Does Mortal/Venial sin make Christ meaningless?


#1

OK here is my problem. I have been trying to figure this out for quite some time. My understanding is that Original sin is not enough to condemn a person to Hell, but only a willfull turning from God, in other words, mortal sin. Also venial sin is not enough.

If therefore, a person were born and never commited a single mortal sin, then that would seem to make Jesus pointless! Jesus would have done nothing for that man (aside from giving him Grace to avoid mortal sin, but I am looking at things from a different angle, in a more final/eternal way in this question). If I went through life never committing a mortal sin, and never all it seems I’d get is a long time in Purgatory for all those venial sins.

Also, what is the point of having venial sins forgiven? Clearly the forgiveness of mortal sin keeps us from Hell. The forgiveness of venial sins gives us Grace, yes, but eternally, does it do anything at all? If I lived my life free of mortal sin, then it seems like at my death bed I’d either need a plenary indulgence (in accordance with all that requires) or to confess all my venial sins. What would be the difference? These questions are really bothering me.


#2

You forgot the forgiveness of our Original sin. So, Jesus would still be important, even if you danced through life without sinning mortally.

And don’t underestimate our need for grace. That is very important.

Eamon


#3

[quote=turboEDvo]You forgot the forgiveness of our Original sin. So, Jesus would still be important, even if you danced through life without sinning mortally.

Eamon
[/quote]

That was my own answer to the problem, but Tim Staples said yesterday on the radio broadcast that Original Sin was not enough to condemn a man.


#4

[quote=Lazerlike42]That was my own answer to the problem, but Tim Staples said yesterday on the radio broadcast that Original Sin was not enough to condemn a man.
[/quote]

Well, give me a little while to look into that statement. It could be that Tim meant that with God’s grace, our Original sin would be forgiven (but that is to say that if it went unforgiven, we would then be in deep doodoo), thus making it something of a moot point. Let me do some research.

Eamon


#5

[quote=turboEDvo]Well, give me a little while to look into that statement. It could be that Tim meant that with God’s grace, our Original sin would be forgiven (but that is to say that if it went unforgiven, we would then be in deep doodoo), thus making it something of a moot point. Let me do some research.

Eamon
[/quote]

He was talking about Limbo, and stating that the Church does not know if babies not Baptized send men to Heaven, but it is dogma that non-Baptized babies can’t go to Hell, because all they have is Original sin and Hell requires a concious rejection of God (which I could not do if I, for instance, never heard of Him, or if those preaching Him to me never gave me good enough reasons to believe).


#6

[quote=Lazerlike42]He was talking about Limbo, and stating that the Church does not know if babies not Baptized send men to Heaven, but it is dogma that non-Baptized babies can’t go to Hell, because all they have is Original sin and Hell requires a concious rejection of God (which I could not do if I, for instance, never heard of Him, or if those preaching Him to me never gave me good enough reasons to believe).
[/quote]

You could still go to Hell if you hadn’t heard of God; your salvation isn’t assured just because you don’t know about Christ. The *Catechism of the Catholic Church *says, “Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience-those too may achieve eternal salvation” (847). So if you haven’t heard of God, you still have to seek God with a sincere heart and try to do His will as you know it by following the dictates of your conscience. Mere ignorance isn’t enough to assure salvation. Furthermore, a person who hasn’t heard of God still has to follow the natural law, because following the natural law “is necessary for salvation” (2036).


#7

[quote=Lazerlike42]OK here is my problem. I have been trying to figure this out for quite some time. My understanding is that Original sin is not enough to condemn a person to Hell, but only a willfull turning from God, in other words, mortal sin. Also venial sin is not enough.

If therefore, a person were born and never commited a single mortal sin, then that would seem to make Jesus pointless! Jesus would have done nothing for that man (aside from giving him Grace to avoid mortal sin, but I am looking at things from a different angle, in a more final/eternal way in this question). If I went through life never committing a mortal sin, and never all it seems I’d get is a long time in Purgatory for all those venial sins.

Also, what is the point of having venial sins forgiven? Clearly the forgiveness of mortal sin keeps us from Hell. The forgiveness of venial sins gives us Grace, yes, but eternally, does it do anything at all? If I lived my life free of mortal sin, then it seems like at my death bed I’d either need a plenary indulgence (in accordance with all that requires) or to confess all my venial sins. What would be the difference? These questions are really bothering me.
[/quote]

The secret of life is to sin mortally as much as you possibly can without dying.

But on a more serious note, the answer to questions about mortal sin (maybe all questions about ‘greatness’ and ‘smallness’?) cannot be expressed in words. But…it can be shown to us: The movies Mulholland Drive and Dogville.


