How do I know if a sin is mortal?


#1

I thought about something and someone that I thought would maybe get me sexually aroused, and sure enough, it happened. I dwelt on the feeling for a few seconds when I noticed it was happening, but felt extremely guilty right after. The whole thing happened in about five seconds, so I don't even know if I gave full consent or not or if I knew for sure it was mortal and did it anyway. I know if I had asked myself, "Do I want to commit a mortal sin?" the answer would have been no, but how do I decide if it was mortal or not when it was so fast? Also, does it make it worse that it was someone of my same sex I was thinking about?


#2

From the Catechism: 1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent."131

1858 Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: "Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother."132 The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger.

1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

My suggestion would be to confess it anyway.


#3

[quote="Nickname_Sam, post:1, topic:328463"]
I thought about something and someone that I thought would maybe get me sexually aroused, and sure enough, it happened. I dwelt on the feeling for a few seconds when I noticed it was happening, but felt extremely guilty right after. The whole thing happened in about five seconds, so I don't even know if I gave full consent or not or if I knew for sure it was mortal and did it anyway. I know if I had asked myself, "Do I want to commit a mortal sin?" the answer would have been no, but how do I decide if it was mortal or not when it was so fast? Also, does it make it worse that it was someone of my same sex I was thinking about?

[/quote]

If you think you need to go to Confession, then just go. Don't obsess over the technical details.


#4

Catechism of the Catholic Church
1858 Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: "Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother."132 The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger.

1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest.

You're not sure it was mortal sin so it probably wasn't a mortal sin.

You're not sure you fully consented so you probably didn't so it probably wasn't a mortal sin.

Yes, the fact that it was about someone of the same sex makes it a more grave sin but probably still a venial sin.

Thoughts enter our minds, we cannot help that. We can help dwelling on them, though. Pray when these things come to mind - do not entertain them. Five seconds sounds more like a passing thought than an entertaining one to me but I don't live in your head. If you truly entertained this thought confess it as a lustful thought at your next confession but it doesn't sound like you need to avoid Communion in the meantime.

May God give you peace.


#5

I'm still confused. I plan on confessing it, but I still don't know if it's mortal. I really want to go to Communion today, but is it a mortal sin to let yourself be sexually excited by someone of your same sex and something else too? Sex never came into my head during this time, just arousal. I don't even know if it was sexual arousal or excitement. I'm just so scrupulous and confused that I don't know anymore. And with my scrupulosity, I think a lot of things are sins that really aren't, but I still feel bad when I do something that I feel like is a sin, whether it's a real sin or not. Like I said, I don't know if I knew it was sinful or not. I can't even remember if I meant to be ignorant of the sin. This is all confusing, I know. It just is starting to feel like sin is just something that happens to me rather than something I'm purposely doing, though I know that's not possible. I don't remember if I tried not to think about it. So basically, is it a mortal sin to not immediately pull yourself out of a sexual arousal?


#6

[quote="Nickname_Sam, post:5, topic:328463"]
I'm still confused. I plan on confessing it, but I still don't know if it's mortal. I really want to go to Communion today, but is it a mortal sin to let yourself be sexually excited by someone of your same sex and something else too? Sex never came into my head during this time, just arousal. I don't even know if it was sexual arousal or excitement. I'm just so scrupulous and confused that I don't know anymore. And with my scrupulosity, I think a lot of things are sins that really aren't, but I still feel bad when I do something that I feel like is a sin, whether it's a real sin or not. Like I said, I don't know if I knew it was sinful or not. I can't even remember if I meant to be ignorant of the sin. This is all confusing, I know. It just is starting to feel like sin is just something that happens to me rather than something I'm purposely doing, though I know that's not possible. I don't remember if I tried not to think about it. So basically, is it a mortal sin to not immediately pull yourself out of a sexual arousal?

[/quote]

I think you are tying yourself up in knots unnecessarily. You can still go to Confession even if it isn't a mortal sin, right?

So why not just go to Confession and have it wiped off your soul, without worrying about all these technical details?


