Defining mortal vs. venial sin seems to always open a can of worms. For me the ambiguous part is in the “full knowledge” and “full consent” definitions. “Grave matter” seems less likely to produce differing opinions.
Do we define full knowledge as being aware the sin you committed is a sin? I think this is how most people interrupt this.
I’d like to propose a deeper (or more complicated) definition. I’ll attempt a popular example; missing Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation.
Many, probably most catholics are aware that the church states that missing Mass is a sin. We also know that many (in fact the vast majority) of catholics are not regular attendees of Sunday Mass. Therefore most catholics know they are in sin. Further more most catholics who miss Sunday Mass have very little fear, if any, that thier soul is in jeopardy. Virtually everybody speaks of Heaven as a place they will end up following thier earthly death.
This is clearly illogical. It’s illogical unless you consider that the catholics who know they are in sin and regard it with little concern do not either believe, or understand, that the church’s teaching is infallible. I propose that the reason people sin (in a manner we define as mortally) is because they do not believe it is mortal. Which brings me to my question.
Are catholics who; contracept; fornicate, miss Mass, abort children…and more, not in full knowledge, NOT because they do not know it is sin, but because they do not believe or have never been appropriately taught, that the church believes these sins to be mortal? And if so, are they less culpable?
Full knowledge does not soley mean - knowledge that the behavior is sinful.
Full knowledge may mean – knowledge the behavior is sinful but not fully awware of the ramification.