#8

I do appreciate the responses, but I really want (and by really want I don’t mean I “want instead of”, I mean that I fervently want) and answer that doesn’t involve technicalities, or rather unrelated ones. I know that all truths are interconnected of course, but I still see a problem. The church says ONLY a mortal sin can send a person to Hell, Christ or not (from every single indication I have gotten. If this is not true, than this must mean that either original sin is damning, or that venial sin would be if not for Christ; on both counts I have gotten no affirming answers). If ONLY mortal sin can send a man to Hell, what is the point of Christ for a man who never sins mortally? And also what is the point of confessing venial sins? These are stripped down questions; please see the original post.


#9

[quote=Lazerlike42]OK here is my problem. I have been trying to figure this out for quite some time. My understanding is that Original sin is not enough to condemn a person to Hell, but only a willfull turning from God, in other words, mortal sin. Also venial sin is not enough.

If therefore, a person were born and never commited a single mortal sin, then that would seem to make Jesus pointless! Jesus would have done nothing for that man (aside from giving him Grace to avoid mortal sin, but I am looking at things from a different angle, in a more final/eternal way in this question). If I went through life never committing a mortal sin, and never all it seems I’d get is a long time in Purgatory for all those venial sins.

Also, what is the point of having venial sins forgiven? Clearly the forgiveness of mortal sin keeps us from Hell. The forgiveness of venial sins gives us Grace, yes, but eternally, does it do anything at all? If I lived my life free of mortal sin, then it seems like at my death bed I’d either need a plenary indulgence (in accordance with all that requires) or to confess all my venial sins. What would be the difference? These questions are really bothering me.
[/quote]

Remember that we cannot pay the price to cover the effects of Original Sin. Only the infinite God could make satisfaction for the infinite offense against him through Orginal Sin. The gates of Heaven were closed before Christ’s sacrifice that untied the knot of Adam. Hence, God/Jesus is not irrelevant at all.

That said, it is true that God gives sufficient grace for salvation to all. This does not mean that none will reject that grace.

There are many reasons for seeking the forgiveness of venial sins. If you truly love God it is right and simply just to seek complete reconciliation to the all-perfect God. Also, when we fail to seek forgiveness for venial sins, we are rejecting grace that works in us to seek at-one-ment with God, even in lesser matters. Further, seeking such forgiveness shows maturity, and prevents you from developing bad habits that can lead to more frequent and more grave, even mortal, sin. Seeking forgiveness of venial sins also allows the temporal effects to be dealt with via indulgences (see Catholic Answers tracts). It all comes down to love of God.

Keep in mind that there are different levels of blessedness in Heaven, such that people like St. Francis or St. Ignatius have the capacity to contain, say, an ocean of God’s joy, whereas lesser souls, like me, might only be able to have the capacity to contain a cup (so to speak) of the beatific vision.

It’s not an advisable approach to life to see “how little can I love God, and not go to Hell.”


#10

That’s all true, but what my point is, is that if Original sin doesn’t send people to Hell, then Christ really only came to help mortal sinners (at least that is the idea that I am hoping someone can refute).


#11

[quote=Lazerlike42]That’s all true, but what my point is, is that if Original sin doesn’t send people to Hell, then Christ really only came to help mortal sinners (at least that is the idea that I am hoping someone can refute).
[/quote]

No, Christ came to allow all to be at least capable of Heaven. Before then, we were incapable. You may want to look up the Limbo of the Fathers.


#12

[quote=Lazerlike42]I do appreciate the responses, but I really want (and by really want I don’t mean I “want instead of”, I mean that I fervently want) and answer that doesn’t involve technicalities, or rather unrelated ones. I know that all truths are interconnected of course, but I still see a problem. The church says ONLY a mortal sin can send a person to Hell, Christ or not (from every single indication I have gotten. If this is not true, than this must mean that either original sin is damning, or that venial sin would be if not for Christ; on both counts I have gotten no affirming answers). If ONLY mortal sin can send a man to Hell, what is the point of Christ for a man who never sins mortally? And also what is the point of confessing venial sins? These are stripped down questions; please see the original post.
[/quote]

Original sin is an absence of sanctifying grace rather than a black mark that the soul factory stamps on every person before they ship out. By being baptized we are brought into a covenental relationship with Christ. Although we say it washes away sin, in the case of original sin baptism is restoring grace. Of course like any relationship, one can voluntary reject it and mortal sin is deliberate rebellion from God. Like the prodigal son, the father says this one was dead and is now alive, which clearly implies that even though the father was still the son’s father, it is possible to reject it and the father accepts that without forcing the son to stay. (The good news of course being that we can always return to God from rebellion).

Confessing venial sins is important because it is a sickness that weakens charity and makes us more vulnerable to mortal sin. We are all called to holiness “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”.
Scott


#13

[quote=DeFide]No, Christ came to allow all to be at least capable of Heaven. Before then, we were incapable. You may want to look up the Limbo of the Fathers.
[/quote]

Limbus Patrum. Would that be the same idea as Limbus Infantium only relating to OT persons and/or unbaptized adults?


#14

[quote=Pace]The secret of life is to sin mortally as much as you possibly can without dying.

