Is not loving God as much as you can, as well as not loving your neighbor, mortal sins?

I would imagine that they are, even though we very often fail to keep them and the Church seems to be relatively silent on their gravity.


The question is too broad to give a straight up answer.

Loving God and neighbor as much as one CAN is very different than loving perfectly.
Our love will, in all likelihood ebb and flow since that tends to be the nature of our spiritual journey. Yet at each point we might be doing the best that we can at that point. So - we would not be in mortal sin…just doing the best that we can.

Mortal sin can only enter the picture if we deliberately and willfully do things contrary to Love of God and neighbor…

Just some thoughts



I’m glad that this is under discussion.

I came back to the catholic church last year and am trying my best to stay out of mortal sin. However, the type of sins that the church say are definitely mortal are all of the sexual sins, missing mass, adultery, hatred etc. This is very black and white.

However, the sins against our neighbour e.g. back biting, gossip, unkind remarks etc. seem to be considered venial sins with the exception of where we do something really serious.

We’re all guilty (i think) of sins like back biting, gossip etc. possible on a daily basis. Does this mean we’re possibly committing mortal sins on a daily basis?

I’m finding it very hard to get an understanding of gravity of sin between light and grave matter.

Purposely, knowingly gossiping with the intent of destroying or damaging a persons character would be a grave sin.
Getting caught up (gossiping) with coworkers in the heat of the moment but stopping upon realizing you are indeed gossiping would be venial sin. I would say, once you realize you are gossiping, if then you continue that makes it grave.

Emphasis mine…

The answer to yr question here is - - Not if you are not aware of it.
As dee points out, if one let’s something slip or gets caught up in the moment that would not be a mortal sin…Only if one does it intentionally is it a mortal sin.
Remember that the three elements, Gravity, Knowledge and Will, must be present all at once.

I notice that people tend to put a lot of emphasis on the gravity of a given thing, but to me the more important aspects of this matter are knowledge and will. If one does not willfully and knowingly do something sinful…then the gravity of a given item won’t matter.
If one does something sinful without full consent of the will, or in ignorance…then the sin is venial anyway.

Tide in with the above is the idea of not looking at these things like a legal code. Rather consider it in light of a loving relationship. One does not willingly and knowingly do something bad to someone they truly love. If they DO hurt their lover it is more likely than not accidental - but even then we feel bad and apologize. That is just how love works…
Same with God and with sin…

Just some thoughts…


Loving God is not something done in a vacuum, just as loving neighbor is not something done in a vacuum.

Sin come in when we fail; but those failures are almost always connected with one of the ten commandments, not some amorphous “failure” to love a neighbor well.

Hi James!

I think Christ was quite explicit in the Gospels what He meant by loving God and your neighbor.

LOVE! :heart:

I would think that these two commandments would be much stricter than all other sins!

LOVE! :heart:

These two sins encompass all others.

I agree with this.

In the end, love and sin are mutually exclusive.The Catechism should help:

**1855 Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God’s law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him.
Venial sin allows charity to subsist, even though it offends and wounds it.

1856 Mortal sin, by attacking the vital principle within us - that is, charity - necessitates a new initiative of God’s mercy and a conversion of heart which is normally accomplished within the setting of the sacrament of reconciliation:

When the will sets itself upon something that is of its nature incompatible with the charity that orients man toward his ultimate end, then the sin is mortal by its very object . . . whether it contradicts the love of God, such as blasphemy or perjury, or the love of neighbor, such as homicide or adultery. . . . But when the sinner’s will is set upon something that of its nature involves a disorder, but is not opposed to the love of God and neighbor, such as thoughtless chatter or immoderate laughter and the like, such sins are venial.130

1863 Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; it impedes the soul’s progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral good; it merits temporal punishment. Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin. However venial sin does not break the covenant with God. With God’s grace it is humanly reparable. “Venial sin does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace, friendship with God, charity, and consequently eternal happiness.”

