Mortal Sin if Heavily Tempted?

Hey everyone! I hope you all are having a good day. I just wanted to ask a question that has been concerning me lately.

If you were tempted to commit a mortal sin, and I mean really tempted, and you gave in to the temptation, then would it be considered to be a mortal sin? If you had the option to say no to temptation, but it was very hard to say it and you still gave in, then would it be mortal?

Thanks to everyone that responds. Please let me know if I wasn’t clear on anything or if I should clarify on what I said.

God bless,


  1. When does one commit a mortal sin?


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.

  1. When does one commit a venial sin?


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.

and read

Ones confessor can assist one in judging.

There can be things that mitigate etc…

VERY helpful! :thumbsup:

Practically speaking, if it is a serious/grave sin, then it should be confessed ASAP regardless of whether you think you had full consent, etc. It is not up to us to judge these things. We have the Church to help define what serious sins are, but God alone knows our hearts and the state of our souls.

Theoretically speaking, I think it is possible for you to not be culpable for the grave sin if you were heavily tempted. But on the last day would you really want to be judged knowing that you did not confess this because you presumed you were not culpable?

Grave sin = mortal sin = serious sin.

One only commits such if there is the needed knowledge and consent along with the grave matter. It is up to us to make a judgement as to if we had the three aspects of grave sin.

But it is also true that if one does do something that is grave matter and one is not sure of the other aspects that it is good and recommended to confess it --noting there is doubt – as it is before God (though those who struggle with scruples may be advised differently by their regular confessor). So yes practically speaking – usually best to confess it noting there is doubt.

Yes such can be a mortal sin. Such is called a “sin of weakness” but yes it still can be a mortal sin. (sins of weakness are more easily repented of than say those of malice). See also my post up above.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd --he loves us – let us turn right to him and goto him too in confession.

I prefer to use the word mortal sin only when all three criteria are objectively met. Obviously we can never know this side of heaven whether all three criteria are actually met.

I prefer to use grave/serious sin for anything that is objectively grave matter. This we can know with certainty through natural law and Church teaching.

I think it is important to make the distinction so that people who commit grave/serious sins do not think, “Hmmm, I don’t I fully consenting to committing adultery–it was a moment of passion.” With this distinction in mind, they will know it is grave matter and let God be the judge of the things that only God can judge.

Please somebody let me know if I am wrong about the terminology. I’m not saying that mortal = serious = grave is wrong, I’m am simply saying it is not complete.

Yes I understand --but the Church uses the terms enterchangeably in her documents. And that needs to be clear–otherwise some can end up thinking there is some other category of sin (I have seen it happen here in the forum in the past --“oh it was a grave sin but not mortal”…such would be the way to phrase it).

Grave sin = mortal sin = serious sin.

It is often best when discussing culpability to say such and such is “grave matter” and that if one does it with full knowledge and deliberate consent then one will *commit *a grave sin (mortal sin).

It is also often best to say “murder is a grave matter” when discussing the thing itself -but one might need to go further and explain that objectively it is a grave sin (mortal sin).

If someone asks --is murder a mortal sin? I am going to say yes it is. (as I would if they used the other terms as well).

I stand corrected about the use of grave and mortal sin. I should have read the Catechism section more carefully before posting. This is what did it for me:

CCC 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.

I do want to continue to emphasize though that it is not up to us but to God to judge whether we have full knowledge or complete consent. So when we disobey the moral law in a grave matter, we should always confess it.

It *is *actually up to us to judge if we had the full knowledge and complete (deliberate consent).

We are to do what according to Paul and the Church? Examine ourselves. We examine our conscience. The Church gives that very criteria* so that we may actually judge*.

We are not obliged to confess something that was grave matter but which was not given complete consent (deliberate consent) or where the needful knowledge was lacking. And yes we are to make a judgment.

1778 Conscience is a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that he is going to perform, is in the process of performing, or has already completed.

1781 Conscience* enables* one to assume responsibility for the acts performed. If man commits evil,* the just judgment of conscience* can remain within him as the witness to the universal truth of the good, at the same time as the evil of his particular choice. The* verdict of the judgment of conscience* remains a pledge of hope and mercy. In attesting to the fault committed, it calls to mind the forgiveness that must be asked, the good that must still be practiced, and the virtue that must be constantly cultivated with the grace of God

Now of course God is the final judge but he will also take into consideration what we judged.

And the confessor can assist.

Such is not though the Teaching of the Church or the Discipline.

And yes in cases of doubt it is to be counseled yes for most as a rule of thumb – to confess the doubtful mortal sin – noting though that there is doubt. (Those who struggle with scruples are might be advised by their regular confessor not to confess such).

So yes practically speaking if one commits something that contains grave matter but one is doubtful that one had the needful knowledge and consent -it can be a good rule to confess it noting the doubt. But if one clearly knows that one did not have the needful knowledge or deliberate consent – if one confesses it -one notes that too (for that would make it a venial sin if any).

And if one clearly knows one did not give any consent --no matter how grave the matter – it is not matter for confession (example impure thoughts which happen to one out of the blue but which were not consented to at all.)

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