Mortal and Venial sins


#1

Hello all,

I’m attempting to deepen my understanding of Mortal and Venial sins. It’s my understanding that Venial sins just damage your relationship with God, but Mortal Sins cut off the relationship, Please correct me if I’m wrong.

I also feel that any sin (venial or mortal) is a violation against God. Since God is infinite, all sin is infinitely wrong. Why do we (as Catholics) distinguish between Mortal and Venial? Should all sin be put on the same level? How should one respond to people who feel that “sin is sin” and shouldn’t be separated into different categories?
:confused:

Any help is greatly appreciated! :thumbsup:


#2

One reason we distinguish between mortal and venial sins is because the apostle John did. Given that it’s in the Bible, it might also help if you are trying to respond to a Christian who holds to sola scriptura.
1 John 5:16-17
"If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, he should pray to God and he will give him life. This is only for those whose sin is not deadly. There is such a thing as deadly sin, about which I do not say that you should pray. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not deadly."

Another reason to distinguish between mortal and venial sins is because of common sense. If a friend of mine takes my favorite shirt without asking and ruins it, it will damage our friendship, but not nearly as much as it would if she killed my mom. I don’t know anyone who thinks that we should treat every infraction with the same harshness.

You are right that all sin is against God. All sin is serious, and committing venial sins makes a person more susceptible to committing mortal sins. We should not say, “Oh, this is only a venial sin, so it really doesn’t matter.” That’s not the correct application of the distinction between mortal and venial sins. Our goal should not be to get away with as much as we possibly can but to grow as close to God as we possibly can.


#3

I’ll always remember what the dear sisters taught us in grade school about mortal and venial sin. Picture your soul as a lightbulb, and the light itself as the life of grace in your soul - Jesus living in you. When you commit a venial sin, it’s like a stain on the outside of the lightbulb - it looks ugly and diminishes the effectiveness of the light, but the light is still on. No matter how many venial sins you commit, and how ugly the outside of the the bulb becomes, the light is still on. When you commit a mortal sin, the light goes out, and Jesus no longer lives in your soul. To take the analogy further, you can clean off the outside of the bulb in lots of different ways - you can be forgiven your venial sins by prayer, the Rite of Penance at the beginning of Mass, receiving Communion, using holy water, etc. But if the light is turned off by mortal sin, nothing will restore the light except turning it back on - by going to Confession. You can wipe or wash that bulb till the cows come home, but if you don’t turn on the lamp, you will not have light.

Hope this helps!

Betsy


#4

I’m attempting to deepen my understanding of Mortal and Venial sins. It’s my understanding that Venial sins just damage your relationship with God, but Mortal Sins cut off the relationship, Please correct me if I’m wrong.

God will never ‘cut off’ his relation with you, because God is love and forgiveness. You just show Him these sentiments likewise (reciprocal), and He will bless you for it. God came into this world especially for the sinners, not for the righteous, because they already follow the path towards His glory. Love thy neighbour actively (through feelings and deeds), never support wars of any kind, avoid violence at all costs - all the rest are footnotes.

We Europeans have had our share of ‘The Middle Ages’, their Catholic and Protestant bloodshed, wars, inquisitions, all ‘in the name of Christ’. Lord, please don’t let this happen to us or to anybody else in this cosmos ever again - I humbly beg for your Mercy and your Wisdom.

Please forgive my poor English, Carrieanna. I’m just a Belgian young bachelor man. I hope I have been able to translate my thoughts (in Dutch) in good English :slight_smile:

Love to you, and humble kisses,

pious redeemer


#5

[quote=baltobetsy]I’ll always remember what the dear sisters taught us in grade school about mortal and venial sin. Picture your soul as a lightbulb, and the light itself as the life of grace in your soul - Jesus living in you. When you commit a venial sin, it’s like a stain on the outside of the lightbulb - it looks ugly and diminishes the effectiveness of the light, but the light is still on. No matter how many venial sins you commit, and how ugly the outside of the the bulb becomes, the light is still on. When you commit a mortal sin, the light goes out, and Jesus no longer lives in your soul. To take the analogy further, you can clean off the outside of the bulb in lots of different ways - you can be forgiven your venial sins by prayer, the Rite of Penance at the beginning of Mass, receiving Communion, using holy water, etc. But if the light is turned off by mortal sin, nothing will restore the light except turning it back on - by going to Confession. You can wipe or wash that bulb till the cows come home, but if you don’t turn on the lamp, you will not have light.

Hope this helps!

Betsy
[/quote]

Wow! What a great post, Betsy. Thanks.


#6

THE GRAVITY OF SIN: MORTAL AND VENIAL SIN

CCC 1854 Sins are rightly evaluated according to their gravity. The distinction between mortal and venial sin, already evident in Scripture,129 became part of the tradition of the Church. It is corroborated by human experience.

CCC 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.


#7

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