Is this judging and/or mortal sin?

Okay, I understand rash judgement (for made up example, seeing my married neighbor at a restaurant with a woman who is not his wife and assuming he is having an affair). I also understand that we may judge behavior but not the state of someone’s soul (as in we may never think, “This person has committed mortal sin and is going to Hell.”) Today I did something that probably falls into the judgement category, but doesn’t fit either of these scenarios. Without giving any specific details, I said to someone, “You’re not sorry,” (for what you did), and “You’re glad”…(for the outcome). I am not now nor was I then saying that the person had committed mortal sin. I drew these conclusions based on statements they had made that seemed to me to show lack of contrition for their behavior. Right before I said, “You’re not sorry,” (and while I was saying it), I knew I shouldn’t say it. And then after I said it, I thought, “This is judging…you don’t know if this person was sorry or not.” I should have stopped then, but I went on to say,“You’re glad (for the outcome)”. I did apologize and tell the person I didn’t know if they were sorry or not. Am I guilty of judging this person, and if so, was it mortal sin? I am going to Mass tomorrow morning, and there will be no Confession before-hand. Should I refrain from going to Communion?

Challenging someone on their behaviour, and even internal attitudes, is not the same as making a rash judgment of them. Sometimes it is positively called for in terms of fraternal correction.

Here is a definition of rash judgement:


Unquestioning conviction about another person’s bad conduct without adequate grounds for the judgment. The sinfulness of rash judgment lies in the hasty imprudence with which the critical appraisal is made and in the loss of reputation that a peson suffers in the eyes of the one who judges adversely.

Fr. John Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary

I’d suggest your judgment fails to meet this definition in several ways. Your judgment was not “unquestionning” (weren’t you really actually questionning your friend?). Your judgement was likely based on adequate grounds. And it does not sound like your friend suffered any loss of reputation or other damage from your challenging them.

As for what you should do, ask yourself one question: what would my confessor tell me to do?


CCC 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.”

by which I am led to believe it is not mortal, and it’s okay for you to go to Communion and confess this incident when you next go to Reconciliation.

My attitude (right or wrong):o is very simple.

Who are we to judge ?

What right do we have to sit in judgement

It is only GOD that has a right of judgement

That’s a lovely sentiment. But we still have a right - actually a duty - to call out sin and to correct others. There is a difference between fraternal correction (a good thing and a duty) and judgmentalism.

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No. We have the right to judge a person’s actions but not the person.

I think you are correct in that it wasn’t handled well. But I would not second guess your instinct, either. I think the key here is to communicate with charity. (I know, difficult! At least for me it is sometimes) I think perhaps what you said came of accusatory, but you could have said something like “I’m sensing you are not being honest” or “I’m not seeing the empathy you are saying you have in this situation and it bothers me”. Communication is key. When people feel threatened they sometimes lash out or accuse… Sometimes the threat is real, (and I even go as far to say that sometimes you need to be harsh to address a threat) but its not so much the feeling as it is the acting out that is wrong. We have to protect ourselves too. Jesus did tell us to “watch” for wolves. That doesn’t mean we treat everyone as a wolf- in fact He told us to treat them kindly. “love your enemy”. I think you just didn’t handle the situation well… fear took over. Trust in the Lord is needed.

I’m not sure this was mortal sin, but I would go to confession anyway because I would not feel correct in receiving communion with such a mark on my soul. It seems you may need to work out the situation a bit more (I think this because you are posting the question here) and the priest will be able to help guide you through it, separating what is necessary to function as a human who has to protect themselves and what on your part you may have done wrong.

I’m with you on that, but actually I’m really torn on the issue. (Don’t want to steal the OP’s thread, but it seems that within the church its not very clear. ) I do believe we have to protect ourselves, though, and judgement is absolutely necessary. I don’t’ know how we can get by safely without it… so called “not judging” got me into a lot of trouble before. I was innocent, and trying to do what I thought was best, but it put me in vulnerable situations that were not cool. I realized I had to own up and face reality that Satan is out there, and he means to deceive.

Are you asking us to judge the state of your soul for judging others?


I decided not to go to Communion, even before I saw your post, and now I’m glad I didn’t. I really wasn’t certain I had committed mortal sin, but I know that what I said (and the way I said it) wasn’t charitable and caused the person in question to become very angry. I didn’t feel comfortable going to Communion. It’s been 4 weeks since my last Confession, so it’s time that I went anyway. I’ve been praying the rosary everyday, and ironically I skipped my Saturday rosary. On Sunday I fell in this way. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. You are right on the mark about my trust issues.

That sounds good. It brings to mind Matthew 5:23-24, in which Jesus said:
“Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

[quote=Veronica97;12948262… You are right on the mark about my trust issues.

Only because I suffer the same!

Best wishes!

Actually, I don’t thinks she is. I think she just fears her actions were wrong and she doesn’t know if the sin constitutes mortal (can’t receive holy communion) or venial (possibly can).

When receiving Holy Communion it is so important that a person examines themselves. Without it, we run the risk of ruining the sacred. Sometimes we need others to bounce what occurred off of them to see what we actually look like, to see the depth of or sin, how serious it is or not. Its sometimes too difficult to tell where we are at alone. … Another reason why I love confession so much… : ADVICE!

