Mortal Sin????

Greetings all,

I understand that there needs to be three conditions met at the same time for the sin to be mortal, but the condition of “full consent” is a very legalistic term. Example: What is full consent of the will for me, may be different to you due to psychological, habitual, duress, etc disorders, same with proper knowledge, but this is in regards to “consent only”

Since it is impossible for us to know if we are consenting 100%, this leaves us in the state of pondering if we did so 100% or not, so since we are left pondering this means that we obviously did not know for certain, which makes the sin venial. (Remember: we must need FULL CONSENT of the will.

A legalistic statement leads to a legalistic answer, here is another example:

Joe Catholic has had a habit of being “impure” with himself for 25 years, he also suffers from certain psychological disorders…anxiety, panic, and depression. He falls into the act of being “impure” with him self. The Catholic Church says this is a mortal sin if ALL 3 of the classifications of mortal sin are met, but Joe is uncertain if he consented 100%, he thinks he may have, or may not…simply, Joe is uncertain which takes away the condition of full consent. He still ask God to forgive him and give him strength to overcome the desire and action, but it is NOT a mortal sin.

What I’m saying simply is this…we need not to get so worked up over things we do not know if we are completely guilty of, are we still sinning ? to an extent yes! mortally? no!

I personally find confession to be awesome, but when people startgetting so legalistic over sins it becomes a problem…just remember what St. Paul said: Romans 7:15-20

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.


I think this post is heretical. Isn’t this close to that “Fundamental Option” thing?
Most people don’t have anxiety and depression, so they can consent most of the time.

Its partly why we turn to a priest through the confessional. They will guide us to whether we really have committed sins or not.

Its kind of simple really. If we are uncertain and can’t work it out for sure then we ask the priest and trust him

Just out of curiosity: what do you understand by “Fundamental Option” ?

Is it all in Life?
And all the fundamental things the Lord asked us to do?
The Lord, besides saying what not to do, He said things to do, which are more important than the things not to do.
What is the interest of knowing whether is a mortal sin or not? Suppose that you are never able to distinguish whether it is or not, what would you do?
We are sinners. Period. The just sins 7 times a day, says the Bible. THE JUST !.
So, let’s start the day asking for God’s forgiveness, let’s end the day asking for God’s forgiveness, let’s to good, love God and our neighbor, forgive those who offended us, give money to Somalia, hear attentively our deaf boring auntie, forgive our Boss’ shouts and Love God above anything on Earth.
Let’s confess when we have occasion, receive the Lord’s Flesh and Blood as our food and drink for eternal life…
We do not weigh our body ten times a day. Why being all the time worried about mortal sins instead of being 100% worried about doing good?

Heretical??? :eek: No disrespect, but did you even read the question I posed?

and…Can anyone answer this honestly, one poster just said we talk to a priest, yes I agree to this…but I’m referring to 'mortal sin and FULL consent" no one…not even a priest knows if you have sinned mortally, especially if one can not answer the premise of if there is indeed FULL consent to sin.

I’m no expert but I would conclude, knowing what I know, that 'Joe Catholic" in the theoretical example above is a sinner. Furthermore he’s trying to justify it, which I’m pretty sure make it worse.

If in doubt Joe Catholic should see a priest as Joe may be flirting with the dark side of eternity.
Although it wasn’t exactly the same, this post seemed a bit like the Fundamental Option heresy due to the fact that it makes the mortal sin VERY hard to commit.Most people have full consent most of the time.

To the OP: What you are saying is just wrong. Not knowing whether you can or cannot give full consent doesn’t mean you aren’t, in fact, giving it.
That is, somebody may say to himself “I just can’t control myself!” just because he doesn’t want to make an effort.

It seems to me that if Joe Catholic has a habit 'of being “impure” with himself for 25 years then he obviously knows he is being impure and is therefore committing a mortal sin. If he has some kind of disorder that is not caused by his sinfulness then God will decide.
Please keep in mind what Saint Paul said to the Christians at Corinth who were known for their struggle with immorality.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Cor. 10:13

God will provide the grace necessary so that Joe Catholic can refrain from being impure with himself. If he can’t refrain then he is simply rejecting God’s grace and committing a mortal sin. God will determine if any psychological factors were involved that would remove culpability.