#7

I do want to say it at Confession, but I just don’t know if I can go to Communion and Mass today.


#8

[quote="Nickname_Sam, post:7, topic:328463"]
I do want to say it at Confession, but I just don't know if I can go to Communion and Mass today.

[/quote]

You can go to Mass; its your obliation to go every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation unless there's a really, really good excuse not to. You're only obliged to receive the Eucharist once a year. If you aren't sure if you are in mortal sin, its okay to stay in the pew rather than receive.


#9

Yes, but I really really want to receive Eucharist. So it is a mortal sin to entertain a sexual arousal for a second or two?


#10

There is a difference between a fleeting thought, and a thought that that is entertained. For a second or two? That wasn’t much entertainment; but did you do it deliberately to incite sexual arousal? That could make it problematic, I don’t know. :shrug:


#11

Well, maybe it was like three or four seconds… But anyway, I really don’t remember if I purposely entertained it. Like I said, I enjoyed the physical feeling of excitement and thinking about that person, but I wasn’t thinking about that person in a lustful way. Actually, I’m a girl, so I really don’t know how aroused I got. It’s hard to tell. maybe I didn’t get aroused at all, maybe just excited. I guess the point is that I let myself be excited even though I thought it might be bad to be, even if it was just for a few seconds–maybe. I can’t remember. But then again, scrupulous people think lots of things are bad that really aren’t. I just don’t know.


#12

Compendium issued by Pope Benedict XVI

  1. When does one commit a mortal sin?

1855-1861
1874

One commits a mortal sin when there are simultaneously present: grave matter, full knowledge, and deliberate consent. This sin destroys charity in us, deprives us of sanctifying grace, and, if unrepented, leads us to the eternal death of hell. It can be forgiven in the ordinary way by means of the sacraments of Baptism and of Penance or Reconciliation.

  1. When does one commit a venial sin?

1862-1864
1875

One commits a venial sin, which is essentially different from a mortal sin, when the matter involved is less serious or, even if it is grave, when full knowledge or complete consent are absent. Venial sin does not break the covenant with God but it weakens charity and manifests a disordered affection for created goods. It impedes the progress of a soul in the exercise of the virtues and in the practice of moral good. It merits temporal punishment which purifies.

vatican.va/archive/compendium_ccc/documents/archive_2005_compendium-ccc_en.html

Since you mention scrupulosity (I suppose a Priest has told you that is your struggle?) --be sure to have a regular confessor. Ask him to take responsibility for you and to give you some principles for you in your scruples to follow. Such is the age old approach in the Church.


#13

Thanks for all the help, but I still really don't know. Like I said, it happened so fast, I can't remember. What do I do if I just can't remember?


#14

[quote="Nickname_Sam, post:13, topic:328463"]
Thanks for all the help, but I still really don't know. Like I said, it happened so fast, I can't remember. What do I do if I just can't remember?

[/quote]

I'm not sure how easy it would be to commit a mortal sin without remembering it - but I'm not you.

Go with what you know to be right.


#15

My friend I am going to go out on a limb here and say that from your posts you are not in the state of mortal sin. In reality only you and God know that for sure but it seems that you really have no idea so the intentional rejection of God doesn’t seem to be an issue here. I have had many a confessor tell me that if you don’t know if you committed a mortal sin then you pretty much didn’t or else you would know. Sexual thoughts go through our minds all of the time and sometimes last a bit. If you get to a point where you are thinking, wow I know this thought is wrong but I shall entertain it, then you might have crossed that line. So, go to confession and ask your confessor should this happen again what he thinks. From my experience with consultations with priests I would say that you are beating yourself up and that you should just say an act of contrition and then mention it in the confessional. About receiving Communion: If you are not sure that you sinned mortally then receive because you probably didn’t BUT if it makes you feel better then wait until after confession. You really are beating yourself up here and satan wants nothing more than for you to believe that you are separated from God. Find some peace and know the infinite love and mercy of God. God bless you now and always…teachccd :slight_smile:


