Examples of "sins against faith"?

Hi, I’m trying to understand this part of the catechism. Could someone help?

2088 “The first commandment requires us to nourish and protect our faith with prudence and vigilance, and to reject everything that is opposed to it. There are various ways of sinning against faith: Voluntary doubt about the faith disregards or refuses to hold as true what God has revealed and the Church proposes for belief. Involuntary doubt refers to hesitation in believing, difficulty in overcoming objections connected with the faith, or also anxiety aroused by its obscurity. If deliberately cultivated doubt can lead to spiritual blindness.”

Basically, does this passage say that voluntary and involuntary doubt is sinful? What are examples of each?

No, although I do understand that it can be misinterpreted that way. The section seeks to define the difference between doubt that is voluntary, and thus culpable, and doubt that is not, but in my opinion it is not clear enough in the way it expresses this.

Voluntary (or obstinate) doubt is considered sinful.

Involuntary doubt is not sinful. It is considered natural that any Catholic will have such difficulties at times. And sin can never be involuntary - sin is, be definition, a voluntary (intended) act. The catechism makes the point that doubt should not be deliberately cultivated, but again the important word here is “deliberately”. One who has involuntary doubt and attempts to resolve the doubts has not sinned, as opposed to one who deliberately lets their doubts erode their faith…

This sins listed immediately below - incredulity, heresy, apostasy, and schism - are sinful in that they are willful or obstinate. One who has involuntary doubts (difficulty in believing something) has not committed these sins.

Only a voluntary doubt would be objectively sinful and would make a person culpable, because sin is in the will; if you don’t do something willfully, then you would not be guilty of it. Remember, sin is in the will. God bless you.

The paragraph seems to me to be including “involuntary doubt” in the list of ways to sin against faith. But you all say that in order for it to be a sin, it must be willed, and not “involuntary” … so two questions:

1.) Where is this definition of sin as something that must be willed being taken from? From the Catechism? Please share your references with me.

2.) Let’s say for a moment that the paragraph is indeed stating that “involuntary doubt” is sinful. Am I obliged to agree with this?

I know there are different levels of teaching (dogma, doctrine, etc) and not all of it requires our full blown faith…I don’t know how that applies to the Catechism - if we have to accept all of it or not exactly. Please let me know. Thanks.

As stated above, this is a misinterpretations of that section, but is understandable in the way it is laid out.

Here is a link discussing the morality of human actions, and the role of the will in them:


Here is a link to an apologist from this very site talking about the difference between voluntary and involuntary doubt as per the cetachism quote that is in question: catholic.com/quickquestions/what-is-the-difference-between-obstinate-doubt-and-ordinary-doubt

Generally, yes, you need to believe what is contained in the catechism. But don’t worry, it is not saying that involuntary doubt is a sin - it is merely a misinterpretation, and to be honest I think that section should be re-worked to be clearer.

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