But on a more serious note, the answer to questions about mortal sin (maybe all questions about ‘greatness’ and ‘smallness’?) cannot be expressed in words. But…it can be shown to us: The movies Mulholland Drive and Dogville.
[/quote]

I answered your question. You are free to ignore me. Now what if you ignored my advice forever? That would be hell (if I am right about those movies being the only way left to us). Therefore, you may be in a hellish state now (in some kind of a state of mortality) until you trusted that my words about the movies were true and proceeded to investigate them.


#15

[quote=Lazerlike42]That’s all true, but what my point is, is that if Original sin doesn’t send people to Hell, then Christ really only came to help mortal sinners (at least that is the idea that I am hoping someone can refute).
[/quote]

You mean you’re cool with the idea of being forever unable to be with God – who created us to be in fellowship with him?


#16

[quote=Pace]I answered your question. You are free to ignore me. Now what if you ignored my advice forever? That would be hell (if I am right about those movies being the only way left to us). Therefore, you may be in a hellish state now (in some kind of a state of mortality) until you trusted that my words about the movies were true and proceeded to investigate them.
[/quote]

what are you talking about?


#17

[quote=Lazerlike42]If ONLY mortal sin can send a man to Hell, what is the point of Christ for a man who never sins mortally?.
[/quote]

The stories in the Old Testament to see what the “good guys” did before Christ came. (See David and Bethsheba, Abraham and Ishmael, etc. etc.) Without the grace of Christ, our fallen nature can’t remain free from mortal sin.

[quote=Lazerlike42]And also what is the point of confessing venial sins?
[/quote]

I don’t know about most people, but for me regular confession helps me know myself and my weaknesses better. It prompts me to do a thorough examination of conscience. I think that helps me avoid mortal sins that I might otherwise commit. Plus there’s other graces.

I think if’s far harder to avoid mortal sin than you may realize. St. Dominic Savio made a vow to never commit a mortal sin; he died a teenager. We need the grace of Christ to save us from our sins–both those we commit and those He prevents us from commiting.


#18

Lazerlike42,

You asked, “The forgiveness of venial sins gives us Grace, yes, but eternally, does it do anything at all?”

Perhaps you are looking at a “pass/fail” concept of heaven. St. Paul speaks of ascending to the “third heaven”—presumably, then, there’s a first and a second, and maybe others below. Jesus asks us to be perfect—and if we are, presumably that will allow us to attain the higher levels—a greater reward—in heaven.

I know you were speaking of the eternal aspect of venial sin, but it certainly is worth mentioning that venial sins that go uncorrected predispose us to committing mortal sin, as well as not advancing us in the quest for perfection that we are told to attain to. Also, I would suggest a book called “The Fire Within” (Dubay? I’ll have to double-check). Certainly, infused prayer is not going to be possible without the practice of virtue, which is to say the constant correcting of our natures (ridding ourselves of venial sins).


#19

[quote=Sherlock]Lazerlike42,

You asked, “The forgiveness of venial sins gives us Grace, yes, but eternally, does it do anything at all?”

Perhaps you are looking at a “pass/fail” concept of heaven. St. Paul speaks of ascending to the “third heaven”—presumably, then, there’s a first and a second, and maybe others below. Jesus asks us to be perfect—and if we are, presumably that will allow us to attain the higher levels—a greater reward—in heaven.

I know you were speaking of the eternal aspect of venial sin, but it certainly is worth mentioning that venial sins that go uncorrected predispose us to committing mortal sin, as well as not advancing us in the quest for perfection that we are told to attain to. Also, I would suggest a book called “The Fire Within” (Dubay? I’ll have to double-check). Certainly, infused prayer is not going to be possible without the practice of virtue, which is to say the constant correcting of our natures (ridding ourselves of venial sins).
[/quote]

I agree with the second paragraph. The first one, unfortunately, is not correct. The Hebrews’ concept of Heaven involved 3 Heavens, the 3rd of which is the place God lives. One of them is the sky. I forget what the other one is. In any case, even though there are gradations in Heaven based on what Jesus says, that’s not what Paul was talking about.


#20

[quote=Lazerlike42]OK here is my problem. I have been trying to figure this out for quite some time. My understanding is that Original sin is not enough to condemn a person to Hell…
[/quote]

That is debatable.

[quote=Lazerlike42]…but only a willfull turning from God, in other words, mortal sin. Also venial sin is not enough.

If therefore, a person were born and never commited a single mortal sin, then that would seem to make Jesus pointless! Jesus would have done nothing for that man (aside from giving him Grace to avoid mortal sin, but I am looking at things from a different angle, in a more final/eternal way in this question).
[/quote]

Emphasis added.

So, that’s all Jesus would have done. Just given him the grace to avoid all mortal sin and thereby not go to Hell. So, IOW, that person would have been saved (drumroll, please) only through the grace of Christ Jesus.

– Mark L. Chance.


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