I’ve a question that I’m interested in discussing, but since mortal sin is a topic people really jump the gun on, I’d like to set a few ground rules.
This thread is not my attempt to say Mortal sin doesn’t exist. As such 2 things: don’t use this post to explain mortal sin does exist (the existance of mortal sin is taken as a given in this thread) and don’t post here that they don’t exist either because this thread is accepting the existance of mortal and venial sins as a given.
Secondly, attempting to understand when a gravely sinful action my or may not have less than mortal effects on the soul does not mean that a person is attempting to excape from their conscious or from truth. This topic is for understanding and is not in relation to specific circumstances - thus please refrain from assuming any such connections.
Okay, all that said:
Everyone pretty much understands that mortal sin has 3 requirements:
Including the 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.”
But somehow there is still a notion that any grave matter sinned over is always a mortal sin. Which can’t make any logical sense if we just explained that mortal sin is grave matter accompanied by these other 2 conditions.
It seems to me that we are using rather poor terms in trying to define sin, causing some ambiguity or double meaning.
Mortal sin definitions seem to cause this problem b/c people use “mortal sin” to define 2 things:
- the objective nature of sins which concern grave matter. (I’ve seen something like this called “objective mortal sin”)
- the moral result of only those sins which fullfill all three of the above stated conditions.
My argument demands people understand that #1 and #2 are actually different. So, if I have to really lay out the differences in thick I will but please read #1 and #2 again if you don’t see a difference because to give more exhaustive explination would be legnthy and tedious (to read more than write, as I am willing)
The Catholic Church seems to use definition #2:
1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.
This being the chosen definition, why use the same phrase for a second and significatly different definition as well?
This notion of “grave matter = mortal sin” is problematic to reconcile with this line as well:
1862 One commits venial sin when, in a less serious matter, he does not observe the standard prescribed by the moral law, or when he disobeys the moral law in a grave matter, but without full knowledge or without complete consent. (emphasis added)
My main questions on this are:
When people pick out some sin (murder, suicide, masterbation, etc…) and say it is always objectively mortal sin, is this ever true?
Are they saying that such actions always constitute grave matter and assume that is the same as mortal sin?
Anyway, I’d love comments and thoughtful answers. Much thanks.