#16

[quote="teachccd, post:15, topic:328463"]
My friend I am going to go out on a limb here and say that from your posts you are not in the state of mortal sin. In reality only you and God know that for sure but it seems that you really have no idea so the intentional rejection of God doesn't seem to be an issue here. I have had many a confessor tell me that if you don't know if you committed a mortal sin then you pretty much didn't or else you would know. Sexual thoughts go through our minds all of the time and sometimes last a bit. If you get to a point where you are thinking, wow I know this thought is wrong but I shall entertain it, then you might have crossed that line. So, go to confession and ask your confessor should this happen again what he thinks. From my experience with consultations with priests I would say that you are beating yourself up and that you should just say an act of contrition and then mention it in the confessional. About receiving Communion: If you are not sure that you sinned mortally then receive because you probably didn't BUT if it makes you feel better then wait until after confession. You really are beating yourself up here and satan wants nothing more than for you to believe that you are separated from God. Find some peace and know the infinite love and mercy of God. God bless you now and always......................teachccd :)

[/quote]

:thumbsup: I like your response.

Nickname Sam, you did not commit a mortal sin. I don't think you even committed a venial sin. Actually, I find it amazing that you were able to dispel the impure thought in just 5 seconds. It usually takes me longer. But remember it is the devil who is bringing the image, the thought, and the desire in us. The lustful thought may linger for minutes, even for days. Some saints had been tormented by the devil in this manner. If you are not sure if you have committed a mortal sin, then that is one of the clearest indication to me that you did NOT give your full consent, for if you gave your full consent, then I doubt very much that you can doubt it.

In this life we do not see our souls as they appear before God. That means, we will never know ABSOLUTELY the state of our soul. If it is absolute certainty that you want, you will never get it. Anyway, what you need - what we all need - is not absolute certainty, but absolute trust in God's Mercy.

One last thing. I do not think that one should be considered a homosexual if he or she does not engage in homosexual acts. A temptation to homosexuality is just that - a temptation. It does not make you a homosexual. Please continue resisting all homosexual thoughts and temptations, and all impure thoughts and desires, and you shall be a saint before God.


#17

Thanks so much for all your help everyone!


#18

[quote="Nickname_Sam, post:5, topic:328463"]
I'm still confused. I plan on confessing it, but I still don't know if it's mortal. I really want to go to Communion today, but is it a mortal sin to let yourself be sexually excited by someone of your same sex and something else too? Sex never came into my head during this time, just arousal. I don't even know if it was sexual arousal or excitement. I'm just so scrupulous and confused that I don't know anymore. And with my scrupulosity, I think a lot of things are sins that really aren't, but I still feel bad when I do something that I feel like is a sin, whether it's a real sin or not. Like I said, I don't know if I knew it was sinful or not. I can't even remember if I meant to be ignorant of the sin. This is all confusing, I know. It just is starting to feel like sin is just something that happens to me rather than something I'm purposely doing, though I know that's not possible. I don't remember if I tried not to think about it. So basically, is it a mortal sin to not immediately pull yourself out of a sexual arousal?

[/quote]

I think you said the magic word. Scrupulous! May I make a humble suggestion? Think of thoughts as being like birds flying through the air of one's mind. Some are pretty and songful and we innocently enjoy them. Some are ugly and raucous and we ignore them. We let them fly by and out of our mind. If we, on the other hand, reach out, after sufficient reflection and with full consent, grasp the ugly raucous birds and play with them, then we do something wrong. I don't think you are doing that but are just letting these annoying birds get on your nerves. So ignore them. Let them fly by and out of sight. Focus on the good things of life and your strengths rather than your weaknesses. Find a regular confessor, and with him, overcome scrupulosity, and be healthy, happy and at peace.


#19

It can be, if you wanted to hurt God or someone else (which can include yourself) in so doing. Like “I know this is wrong God, and it might hurt you or someone else (or myself), BUT I don’t care and I’m going to do it anyways so there.”

Methinks you might be a touch scrupulous. I know one when I see one, because I am one myself! :wink:


#20

If your unsure just go to confession


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