Once again…many of you are missing the point!

Joe catholic is not justifying nothing, if you read above he DID ask God for forgiveness and seeks to help his problem, but the CCC itself says imputability and psychological factors diminishes the sin from mortal to venial. In this case one can never KNOW for certain, if you are uncertain then you did not CONSENT FULLY which is required, this is a legalistic statement.

Joe is NOT saying it is not a problem, and he is ignoring it, just the opposite…he IS seeking help from God, but because of his conditions the sin is NOT mortal.

( If you do not know for sure, that means NO consent is given FULLY…which is a requirement of the 3 conditions, is it not?) :slight_smile:

1801 Conscience can remain in ignorance or make erroneous judgments. Such ignorance and errors are not always free of guilt

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.” In such cases,** the person is culpable** for the evil he commits

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

Shawn… if ‘Joe’ is consciousness enough to read and interpret the CCC then he’s up to maintaining some pecker discipline. That’s the way it is, unless you want to priest shop.


it’s really not that difficult. If you think no one can tell what a mortal sin is, you’re wrong.

Enlighten me :smiley:

Shawn, don’t worry about the “heretical” comment. Your post sounds more like asking a question than stating a belief.

Now to your post.
There is a lot of good in it. I think I understand what you are trying to drive at because I’ve tried to figure this stuff out too.

The problem is that most people want pat, cut and dry answers to things that simply don’t have them. Many people actually WANT a legalistic explanation of things. Unfortunately many of these matters simply don’t lend themselves to legalism.

When the Church explains what is required for a sin to be mortal, it is talking about things that are internal - known to the heart. That is why in the Catechism there is a caveat about “feigned” ignorance…In other words, the mind might try to justify, but the heart knows what the heart knows that it knows:
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.
In my own mind, if I were to order the requirements for mortal sin I would list them somewhat differently than they are presented in the Catechism. In the catechism they are listed as:
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.”
While I don’t think that there is any intent on the Church’s part to give any greater or lesser priority by the order above, In my mind, I would prioritize them thus:
Full knowledge
Deliberate consent
Grave matter.

If I know something is a sin (regardless of the gravity) then I should not do it.
If I deliberately consent to sinning (which implies knowledge) then my culpability for the sin is increased by this deliberate consent regardless of any objective gravity of the matter.

As to your notion of never knowing if we “fully consented”, take note of how the catechism is worded. “Deliberate consent” - not “100% (or full) consent” - is how it’s expressed.

So in other words if you know it’s wrong (and mostly we do), and you deliberately do it anyway…it is bad…very bad…
Now this fits maybe 90% - 95% of people and sins. Of course there are those who, through no fault of their own, cannot make good judgements on these matters.
But I am afraid that far too many people try to “feign ignorance” in order to “skirt the law”…



Once again… it is in eyes of the beholder, only oneself can conscience know if it is FULLY consent without other factors.

If someone is being impure with them self and “believe” they cannot stop because of a perceived “disorder” then they have the moral obligation to seek professional help. If they refuse to seek professional help then they are culpable and committing a mortal sin with full consent. The idea that sin is “in the eyes of the beholder” is nothing but moral relativism.

BINGO! :slight_smile: That is exactly right! I knew somebody could answer this…now, did I do this as a game? No, but just more of a test, I find that the overwhelming majority of catholics know very little the faith :frowning: this is a great burden! I’m a convert, I did a 10 question exam to 250 lay catholics in 16 different parishes in 3 different dioceses…only 27!!! of their 250 knew all the questions!!! :eek:

What Joe Catholic is doing is committing a gravely immoral act. Whether or not it is a mortal sin, he cannot know for certain. In fact, even if he feels sure of himself that he did not give full consent of the will and commit a mortal sin, he may be mistaken.

In any case, he should confess his sin anyway as an exercise in humility and keep confessing it even if it takes him another 25 years to overcome it.

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