Is this a mortal sin?



I need to know if what I did was a mortal sin or not, because my conscience is not leaving me in peace about it until I figure out whether it is or not. Here’s what happened;

I was sitting with some mentally impaired seniors at a senior living facility watching an older movie with them. My shift then ended, and I had to leave to go home, but I realized that this movie had some potentially impure stuff in it (i.e. scantily clad ladies, but not doing anything sexual) which I would expose to these seniors should I leave it on.

I considered turning the TV off entirely, but realized that some seniors were here to watch the TV originally, and might get irritated if I did that. Then I considered changing the channel, but I did not know any good channels to turn to (the “guide” function on the remote wasn’t working). I then began considering whether it would be okay to just leave the show on. I thought, “I need to consider this carefully because this could be material for a mortal sin if I just leave the show on” and then I thought, “But I don’t have time, I have to go home right now”.

In the end, I just left the show on more out of an impulse decision as I was stressed about getting home in good time, thinking “Well, they didn’t do anything sexual and the scantily clad bits were very few and far between; also, the show looks like it’s almost done so there can’t be much risk of impurity”. However, all the way down to my car my conscience was bugging me to stop and think about if what I was doing was bad and to go back upstairs and change the channel, but I just kept thinking about getting home and that “it’s too late now, I can’t go back; I’ve made my decision, and besides I’ll just look stupid going all the way upstairs to change the channel on the TV”.

Ever since then I can’t stop obsessing over whether or not I committed a mortal sin. I plan to go to confession and mass tomorrow to confess it, but I don’t know if it’s mortal or not. Please help me figure this out!

Thank you.


Star Orbiter, do you really think that you have done something so awful that you have severed your relationship with God?

I didn’t think so either.

Be at peace over stuff like this; this sort of “Omigosh I have committed a mortal sin!” – which by the way is all over this board – feeds stereotypes of Catholics as thinking of God as some sort of cosmic judge and executioner lying in wait to pack souls off to hell. That is not God, and it is not Catholicism.


I’m not an expert on mortal or venial sin so I just confess everything to the priest and let him figure it out. The fact that your decision bothered you so much is worth noting; you have a good heart. Let God work through you and guide you the next time around. I find that my head gets in the way of my heart and that, if I just let God speak to me, things turn out better than if I thought it through for hours. God Bless you.


Well, if I am not mistaken, to commit a mortal sin, you must know that the act you committed is indeed grave or serious matter right?

There are three conditions that need to be met for a sin to be considered mortal:

  1. An act of grave matter that is…
  2. Committed with full knowledge and…
    3.Deliberate consent.

All three conditions must be met for it to be a mortal sin. If one condition is seriously lacking, it’s not mortal — it’s considered a venial sin. (See the Catechism’s section on mortal sin, numbers 1854-1864)

It sounds to me like you are unsure if what you did is “grave” or “serious” so perhaps you shouldn’t stress so much about it.


It is nearly impossible for someone to say whether or not something another person did is a mortal sin because whether or not depends on complex circumstances and your knowledge and thoughts before and during the act. As a general rule if you are not sure about the gravity of a sin you committed it is best to confess it. To help with your situation it seems likely that the sin was mortal because you knowingly exposed people to something that may have led them into sin.


I believe you are being a little bit too scrupulous in your concern about sin.
You were with some mentally impaired seniors, presumably dementia is involved. The television show had nothing these people had not seen before, and were well past caring. Scantily dressed women are unlikely to arouse anyone other than a prepubescent teenager.
Don’t worry about it. As one wise post suggested, it was not enough to separate you from our loving God.
Your vocation alone will get you to heaven quicker than most. May you love yourself as Jesus love you.


Thank you, friends! This is helping me clear my head quite a bit. I was actually reading over my post after I put it up and I was amazed at how… well, neurotic it sounded! I’m not normally this obsessive at all, I guess I’ve just been having a tough day today.

Thanks again! :slight_smile:



The best solution is to go to Confession. The priest will then tell you if it was a mortal sin or not. We cannot tell you that.


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