Mortal Sin - Time, Invincible Ignorance, & Unintentional Ignorance

Hi,

I was thinking back to the times when I actively engaged in mortal sin prior to a deeper conversion of my heart. If I died back then, I might have went to hell. So it seems possibly that time can be a factor if I had mortal sin in my life based the following three prerequisites? Or maybe since God knows how much time we will get in this life to repent, it is proportionate to His perfect Love, Mercy, and Justice (mystery?).

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."131 - scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s1c1a8.htm

Wouldn’t it be suffice to say the last two, since if a person has full knowledge of their grave mattered sin, being grave matter, it doesn’t need to be reinstated? That is really a side question.

IV. ERRONEOUS JUDGMENT

1790 A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed.

1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man "takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin."59 In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.

1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.

1793 If - on the contrary - the ignorance is invincible, or the moral subject is not responsible for his erroneous judgment, the evil committed by the person cannot be imputed to him. It remains no less an evil, a privation, a disorder. One must therefore work to correct the errors of moral conscience.

1794 A good and pure conscience is enlightened by true faith, for charity proceeds at the same time "from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith."60

The more a correct conscience prevails, the more do persons and groups turn aside from blind choice and try to be guided by objective standards of moral conduct.61 - [scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s1c1a6.htm](http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s1c1a6.htm)

1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. **But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. **The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest. - scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s1c1a8.htm

Seems the highlight quote above, we all have the moral law on our hearts, so it is our emotions and feelings that may reduce a mortal sin to a venial or no? sin, so to go to purgatory and then heaven?

MY MAIN QUESTION THAT MIGHT NOT BE ANSWERABLE:
Maybe it all boils down to that God is the ultimate judge.

I was watching a lot of documentaries of the young women who were overseers and reading on this link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_guards_in_Nazi_concentration_camps about their lives. I was fascinated in the crimes against humanity and maybe more so that women could carry them out in such a manner, not sure why, probably because it is usually men that are the aggressors. After doing this for about a week or so, it just made me so much more aware of the sin that is in the world. I was thinking about my own sin and their sins, and why they did some of the things they did and if they had more time in this life they might have repented, if they didn’t. Hopefully, they did. But if they didn’t, is it possible that even with such mortal sins they can go to heaven, since they might not have been aware of them?

Also, I am not quite sure the difference between invincible ignorance and unintentional ignorance.

Just trying to better make sense of God’s plan for salvation of humankind. Any thoughts are welcome!

In Christ,
Brian

It is good that you are reflecting on these things. However, I hope that you will be patient with yourself and not try to over analyze things. Always remember to stay firmly planted within God’s Love and grace. Other answers will flow from that…Answers that sometimes we can’t really express adequately with words.

Wouldn’t it be suffice to say the last two, since if a person has full knowledge of their grave mattered sin, being grave matter, it doesn’t need to be reinstated? That is really a side question.

No it’s not really redundant because as you read through the Catechism on sin, you will that “grave matter” is defined by the ten commandments (which the Catechism explains in some detail) whereas venial sin is seen as anything that acts against charity.
So the grave matter standard is something that needs to be understood in and of itself.

That said…It is my opinion that knowledge and consent, increase the seriousness of a given sin since they, by their nature, include a tacit rejection of God’s sovereignty over a person’s life.

But as you say - this is another topic.

Seems the highlight quote above, we all have the moral law on our hearts, so it is our emotions and feelings that may reduce a mortal sin to a venial or no? sin, so to go to purgatory and then heaven?

MY MAIN QUESTION THAT MIGHT NOT BE ANSWERABLE:
Maybe it all boils down to that God is the ultimate judge.

I was watching a lot of documentaries of the young women who were overseers and reading on this link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_guards_in_Nazi_concentration_camps about their lives. I was fascinated in the crimes against humanity and maybe more so that women could carry them out in such a manner, not sure why, probably because it is usually men that are the aggressors. After doing this for about a week or so, it just made me so much more aware of the sin that is in the world. I was thinking about my own sin and their sins, and why they did some of the things they did and if they had more time in this life they might have repented, if they didn’t. Hopefully, they did. But if they didn’t, is it possible that even with such mortal sins they can go to heaven, since they might not have been aware of them?

Also, I am not quite sure the difference between invincible ignorance and unintentional ignorance.

Just trying to better make sense of God’s plan for salvation of humankind. Any thoughts are welcome!

In Christ,
Brian

We cannot say what the fate was of the individuals involved - though I think it is fairly safe to say that a goodly number of them did not repent and are now paying the penalty for their decisions.

