Is a sin a sin? Are all equal?

What do you say about the idea that a sin is a sin? For instance that murder and white lies are equally sinful?

Peace

John was clear in his first epistle that there are varying degrees of sin. “If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal” (1 Jn 5:16-17).

In his apostolic exhortation, Reconciliation and Penance (RP), Pope John Paul II explains:

“St. John speaks of a sin which leads to death (pros thanaton), as opposed to a sin which does not lead to death (me pros thanaton). Obviously, the concept of death here is a spiritual death. It is a question of the loss of the true life or “eternal life,” which for John is knowledge of the Father and the Son, and communion and intimacy with them. In that passage the sin that leads to death seems to be the denial of the Son or the worship of false gods. At any rate, by this distinction of concepts John seems to wish to emphasize the incalculable seriousness of what constitutes the very essence of sin, namely the rejection of God. This is manifested above all in apostasy and idolatry: repudiating faith in revealed truth and making certain created realities equal to God, raising them to the status of idols or false gods. But in this passage the apostle’s intention is also to underline the certainty that comes to the Christian from the fact of having been “born of God” through the coming of the Son: The Christian possesses a power that preserves him from falling into sin; God protects him, and “the evil one does not touch him.” If he should sin through weakness or ignorance, he has confidence in being forgiven, also because he is supported by the joint prayer of the community” (RP 17).

For additional information see The distinction of sins.

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