How do I explain mortal sins?


I understand what Mortal sins are, and how you can’t really definitively say what specific sins are mortal, but is there a list or something somewhere that tells you what some common mortal sins are?

Like maybe it’s a guide to Reconciliation, and they give ideas of what could fit under each commandment.


Lame examinations of conscience do more harm than good, IMHO. They confuse people and end up de-valuing this healing sacrament. The above link takes you to the best examination of conscience that I’ve seen. I use it myself.

You might also check out Moral Theology (Jone). It is very user friendly and extremely detailed (if you want advice, it’s in there).


This may be helpful:

Its purpose is a long-term plan of self-improvement (concentrating on one virtue per month), but it does give a lot of examples of mortal and venial sins.

I was really surprised at a few of the sins that are listed as mortal (has our society changed that much since it was written in 1942?). In any case, it’s good to have a trustworthy priest-confessor, and if you are unsure as to whether something is mortal or venial, ask him. And certainly confess it if you think it might be mortal.

(Note: lists like this should probably be avoided by persons suffering from scrupulosity.)


This is more so that I can more easily explain mortal sins. People commonly misunderstand mortal sin, and they think it’s only when you kill somebody, or cheat on your spouse, robbing a bank, or something like that. So people are like, “OMG! Why aren’t you going to Communion? Did you kill somebody?”


To know what specific sins are mortal, look at the 10 Commandments. They have that name because they were not the 10 suggestions.
Deacon Ed B


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