Well, these things are posted often. And they are not really prudent to answer.
Many times the posters of questions like this struggle with scrupulocity and should really seek out spiritual help and a spiritual director who can spend the time with them they need. This is not really the purpose of CAF. And if it were it would be a horrible idea.

sin constitutes mortal (can’t receive holy communion) or venial (possibly can).

NONE, and I mean NONE of us can help the OP with that. One of the reason I think threads like this are dangerous is because the Church has a mechanism for discerning and forgiving sins. And the Church has trained clergy available to help anyone who needs it. Not only are we ill equipped to decide if someone else is in sin, but if we make a mistake in our advice we can be held accountable for that in our own souls. We are not equipped to make these decisions regarding the OPs state of grace or not. And scrupulosity much like OCD can be something we cannot treat on these boards per the rules. The only acceptable answer AT ALL is to tell the OP to bring it to thier confessor.

And even IF we could judge the OPs soul, it would not be advisable for the OP to trust their spiritual formation and evaluation to strangers offering opinions on the internet. It is akin to taking a poll of the sinfulness of something. If you wish to post what the Church teaches about mortal or venial sin that is fine, but telling the OP one way or the other is above our pay grade and I want no responsibility on my conscience regarding if I have judges someone to be in mortal sin or even if I have helped them decide that they are not in sin.

Can you see how it is dangerous to your own soul to do that on the internet with limited knowledge of the OP? :shrug::eek:

Hoosier, I do think it’s a bit of an exaggeration to describe this sort of thing as judging someone’s state of grace.

A lot of these questions could be rephrased like this: does x sound like objectively grave matter?

If we reply to the questions like that, I see no wrong. Sometimes, x does sound like objectively grave matter, and there we should stop, since we can’t determine culpability. Other times, x clearly is not grave matter, and there’s nothing wrong with pointing out why.

These sorts of questions can be a case of forming one’s conscience.

The trouble is, as far as I can see, that a lot of responses to these questions are clearly opinions that just sort of hang in mid-air. Perhaps those who respond should at least take greater pains to point folks in the direction of trusted sources, whether from the Magisterium or elsewhere.

As for those who start the threads—and these comments aren’t addressed to you, Hoosier—I do think it’s a bit of a judgmental attitude to interpret questions as being the result of scrupulosity. Veronica has readily admitted that she suffers from OCD. That’s fine. But there’s lots of posters who simply seem confused whether a certain behavior is a sin, and if it is, whether it’s grave matter. Instead of helping them, folks often slap labels on those people. Well, maybe they’re not scrupulous. Maybe they just need information.

Let’s be fair: distinguishing between venial and mortal sins can sometimes be a bit of an art, since there’s so many different shades of grey. It’s understandable that folks reach out to others for help at times. Keeping it on the objective level, and presenting documentation of opinions, is a great way to provide help. If the questioner exercises critical thinking and asks for resources, the CAF could be a good way to get started finding answers.

But I will agree with Hoosier on this: the BEST way is for people to go to their Confessors who, outside of manifestly sinful actions, have the authority to bind people’s consciences to their decisions.

I think the lack of lines outside of the confessionals these days has a lot to do with people not being informed of how to form their own consciences and where to seek forgiveness. An anonymous internet forum is never a good place to do either.
The Church has trained and qualified clergy who cannot only forgive sins but also help the person decipher what kind of sin it was if any. There are many many threads started on here about many many trivial things. And then a seeming matching amount of threads making an excuse for obvious sins. Honestly this is not the purpose of CAF, to help people decide their own conscience. There is clergy on here. Some of us are catechists and ministers in our parishes. I myself, am a trained catechist with a theology degree that has been a youth minister, led marriage prep, and RCIA. And outside of quoting the CCC about what grave matter is, I would never presume to tell someone if they are or are not in mortal sin. Firstly, because we are not qualified to make that judgement, (thank God) and secondly because we only can go on the information someone types which can be incomplete and biased. because what if a priest saw it differently? I do not feel confident to take someone’s potential culpability and heap that upon my own soul, basically saying that I will stand in front of God and take your sin or potential sin upon me by telling you that it is either a sin or not a sin. This is the BASIS of the point of Judge not… It is not about not “judging others” it is about saying to God, I will accept your judgement of me by the same standard that I judge others. So, when I think that an unrepentant ABC using adulterer is going to hell, I am confident that if I repent, and do not do those things that I will be spared that fate. The reverse is true as well. We should not judge this state of grace of another.

We should tell them what the Church teaches and we should be ever more vocal about the hellfire that is real and awaiting those who are in mortal sin. I have enough to worry about with my own soul that I do not need to be held accountable for telling the OP that they are fine…

That is the only answer we should give.

I think we can point out potential grave matter, but even that is hotly contested. There are some who think grave matter consists only of the most sickening things, and others who think that if you don’t call your mom on mother’s day you are going to hell for breaking a commandment… Honestly, how can we really know. So what good is getting a consensus on an online forum…:shrug:
This is a place to learn about and discuss Catholic life. Not discern the state of ones soul…

There are sacraments for that.

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