charity? Thanks so much!

I’m still confused a little by Father’s response, does the Church take the position of the first set of quotes that we just don’t love him ‘above all things’ when we loose charity/mortal sin?

Or the second? That we don’t love him at ‘all’ if we loose charity/ mortal sin?

If not at all, how could we ever repent? A lot of people out of a deep love do make ‘perfect contritions’ no?

Any thoughts?

If people in mortal sin make a perfect act of contrition, it is purely by the grace and power of God. Mortal sin is basically saying no to God and His will. It’s a total rejection of Him. Only repentance or a change of heart back to God can restore true friendship with Him.

Hi Mark! Thanks for the response!
So you are saying that people who commit mortal sin don’t have any Charity, love of God, correct?

I’m not sure how saying no to God and his will mean someone doesn’t love him at ALL though…

Even kids say no to their parent’s will, and turn their back with a particular act. How about a rebellious teen- does this mean he has NO love for his parents? Or even a more serious case where a husband slips and cheats on his wife, does this necessarily mean he has absolutely NO love anymore? Maybe not love ‘perfectly’ and above ‘all else’ but couldn’t there still some level of genuine love?

I was hoping that’s what the catechism means when it describes mortal sin and then says charity is the “love of God above all things”. According to this line of the CCC if you loose charity couldn’t you still love God on some level?

Well, Scripture does tell us that love covers a multitude of sins.:shrug:

Repentence which is a fruit of grace is the start of love. When you offend someone, the way to healing that relationship is through an apology (admitting one’s wrongdoing and vow to change). The same with God. We cannot love him until we admit that we have offended him and our desire to change. Otherwise, the relationship remains severed because you can hardly love someone you’re in defiance against.

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Thanks, it makes sense about Repentance being the Fruit of Grace if indeed there is NO love.

But again I’d question whether there is NO LOVE from what the Catechism says the definition of charity is. And about defiance automatically meaning ‘no’ love as my example of the rebellious teen.

This has been driving me crazy and I’ve been researching and researching ‘charity’- all founding fathers/ all definitions I have seen hold Charity as the “love of God above all else”.

So I’d still hold it’s possible to mortal sin and still love God, not above “all else” but still love him. Thus capable of making a really quick return.

Hi Jill :wave: interesting question. Hmm. Let’s suppose that mortal sin does destroy all charity. (Although, I don’t know if it does). But there are still millions of people, who do seek the Sacrament of Reconciliation. If charity is not the motivator… than what is?

I would have to say that it is the Mercy of God (His love for us). And once we have been forgiven our sins (mortal and venial)… then we are re-infused with Christian Charity? Does that make any sense at all? I guess (like most of my musings) it is a very simplistic way of looking at it.

But having had a stunning personal experience of God’s Mercy; His Mercy, prompting me… a sinner… to seek forgiveness… when it was the farthest thing from my mind. I am very apt to believe this. God bless. :slight_smile:

Jill,

You are on the right track.

The Charity that is being referred to in the Catechism passage, and in most instances you will find, is the supernatural infused virtue of Charity. This is one of the three *theological virtues, *along with Faith and Hope, because it is a)directly infused by God and b) it has God as its object.

But the virtue of charity (or, likewise a specific act of charity) can also be *natural. *If it is a natural virtue it is acquired like any habit – through repetition and exercise. If it is a natural act, it is performed like every natural act – through one’s own power. In either case it is a) not infused, b)not supernatural, and c) not vivified by grace and therefore d) not meritorious.

This natural type of charity IS however good. It is still the love of God – just not above ALL things.

When you commit a mortal sin you chose a created good (or at least something that is under the appearance of good) OVER God. This destroys the supernatural virtue of Charity. The other two theological virtues of Faith and Hope can remain – unless the sin you committed was directly related to them (i.e. apostasy would destroy the virtue of Faith as well as Charity).

So to sum up, if one loses the supernatural (theological) virtue of Charity through mortal sin, one can still love God, but just not for *His own sake, above all things. *This explains why, in Mortal Sin, we can still perform acts of religion (going to Mass, saying the Rosary, fasting, etc). These actions, of course, are not vivified by grace and are not meritorious for eternal life, but they remain good and worthy actions.

Any help? What do you think?

VC

Charity and love are different.

I believe all “worship”, and “mimic” God ( newconscience.googlepages.com/theexistenceofmorality-andhowallmimicgod ) but that evil consists of ill-proportion. Love, is acting in the nature of Esse, Yahweh- Life, Existence, Reality, Jesus, God.

