Is lying always a mortal sin?


#1

Is lying always a mortal sin? What about when joking around with friends?


#2

[quote=twiztedseraph]Is lying always a mortal sin? What about when joking around with friends?
[/quote]

I didn’t know lying in general was considered a mortal sin!

What I was told is that only certain types of lies would be considered grave sin, like perjury.


#3

In order for a sin (any sin) to be “mortal” it must meet three criteria:
[list=1]
*]The sin must be of a serious nature (a violation of one of the Ten Commandments, for example).
*]The person must be fully aware of the serious nature of the sin at the time s/he does it.
*]The person must freely consent to the act (not be compelled by others).
[/list] If any one of these criteria are lacking, the sin is not mortal (and may not even be venial).

The example you gave (joking around with friends) is certinally not mortal (and probably not even venial).


#4

[quote=DavidFilmer]In order for a sin (any sin) to be “mortal” it must meet three criteria:
[list=1]
*]The sin must be of a serious nature (a violation of one of the Ten Commandments, for example).

[/quote]

If that’s the case, then EVERY SINGLE sin is a mortal sin then! I don’t understand why there would be venial sins then. If you tell a “white” lie, that’s breaking one of the commandments, therefore, that must be a mortal sin.


#5

[quote=Paris Blues]If that’s the case, then EVERY SINGLE sin is a mortal sin then! I don’t understand why there would be venial sins then. If you tell a “white” lie, that’s breaking one of the commandments, therefore, that must be a mortal sin.
[/quote]

The commandment is “You shall not bear false witness against you neighbour.” As exoflare said perjury would be a good example of that. The Catechism says that “the gravity of a lie is measured against the nature of the truth it deforms…”(CCC2484) We are to be witnesses of truth of God, who is Truth.
I don’t think the ten commandments cover all sins, although in the catechism it is convenient to collect sins of a similar nature (but of different degrees of seriousness) togther under a particular commandment.
For example the sixth commandment is “You shall not commit adultery.” which is is a very specific sexual sin. However under this commandment the Catechism discusses other sexual sins which are clearly not adultery, and are not as serious as adultery.


#6

not all lies are serious matter.

Some lies may be down right virtuous: “No, Mr. Nazi, I am not hiding any Jews in my attic.”

The person being lied to has to have a moral right to the truth for it to even begin to be serious.

The concept of some sins being mortal and some sins not being mortal is contemplated in
I John 5: 16-17


#7

Well, for instance, let’s say my mother let me borrow her cell phone ONLY for emergencies and I would want to obey her for that (Honor your mother and father) but someone asked me if they could use the cellphone or asked if I had one and said no - when I did - because I didn’t want to make my mother upset.

On the other hand, I could’ve said something like I do but you can’t use it it’s my mom’s! and they would’ve gotten mad and all that.

Is that a mortal sin?


#8

[quote=Paris Blues]Well, for instance, let’s say my mother let me borrow her cell phone ONLY for emergencies and I would want to obey her for that (Honor your mother and father) but someone asked me if they could use the cellphone or asked if I had one and said no - when I did - because I didn’t want to make my mother upset.

On the other hand, I could’ve said something like I do but you can’t use it it’s my mom’s! and they would’ve gotten mad and all that.

Is that a mortal sin?
[/quote]

This sounds to me like a case in which the person asking for your cell phone has no moral right to know whether or not you have one. Also, if you have reason to think they’ll become angry then there may be some degree of compulsion in witholding the truth. Thus, it’s not a mortal sin.


#9

I thought I saw one of the church fathers comment on this matter. I want to say Augustine. The synopsis of his message was that if your “lie” was not intended to decieve, then it barely consitutes a sin, if at all. Joking around is a prime example of that. The malicious nature of the lie is what is wrong with it. Joking around isn’t meant to hurt.

On the other hand, words should only be used to express known truth. Of course, the reality is most words are frivolous.


#10

[quote=neophyte]This sounds to me like a case in which the person asking for your cell phone has no moral right to know whether or not you have one. Also, if you have reason to think they’ll become angry then there may be some degree of compulsion in witholding the truth. Thus, it’s not a mortal sin.
[/quote]

It may not even be a lie. You may use a mental reservation: “Do you have a cellphone”? “No”. And it’s the truth. The reserved part you’re not telling is that you don’t have a cellphone for him to use


#11

[quote=twiztedseraph]Is lying always a mortal sin? What about when joking around with friends?
[/quote]

  1. No

  2. Jokes are not sinful, since there is no intention to deceive.


closed #12

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