Living in Mortal Sin


#1

Years ago I did something of my own free will, and for my own reasons that are against the Church.

I have no intention of correcting this, and am not the least bit sorry or remorseful for it… given the exact same circumstances I would do it again. This isn’t something like dinging a door in a parking lot - I will carry this until the day I die.

(Nobody died, nothing was stolen, my parent’s honor is intact, and there was no adultery involved. I hold no secrets from my wife, and she is fully aware of this act. She has confessed her knowledge/involvement, and received absolution.)

I haven’t been to confession in a very long time because of this … very long meaning years.

I don’t want “partial absolution” - clean the slate except for that one big one at the top of the list - it’s all or nothing.

Thoughts?


#2

Do you think that what you did was wrong?


#3

What can anyone possibly say if you don’t tell us what this sin is? Does it violate one of the commandments? A beatitude? Does the Catholic Church teach officially that it’s a mortal sin? If it is a mortal sin, then you should certainly feel profound remorse and go to confession immediately. I’ve never heard of any mortal sin which was justifiable. If there were mitigating circumstances, however, it may not be a mortal sin. I can’t know without more information.


#4

I like guessing games.

My guess is donating sperm as a poor college student.

Do I win?


#5

More importantly, if you’re sure it’s something the Church considers a grave sin, have you looked into WHY they consider it a grave sin? Which may require more than thumbing through the Catechism or looking up information on here.

If it’s to do with sexuality, contraception, abortion or other reproductive issues (as it appears to be) you may find Christopher West’s writings about Theology of the Body helpful. You can then delve into the actual writing itself by JP2.

The point is don’t just disagree and leave it at that. Christ gave the Church teaching authority for a reason - we see outside the Church what happens when moral teaching is left up to individuals too much.

It’s for us to study and try to understand why the the Church came up with the teaching. And then to trust and accept even if we don’t completely understand. I don’t have to know what causes a tree to grow for it to happen, or why eating fatty food is bad for me for this to be true. I need more to accept what I’m taught by those who know more than I do on the subject and act accordingly.

It should be possible for you to at least discuss your dilemma with a priest, bringing up your own feelings about the issue as well. And don’t assume that penitence necessarily means some huge guilt-ridden emotion.

Like love and forgiveness, it’s more about making an act of the will and a conscious decision to behave in a certain way towards our fellow man and towards God. In the case of penitence it’s more about the realisation that your behaviour was indeed offensive to God and needs to be confessed, and amended if ongoing.


#6

If one knows that action A is gravely wrong (or, as you say, “against the Church”), and one does it freely and with that knowledge, one has committed a mortal sin.

I’m not sure what you expect us to say here. With all due respect, it seems that you are fully aware that what you did is a mortal sin, and that you feel no remorse for it nor any inclination to correct it/seek pardon.

If one chooses to disobey a Church teaching, and does so with full knowledge of the implications of such a choice, one has chosen to separate oneself from the Church. Is this your situation?

I agree with the poster who suggested that you research why the Church teaches that your action was wrong, and do so with an open heart. If you’re not willing to open your heart to the possibility that what you did was wrong, there’s little point in seeking our input. I suspect that’s not the case, however; why else would you ask? :slight_smile:

I don’t want you to think I’m pressing to know what it is that you did, but there’s little else I (or anyone, I expect) can say without knowing the specifics.

Peace,
Dante


#7

There is a difference between being remorseful, and feeling remorseful. To put it another way, there is a difference between feeling that you want to be forgiven, and choosing to ask to be forgiven.

Flip it around. In Dead Man Walking, Sister Helen Prejean talks about the parents of one of the victims of the rape/murder. They went to the execution, and then started showing up at other executions as a “pro execution” protest. What she was getting at was their inability to forgive. They didn’t have the feeling of forgiving.

However, the feeling of forgiving is not what it is about; the act of forgiving is what it is about. The act of forgiving is an act of the will, not an act of the emotions. Everything about the emotions may still want to have the killer executed; there may be tremendous anger. Having anger does not mean that you do not forgive. It simply means you have anger.

Having that anger may mean that you will need to forgive repeatedly, as the anger comes again to the surface.

It seems that the OP may be stuck in an issue that he did something which was objectively a sin. It may be that he sinned; it may be that he acted in conscience at the time and did not sin, but that is something for him to work out with a confessor.

Or it may be that he did sin, and he doesn’t feel contrite. Feeling contrite, however, is not the issue; choosing to be contrite (as opposed to trying to feel contrite) is the issue.

If it is an issue that the Church’s teaching is that the act is objectively seriously sinful, but he in his conscience truly believes that he had to make the choice he did, then the issue is to conforming his conscience to the Church. And that takes time and prayer, and further searching out the why of the Church’s position.