Charity is perfect love from God. To quote Trent, as father does "The Council further teaches that, though contrition may sometimes be made perfect by charity and may reconcile men to God before the actual reception of this sacrament, still the reconciliation is not to be ascribed to the contrition apart from the desire for the sacrament which it includes."http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04337a.htm

it is heresy to say that God can cause the perfect sorrow required for forgiveness without the influence of the Paraclete,

for more, use scripturelink.googlepages.com 's search.
i’ve created one under contrition scripturelink.googlepages.com/search?cx=001763116401597409521%3Af7idlv7awxw&cof=FORID%3A11&q=perfect+contrition&sa=Search#1228

the main page allows a full google search with cache. it also has articles…

:slight_smile: :wink: :o :frowning: :rolleyes: :thumbsup: :blush: :cool:

Hi back Marie :slight_smile:
It is all interesting to ponder isn’t it? Hmm according to VC’s response this ‘natural charity’ that some still have in mortal sin could very well lead us to repent. I think that there are times in mortal sin where there is a true aversion/malice to God where repentance can only be caused be Grace.

VC- THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! This is like Christmas to me, I’m telling you for a year I’ve been trying to figure this out to no avail. I’ve had deep issues with not being able to understand what the CCC says about mortal sin, and also that God sends those that Love Him and who would choose to be with Him to hell, partly due to my abusive past with my own father.

My understanding about mortal sin “killing” charity was absolutely PIVATAL for me.

This is fascinating about the distinction between supernatural vs natural charity… :o May I ask where this comes from? One of the founding fathers?

So can I take all this a step further? We can have overwhelming hope for the many souls who still have this ‘natural charity/ love’ of God- the ones who still pray, do good works. Since they still have some level of ‘love’ it seems to make a perfect contrition it wouldn’t be that hard.
At death for such a soul it truly wouldn’t be all about fear of hell. All they would have to say is " I’m sorry. I still love you. I still love “love”.

However it’s when we sin mortally and don’t have this ‘natural charity’ that we are in extreme danger. For we’re not going to repent so readily. This repentance would be dependent on our being open to Grace.

I will note that I think it’s still dangerous being in the ‘natural charity’ state of mortal sin. You’re in a state of self exclusion from so much grace and only a step away loosing the ‘natural charity’.

You are welcome, Jill.

Let’s continue to clarify things a bit, if you want. Perhaps this can be an ongoing conversation in this thread,in order to hammer out all the details as much as possible.

[quote=JillH200] So can I take all this a step further? We can have overwhelming hope for the many souls who still have this ‘natural charity/ love’ of God- the ones who still pray, do good works. Since they still have some level of ‘love’ it seems to make a perfect contrition it wouldn’t be that hard.
[/quote]

That might be a step *too *far. Although it is possible for someone to perform morally good actions without grace (recalling that those actions are NOT meritorious), people without grace most likely cannot *persevere doing *all the good that is required. Furthermore, NO amount of good works without grace vivifying them, have any bearing whatsoever on Eternal Life. You can’t do something naturally to achieve something that is above your nature (which is why we call those things supernatural). So you can’t do natural things and hope for heaven.

Perfect Contrition is sorrow for sin arising primarily out of the love of God whereby He is loved above all else. This is beyond our human capacity – and it is only possible through cooperating with actual grace given by God.

It is true that an act of perfect contrition can restore one to the state of grace and friendship with God, and revives the supernatural infused virtue of Charity in the soul. In a certain respect Perfect Contrition and Supernatural Charity are coextensive (they are two sides of the same coin, so to speak.)

For a Catholic, perfect contrition MUST include the explicit resolve to avail oneself of the sacrament of penance as soon as possible. (For a non-Catholic, this resolve could hypothetically be implicit. . . they would seek the sacrament if they knew that it was a requirement).

In any event, perfect contrition is not easy. In fact it is totally beyond our natural powers.

But I think you are on the right track to note that those who still do have the natural virtue of loving God, and who are naturally good, and who do perform acts of religion, etc, may be more open to and able to cooperate more readily with the grace which leads to repentance. Of course, even the most hardened and obstinate sinner, who hates God, can still be moved by grace to repent.

Just a quick note here. Perfect contrition is *completed contrition – *it is when sorrow for sin rises to the highest level which is sorrow out of love of God who is loved for His own sake. It does not mean that the lower motives can’t still be present. So attrition (sorrow for sin out of fear of punishment or Hell) can still be present – but so long as it is not the primary motive of sorrow, you can still have perfect contrition.

