Mortal Sin and the Ten Commandments

Hello, everyone!

I’m born and raised Catholic, and I want to continue learning about and growing in my Faith.

I have a question. Is breaking one of the Ten Commandments automatically a mortal sin? For example, if a parent tells a child not to do something yet he or she goes ahead and does it, does it mean that the child committed a mortal sin?

I look forward to your reply and also becoming an active member in this forum!

Peace,
BJ

Compendium issued by Pope Benedict XVI

395. When does one commit a mortal sin?

1855-1861
1874

One commits a mortal sin when there are simultaneously present: grave matter, full knowledge, and deliberate consent. This sin destroys charity in us, deprives us of sanctifying grace, and, if unrepented, leads us to the eternal death of hell. It can be forgiven in the ordinary way by means of the sacraments of Baptism and of Penance or Reconciliation.
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396. When does one commit a venial sin?**

1862-1864
1875

One commits a venial sin, which is essentially different from a mortal sin, when the matter involved is less serious or, even if it is grave, when full knowledge or complete consent are absent. Venial sin does not break the covenant with God but it weakens charity and manifests a disordered affection for created goods. It impedes the progress of a soul in the exercise of the virtues and in the practice of moral good. It merits temporal punishment which purifies.

vatican.va/archive/compendium_ccc/documents/archive_2005_compendium-ccc_en.html

More on Mortal and Venial sin in the Catechism: scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s1c1a8.htm#IV

**Catechism:
**
**The obligation of the Decalogue
**
2072 Since they express man’s fundamental duties towards God and towards his neighbor, the Ten Commandments reveal, in their primordial content, grave obligations. They are fundamentally immutable, and they oblige always and everywhere. No one can dispense from them. The Ten Commandments are engraved by God in the human heart.

2073 Obedience to the Commandments also implies obligations in matter which is, in itself, light. Thus abusive language is forbidden by the fifth commandment, but would be a grave offense only as a result of circumstances or the offender’s intention.

scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s2.htm

There are 3 conditions necessary for mortal sin:

dummies.com/religion/christianity/catholicism/mortal-and-venial-sins-in-the-catholic-church/

Three conditions are necessary for mortal sin to exist:

Grave Matter: The act itself is intrinsically evil and immoral. For example, murder, rape, incest, perjury, adultery, and so on are grave matter.
Full Knowledge: The person must know that what they’re doing or planning to do is evil and immoral. For example, someone steals a postage stamp, thinking that it’s only worth 50 cents. She knows that it’s sinful, but if she’s unaware that the stamp is rare and actually worth a $1,000, she’s not guilty of mortal sin but of venial sin.
Deliberate Consent: The person must freely choose to commit the act or plan to do it. Someone forced against her will doesn’t commit a mortal sin. For example, a woman told she’s giving a minor shock to another person who in fact is administering tortuous electrical jolts is not guilty of a mortal sin (although she may feel guilty if she finds out the truth).

Example: Keep holy the Lord’s day

If the child deliberately misses mass on Sunday for example, they commit a mortal sin
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That would be correct if the child is above the age of reason and knows that deliberately missing Mass was a sin of grave matter. If not then the child has not committed a mortal sin.

The question that was asked

“I have a question. Is breaking one of the Ten Commandments automatically a mortal sin? For example, ***if a parent tells a child not to do something yet he or she goes ahead and does it, does it mean that the child committed a mortal sin?”


Yes and your answer is wrong.

A child can only commit a mortal sin if he/she is above the age of reason AND knows that what they are deliberately doing is a sin of grave matter.

A child below the age of reason cannot commit a mortal sin.
A child above the age of reason or adult can only commit a mortal sin if all three conditions are satisfied.

It is therefore not enough simply to say if one of the Commandments is broken it is automatically a mortal sin.

why do you presume I’m talking about a child below the age of reason

A child carries a broad range in age. Your assumption that I was talking about a child below the age of reason is wrong

Your assumption that I was talking about a child below the age of reason, is what is wrong

Forget below the age of reason then. If a child above the age of reason commits an act of grave matter (e.g. deliberately missing Mass) but does not know that such an act is of grave matter then they have not committed a mortal sin.

If “a child” doesn’t know, then ignorance is a factor, but the questioner doesn’t say the child is ignorant in the example.

You are missing the point. If you are going to state that by committing a certain act it is a mortal sin you should qualify it by saying that assumes the three conditions have been met. I know many Catholics who have never heard of the three conditions.

One commits a mortal sin only when the following is simultaneously present:

  • grave matter,
  • full knowledge, and
  • deliberate consent.

Without all 3 it is not considered a mortal sin and it is not for you or I to decide that. It’s up to their Confessor.

:thumbsup:

**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.

There is more to that definition than meets the eye

If one attempts to play games with individual terms in the first part of the definition to diminish even the possibility of committing a mortal sin, that’s why the ending is added to the definition.

Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.”

IOW faux, fake, pretend ignorance, actually increases the voluntary character of a sin. IOW when one puts effort into crafting their excuse, rather than own up to their deed, they actually increase the voluntary choice they made to commit the sin in the first place.

Also

1791

Of course it does, that’s why I said it is not up to you or I to declare something a mortal sin. It is the sole responsibility of the Confessor.

Is the confessor a mind reader? Can the confessor tell if the individual is playing games?
It is NOT the sole responsibility of the confessor.

Yes of course it “we” are examine “our” conscience and “confess” any and all mortal sins (hopefully none!). So yes the confessor is not a mind reader. And yes it is thus not the sole responsibility of the confessor.

But I think the OP may have meant that it is not up to “you or I” to say if Joe committed a mortal sin …that would be for Joe and his confessor to judge. I think that is what the other person was getting at there.

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