#8

me too I am going to guess either getting a vesecatamy or using artificial means to get pregnant since you mentioned your wife was involved.


#9

Why don’t you bring up that one big thing in the confessional and let the priest help you determine what your culpability is? Since your spouse was involved, obviously your sin impacted others beyond yourself. It’s rare to find someone who commits and evil act that impacts others who has no remorse or desire to repent. I suspect that’s not the case here. It appears more an issue of pride.

You have free will to carry this with you to your grave, but don’t think for a minute that the sin dies with you. You’re part of the mystical body of Christ. You get to carry this to the next life with you, too. Why not deal with it in the here and now? Wouldn’t you rather do that then have all of creation see your sin at the final judgment? It’s one of those you can run, but you can’t hide kind of deals.


#10

The winner is… Vasectomy.
12 years ago.

Ashamed? No
Sorry? No
Feel bad? No
Gonna have it reversed? Not until after menopause.

You get to carry this to the next life with you, too. Why not deal with it in the here and now? Wouldn’t you rather do that then have all of creation see your sin at the final judgment? It’s one of those you can run, but you can’t hide kind of deals.

I’ve been trying to get my head around the concept of Faith for nearly 20 years. No proof, No evidence, just a 10,000th generation copy of 2nd & 3rd hand stories of what is supposed to be the reason we are here… yet millions follow this unquestionally.

I’ve been taking adult classes on Catholicism for 7 weeks now… I’m the class Pain in the *ss - like a 6yo… Why? Why? Show me.

Why do you think I’m on this board? My wife has this grasp - and “needs” her Faith and the Church to feel complete… My kids are the same way…

It seems that the OP may be stuck in an issue that he did something which was objectively a sin. It may be that he sinned; it may be that he acted in conscience at the time and did not sin, but that is something for him to work out with a confessor.

Or it may be that he did sin, and he doesn’t feel contrite. Feeling contrite, however, is not the issue; choosing to be contrite (as opposed to trying to feel contrite) is the issue.

I’d like to correct this - feel comfortable with myself, and the Church that the 3 most valuable things in my life feel so bonded to… but find some compromise between my feelings:

When anyone can show me a tangible item or proof of “the next life”… I may change my tune. For now there is no “next life”. Dead = Dead… you did your (hopefully) 80+ turns around this rock… possibly leaving something good behind.
I’ll take my 80 turns without intrinsic guilt.


#11

If we are wrong, then when we are dead, we are dead. We won’t have any regrets about what we did or did not do while alive because we are DEAD!

OTOH, if you are wrong, and there is a Judgment after death where we will be held accountable for our past actions or ommissions, there will be Heaven or Hell for all eternity.

Your Eternal happines depends on the answer, and I believe it is too important to just shrug off. I take it you are not a Catholic, since every Catholic is obliged to believe in Hell. And every Christian must believe in eternal life or say Jesus lied.

Ignorance is no excuse under the Law and it is no excuse under God’s Law.


#12

Although your profile identifies you as a Catholic, it doesn’t sound as though you are Catholic, possibly not even theist. You do not appear to accept the teachings of Catholic moral theology.

If you don’t think that what you did was sinful or wrong, I don’t see how even by the terms of Catholic moral theology you could have committed a mortal sin. But I’m neither your counselor nor confessor, so it’s not my job to evaluate your conscience!

I don’t think that there is anything unreasonable about the Catholic faith, but I hardly know where to start with regard to advising you on resources. There are a lot out there, but I don’t know that the class you are taking is going to be able to address all your questions in the depth you want.


#13

There is a difference between not thinking what you did was wrong even though everyone can show you that is was and simply not thinking what you did was wrong and for that matter not knowing what you did was wrong.

I don’t know what your sin is but my guess is that people have shown you or explained to you how it is wrong and the reasons the Catholic Church acknowledges it as wrong and perhaps a mortal sin. If this is so then you can’t use ignorance as an excuse anymore and it doesn’t really matter whether you think you sinned or not anymore. In fact, I would say it is not even the sin that you committed that is the problem now. It is pride as others have mentioned.


#14

It’s not even a matter of ignorance - you at least know what the teachings are. It’s putting your own judgement uppermost. Doesn’t wash in secular law, and I don’t think God’s too happy with it either.


#15

Aren’t we being a little dramatic here? You have kids, you chose to have no more. You and your wife.

There is no sin in getting a vasectomy, especially after you have had kids. You are no different than the “righteous” Catholics that preach all manner of stuff and have two kids, assuming you have 2 kids. To condemn you is to condemn people who have hysterectomies because the doctor said so. Or how about the parents who abort a fetus because it is not viable? How long should a person who is terminally ill be kept alive? Tough questions, no really good answers.