What are your thoughts? Let’s keep this conversation going?

VC

Jill,

I just wanted to mention an important caveat. It was appropriate for you to put “natural charity” in quotes, because, like I mentioned in my first post when charity is used it usually (almost always) denotes the theological virtue of charity. Hence there isn’t a natural “charity”.

I used the phrase “natural charity” to try to describe the natural love one can have for God even if one does not have the theological virtue of Charity whereby God is loved above all things and for His own sake. Natural love for God does not love God for His own sake, nor above all things – but it still can be love for God, and it can be good.

I hope that clarification helps as you continue to think and research about this.

VC

Hey there VC!

Before we get into the rest, just for my own curiosity, can we clarify what is meant by our works done out of natural charity are not “meritorious”? Does that mean just that they don’t merit salvation or rewards in heaven? I agree with that as the Church teaches that it is through GRACE that our works merit anything eternally.

But could charity outside of grace still merit/benefit us in a temporal way down here on earth? The good works would move our soul along towards love and union with God, in this case leading us to repent?

Anyway… back to the main topic!

Although it is possible for someone to perform morally good actions without grace (recalling that those actions are NOT meritorious), people without grace most likely cannot persevere doing all the good that is required. Furthermore, NO amount of good works without grace vivifying them, have any bearing whatsoever on Eternal Life. You can’t do something naturally to achieve something that is above your nature (which is why we call those things supernatural). So you can’t do natural things and hope for heaven.

I agree without supernatural Sanctifying Grace it could be very hard for people to persevere, it’s a dangerous place to be in for sure. But my hope is because they have a natural inclination to love both God and neighbor still, they will with God’s grace be very inclined to repent.

Perfect Contrition is sorrow for sin arising primarily out of the love of God whereby He is loved above all else.

It is true that an act of perfect contrition can restore one to the state of grace and friendship with God, and revives the supernatural infused virtue of Charity in the soul. In a certain respect Perfect Contrition and Supernatural Charity are coextensive (they are two sides of the same coin, so to speak.)

Wow how deep! Because this perfect contrition arises out of loving God “above all else”… the Supernatural Charity (loving God “above all else”) is automatically put back in place… very cool :smiley:

For a Catholic, perfect contrition MUST include the explicit resolve to avail oneself of the sacrament of penance as soon as possible. (For a non-Catholic, this resolve could hypothetically be implicit. . . they would seek the sacrament if they knew that it was a requirement).

Amen! Totally agree, this love would move someone in perfect contrition to receive the Sacrament (assuming they knew the Truth and the Beauty of it)

In any event, perfect contrition is not easy. In fact it is totally beyond our natural powers.

Hmmm this is where I stumble. I would think if you have natural love it would be easy. Yes it is beyond our human capacity but like you say even the most hardened sinner can be moved by Grace to repent.

If you’re not so hardened and obstinate- if you’re still naturally praying every night, living selflessly and making sacrifices for others (through imperfect love) wouldn’t it be comparitivley so easy to let yourself be moved by that Grace?

I guess it just depends on how rooted in malice towards God you are- just what level or lack of level of natural charity you have?

But I think you and I agree more than we disagree :slight_smile:

Jill,

I just wanted to mention an important caveat. It was appropriate for you to put “natural charity” in quotes, because, like I mentioned in my first post when charity is used it usually (almost always) denotes the theological virtue of charity. Hence there isn’t a natural “charity”.

I used the phrase “natural charity” to try to describe the natural love one can have for God even if one does not have the theological virtue of Charity whereby God is loved above all things and for His own sake. Natural love for God does not love God for His own sake, nor above all things – but it still can be love for God, and it can be good.

I hope that clarification helps as you continue to think and research about this.

VC

Gotcha! You’re right it’s very important to keep that distinguished definition of ‘natural chairty’ in mind when discussing!

Waaait :frowning:

I just thought of something. When we are in venial sin doesn’t that mean we don’t love God above all things?

We certainly don’t love him perfectly.

So this definition of Mortal sin leading to the loss of Supernatural Charity (love of God above all things) doesn’t work as well because wouldn’t this mean that in Venial you would lose this Charity as well?

To start
"

Tertullian

“[Regarding confession, some] flee from this work as being an exposure of themselves, or they put it off from day to day. I presume they are more mindful of modesty than of salvation, like those who contract a disease in the more shameful parts of the body and shun making themselves known to the physicians; and thus they perish along with their own bashfulness” (Repentance 10:1 [A.D. 203]).