While he is in the flesh, man cannot help but have at least some light sins. But do not despise these sins which we call “light”: if you take them for light when you weigh them, tremble when you count them. A number of light objects makes a great mass; a number of drops fills a river; a number of grains makes a heap. What then is our hope? Above all, confession.**

Compendium issued by Pope Benedict XVI

395. When does one commit a mortal sin?


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.
396. When does one commit a venial sin?**


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.

That is when mortal sin or venial sin is committed.

A quote from Cajetan - quoted by the great Jacques and Raissa Maritain - in their work “Liturgy and Contemplation”…

"The perfection of charity is commanded as an end; and we must wish to attain the end, the whole end. But precisely because it is an end, it suffices, for a man not to transgress the precept, that he be in the state of attaining this perfection one day, even if in eternity.

Whoever possesses charity, even in the feeblest degree, and is thus advancing towards Heaven, is in the way of perfect charity, and consequently avoids the transgression of the precept…"

“God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 Jn 4:16). These words from the First Letter of John express with remarkable clarity the heart of the Christian faith: the Christian image of God and the resulting image of mankind and its destiny. In the same verse, Saint John also offers a kind of summary of the Christian life: “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us”.

We have come to believe in God’s love: in these words the Christian can express the fundamental decision of his life. Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. Saint John’s Gospel describes that event in these words: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should … have eternal life” (3:16). In acknowledging the centrality of love, Christian faith has retained the core of Israel’s faith, while at the same time giving it new depth and breadth. The pious Jew prayed daily the words of the Book of Deuteronomy which expressed the heart of his existence: “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your might” (6:4-5). Jesus united into a single precept this commandment of love for God and the commandment of love for neighbour found in the Book of Leviticus: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (19:18; cf. Mk 12:29-31). Since God has first loved us (cf. 1 Jn 4:10), love is now no longer a mere “command”; it is the response to the gift of love with which God draws near to us."

~ Pope Benedict XVI - Encyclical “Deus Charitas Est” (God is Love).

Also scroll down to paragraphs 16, 17 and 18.

I was not questioning whether Christ was explicit or not. My response was to the title question and how it is phrased.


It is not about being more or less strict. These are the two commands upon which all else is built (Mt 22:36-40). Therefore ALL sin is a sin against these two commands.


:thumbsup: I full-heartily agree.

But do we commit a grave sin when we fail to love God by willingly and intentionally directing our attention needlessly to some sort of worldly folly instead of being in a state of continual prayer? I’m not talking about not praying when having to work to support ourselves, or do other worldly works to promote human welfare and spiritual growth of others, but what you do during your free time. I’m speaking strictly here to where even the Carthusians sin. We are indeed all sinners here!

You mean is that a grave matter for mortal sin?

No. No. and No.

Now if one say misses Sunday Mass so one can go see a movie -that is grave matter…

Everyone needs some rest each day to recuperate after work. Using some free time to relax is a good thing. Otherwise, the person becomes burned out, run down, and can’t use their gifts effectively. The amount of time each person needs will be different depending on their life situation (for example, backbreaking work or lots of kids to care for). It becomes sinful if the person becomes wasteful with their free time. If the person never uses any free time to pray to God or to volunteer or to help their family, they are now committing sins. A one-off occurrence would be venial to me; a lifetime of this would be mortal to me.

I’ve read in the Tanya (Judaism, Chabad) that even less severe sins can become a very serious, offensive state of affairs if committed many times, which is consistent with what you conclude. The* Tanya* uses a clever analogy of us being attached to God with a rope where every small sin breaks one tiny thread within the rope; commit the sin many times and the rope is severed, with us being totally detached from God. I think there is a lot of truth to it; ignore God enough times and we become totally detached from God too; a grave offense.

I believe one needs to confess these (small, venial) sins regularly, and promise to God that one will amend one’s life, with the consequence of being totally separated from God if one’s life is not truly amended. With proper contrition of these less severe sins, the Tanya states that that part of the rope that attaches us to God is made stronger than ever before.

LOVE! :heart:

Stick with the Catechism and Compendium. Not works from other religions here.

See posts above.

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