On the matter of vincible and invincible ignorance…I’m not too clear myself. I just keep trying to move forward as Love of God and neighbor moves me - learning as I go. I sometimes wonder though If I am getting less ignorant or more…:wink:

Peace
James

Invincible Ignorance is when a person through no fault of their own does not know Christ and his Church but in that ignorance lives a life according to Christ’s teachings.

Vincible ignorance applies to sacramentally baptised Catholics who should know the Church teachings but may be ignorant of one or more teachings.

You may find this article by apologist Jimmy Akin helpful:

archive.catholic.com/thisrock/1999/9907chap.asp

In the end, you are quite right in saying: “God is the ultimate judge”. It is not our place to judge other people. The Church teaches these things so we may know the way to heaven (through Christ) and help others do the same…not to judge others as being bound for or deserving of hell, or of being guilty of mortal sin when all we see is that they commit sin of grave matter.

(noting that there is a difference between brotherly correction and judging)

Thanks for the thoughts, James! Pax Christi, Brian

Thanks, I never heard of “Vincible ignorance”.

Thank you! You seem to be focused on God’s Mercy and not judging their mortal sins as if they are going to hell… which is possible. But some of them can claim Invincible Ignorance, & Unintentional Ignorance? I am not sure where Unintentional Ignorance fits in the picture… but i have heard the Church tends to believe MOST PEOPLE will go to hell, if i am not mistaken, but maybe that isn’t an official teaching since they say no one is in hell.

I did briefly scanned through the link below in the past. It seems most Christians don’t know we are called to judge others behaviors. I am still not clear if we are to only judge the behaviors of those calling themselves Christians (Catholics) or even non-believers. I think the scriptures seem to say both?

"Having said all that, there is a big difference between judging another’s behavior and judging the eternal state of his soul. The latter judgment belongs only to God.

Paul, too, exhorted right judgment of other Christians: “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. Drive out the wicked person from among you” (1 Cor. 5:12-13).

Also, “Do you not know that the saints * will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, matters pertaining to this life!…Shun immorality” (1 Cor. 6:2-18)." - catholic.com/magazine/articles/judge-not*

The Church does NOT teach there is no one in Hell.
It teaches that no one is predestined to go to Hell which is completely different from what you said.

The Church does not teach that most go to hell, although it is a commonly held opinion among many saints. Others hold a hope that many (even most) will be saved, and as a Church we pray as such. The faithful are not bound to any particular belief in this regard.

The Church does not teach that no one is in hell; she has simply never declared any given person (including Judas) to be there. The Church teaches that hell is real, eternal, and where you go directly after judgement if you die under mortal sin.

ME:

but maybe that isn’t an official teaching since they say no one is in hell.

Hello,

There is a possibility of hell, I agree… but

6:35 into video - “Are any human beings in hell, we don’t know. The Church doesn’t declare on that subject.”
wordonfire.org/WOF-TV/Commentaries-New/Fr-Barron-comments-on-Is-Hell-Crowded-or-Empty.aspx

Thank you for sharing. I was trying to say what you said in green above, but essentially I think your sentence clause means the same thing, right? I get what your saying though because the Church has not been revealed (like the Saints in heaven) by God if anyone is in hell, but there is a possibility.

… like Father Barron says,

6:35 into video - “Are any human beings in hell, we don’t know. The Church doesn’t declare on that subject.”
wordonfire.org/WOF-TV/Com…-or-Empty.aspx

This always opens a can of worms here, and plenty of vigorous discussion…

but in short, I do not categorically reject the opinion that an empty hell is strictly possible, even in unlikely. But there’s a lot of scritpure and opinions/visions of many saints that would be hard to interpret if this was the case.

Maybe it is empty now and the visions have to do with the future when it will be filled? I don’t know what to say on that…

The Church never declares someone to be in hell. The Church DOES declare when someone is in Heaven by going through the long process of canonization. That doesn’t mean no one is in hell; it means the Church will not make assumptions.

I’m a mom, so here’s an example for you involving my kids.

Sometimes I’ll be in the kitchen and the house is quiet. I wonder where my kids are playing. Then I hear stomping above my head and know they are upstairs. However, if I hear nothing, I can’t assume they are downstairs. Maybe they are, or maybe they’re sitting upstairs reading a book.

Similarly, we can see signs that someone is in Heaven. That person may intercede for us or perform a miracle. If your grandma dies and you start smelling roses every time you pray for her, maybe it is a miracle and she is showing you that she is in heaven. But if your grandma dies and you see/hear/feel nothing, it could be because she is “sitting quietly” in heaven, or maybe she is not there. Signs are proof; a lack of signs is inconclusive.

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