“Discipline governs a man, power sets a seal upon him; apart from the fact that power is the Spirit, but the Spirit is God. What, moreover, used [the Spirit] to teach? That there must be no communicating with the works of darkness. Observe what he bids. Who, moreover, was able to forgive sins? This is his alone prerogative: for ‘who remits sins but God alone?’ and, of course, [who but he can remit] mortal sins, such as have been committed against himself and against his temple?” (Modesty 21 [A.D. 220]). " catholic.com/library/mortal_sin.asp

“(1) Its origin, by Divine infusion. “The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost” (Romans 5:5). It is, therefore, distinct from, and superior to, the inborn inclination or the acquired habit of loving God in the natural order. Theologians agree in saying that it is infused together with sanctifying grace, to which it is closely related either by way of real identity, as some few hold, or, according to the more common view, by way of connatural emanation.” newadvent.org/cathen/09397a.htm

Charity is the love given to us by God, like Faith, and hope, it is a free gift- Only by the working of the holy spirit, can we repent sufficiently to merit forgiveness, inside or outside confession. Beware the anathema (Smiling), that’s how strongly Trent saw it.

Charity is that form of love.

Having affection for a God, or a Jesus, or even Jesus, does not mean that we love God, it means we have affection. Charity is the form of love that forms faith, and obeys- To love God is to Obey Him. To sin mortally is to make our gift worthless until we repent- We must seek the truth always- and seek it to obey- the truth being Esse, being Veritas, being God.- The Catholic God.

in principio creavit Deus Caelum et Terrum.

as he went to the effort, here are some quotes and resources on how to get there-

search charity

scripturelink.googlepages.com/search?cx=001763116401597409521%3Af7idlv7awxw&cof=FORID%3A11&q=charity&sa=Search#1549

"Charity and Charities

In its widest and highest sense, charity includes love of God as well as love of man. The latter kind of love is so closely connected with, and dependent upon, the former, that neither it nor its fruits, under the Christian dispensation, can be adequately set forth without a brief preliminary glance at the relations existing between the two kinds.
Introductory

As a virtue, charity is that habit or power which disposes us to love God above all creatures for Himself, and to love ourselves and our neighbours for the sake of God. When this power or habit is directly infused into the soul by God, the virtue is supernatural; "

newadvent.org/cathen/03592a.htm

Finally, God is existence, we only truly love him by loving others, by obeying him.

To ove some being in the sky, wasn’t uncommon among any sect- but because we are real, to treat us badly or unjustly is to mistreat God- hence, charity- a gift- is worthless and destroyed, when we sin n mortally, until we feel true sorry for our sins, and determine to repent of them. Sorrow, is a realization that things are not as we would have them.

This sorrow is shown in the confessional, by admittal of truth, and be repentance. There is not forgiveness without this contrition.

Mortal sin takes away our ability to obey, in accord with the idea of redemptive suffering- God shows us our faults (Romans I) to lead to repentance, and takes away this gift.

:slight_smile: :wink: :o :frowning: :thumbsup: :blush: :cool:

Indifference isn’t Charity- shows that in SADC Region- we’ve known bout zim for years, but then again we have our own issue, notable thought, but that’s why “Non-judgement” is sin, even mortal sin… if it is lying.
:slight_smile: :wink: :o :frowning: :rolleyes: :thumbsup: :blush: :cool:

The weakness of indifference is what destroys charity because if we are indifferent to the needs of another, we will not be able to practice charity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JillH2008
The posting- Does mortal sin destroy all charity?

Mortal sin does not destroy all charity…indifference does.

just to note, i didn’t make that original quote, i think perry accidently included his answer in my quote when he made the quote box. no major harm done though :slight_smile:

Having affection for a God, or a Jesus, or even Jesus, does not mean that we love God.
Finally, God is existence, we only truly love him by loving others, by obeying him.

so when we disobey we are not truly loving him? i agree in the “act” itself we’re definitely not loving God in fullness and we’re falling way off the mark…

but i would argue that when when we DISOBEY whether through mortal or venial we are not loving him perfectly YES, but there is a trace that goes farther than ‘just having affection’, often there is an imperfect love still in place- a drive to still make sacrifices for Him, a drive to be in Union with Him.

you see the faithfully devout Disobey and Sin all the time but still live lives/ make acts of charity, union, and obedience in between that time to that Confessional.

so i am not seeing how disobedience ='s proof there is no love.

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