So, sorry to take away your sin, and it is not my place, but I don’t think you sinned and I actually know something about this. Anyway, did this sin cause you to terminate your relationship to your wife? I doubt it. I think you love your wife and your kids and I want to see you in Church with them on Sunday. You belong there.


#16

Actually, the Church does classify getting a vasectomy as a serious sin. He does not accept the Church’s judgment in this matter, just as some do not accept the Church’s teaching on contraception or abortion or euthanasia. But that doesn’t change the teaching.


#17

I don’t know how much you know about vasectomies, but you know absolutely nothing about Church teaching. Or the way God works.

And YOU are the one with no really good answers. God knows all the answers, he gives them to us through His church. Reasonable, well explained and thought out.

He doesn’t want us to remain in the dark about how to behave in these tough situations. That’s why He speaks, clearly and distinctly, through the Church and its teachings.


#18

There is no sin in getting a vasectomy, especially after you have had kids.

Sorry. You are wrong. Intentional sterilization is contrary to Church teaching.

You are no different than the “righteous” Catholics that preach all manner of stuff and have two kids, assuming you have 2 kids.

Not sure who the “righteous” are, but other people’s appearance of sin does not justify your’s. And you have no right to judge whether Catholics with only two children are behaving in opposition to Church teaching, or just not blessed by God with more children.

To condemn you is to condemn people who have hysterectomies because the doctor said so.

Completely different scenario. A woman with a dangerous medical condition needing a hysterectomy cannot be compared to a man choosing to sterilize himself to prevent future children.

Or how about the parents who abort a fetus because it is not viable?

Irrelevent. But for your information, abortion is unacceptable for any reason.

How long should a person who is terminally ill be kept alive?

There are numerous Church documents on this issue and very clear guidelines.

Tough questions, no really good answers.

Sorry. We have all the answers necessary. You are a new member. I suggest you search the forums for some answers to your very misguided ideas.


#19

Acts 5:1-11

But a certain man named Ananias, with Saphira his wife, sold a piece of land,

And by fraud kept back part of the price of the land, his wife being privy thereunto: and bringing a certain part of it, laid it at the feet of the apostles.

But Peter said: Ananias, why hath Satan tempted thy heart, that thou shouldst lie to the Holy Ghost, and by fraud keep part of the price of the land?

Whilst it remained, did it not remain to thee? and after it was sold, was it not in thy power? Why hast thou conceived this thing in thy heart? Thou hast not lied to men, but to God.

And Ananias hearing these words, fell down, and gave up the ghost. And there came great fear upon all that heard it.

And the young men rising up, removed him, and carrying him out, buried him.

And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what had happened, came in.

And Peter said to her: Tell me, woman, whether you sold the land for so much? And she said: Yea, for so much.

And Peter said unto her: Why have you agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? Behold the feet of them who have buried thy husband are at the door, and they shall carry thee out.

Immediately she fell down before his feet, and gave up the ghost. And the young men coming in, found her dead: and carried her out, and buried her by her husband.

And there came great fear upon the whole church, and upon all that heard these things.

This story really helps us understand what a Mortal Sin is and what it deserves. Remember, you don’t need to feel anything when you commit a sin. When you commit a sin, its an objective evil and, as many examination of consciences say,

knowledge OR firm belief

is required. Just like contraception, you don’t need to be convicted that it is a moral evil: if you know the Church teaches it is a mortal sin, thats enough.
Learn from these two poor souls.


#20

Why get it reversed at all? Do you intend to have more children?

Actually it’s billions who follow this. I suppose there’s a fair amount of security in believing that we are just a random product of evolution. The only accountability then becomes to oneself. You can then create your own faith which in this case holds that our mortal existence is as good as it gets. The motivation to leave a legacy is simply to make yourself feel better before you die. It is an egocentric existence.

I wish you were in my class. I help teach the RCIA program at our parish, and we always have one or two of your kind every year. You guys are my favorite people precisely because you question everything.

You want proof, eh? The challenge my friend is that you want to use a lessor discipline, science, to prove that which is taught by the higher disciplines or philosophy and theology. Actually, it’s not even that is it? You want to see proof of the afterlife yourself, not just get told about it by some prelate or even a scientist. The fact that you’re looking for it implies the possibility that it exists. You certainly can’t prove that it doesn’t exist either. Who do you trust? Yourself? Well that hasn’t worked out to well. I mean look at yourself. You have a finite number of heartbeats and you’re wasting precious time plunking a keyboard in an Internet discussion room. The clock’s ticking on your life, pal. 80 turns around the rock and you’re gone. What the heck are you doing here? Do you trust the Pope? Likely not as he’s not the scientist. Which scientist do you believe has the answer? Is that the one that says the Earth is cooking with global warming or the one that is equally convincing that the Earth is just being its whacky self?

Where do you put your faith? And how do you find faith when what you are looking for is its exact opposite…certainty?


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