Mortal sin.

I have some questions regarding mortal sin. Three conditions have to be met to commit a mortal sin

  1. How to know what exactly is grave matter?
  2. What to do if you are unsure whether you committed a mortal sin or not? What questions should you ask yourself to see?
  3. Is that valid? If you feel like you didn’t do a mortal sin, then you didn’t do it.
  4. How would you specifically define full knowledge and deliberate consent?

I have problems with scrupulosity, mostly or exclusively with mortal sin. I am tired of going to confession so many times, saying i’m not sure if i did or did not commit a mortal sin. I made some big steps towards the end of this problem, but is still struggle. I don’t think i did anything that would hurt my relationship with God in a serious way, or even in a less serious way, but a lot of times i wonder, if out of fear the three conditions are met and i committed a mortal sin. Then 2 seconds later i start wondering, did i commit a mortal sin? Please help.

This is what the catechism says about mortal sin:

[quote=]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

1858 Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: "Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother."132 The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger.

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 heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.
[/quote]

If you’re unsure about a particular sin’s gravity, you can always look it up in the catechism and see what is written about it. For example, the Catechism tells us that using contraception is “intrinsically evil.” So that particular sin meets the definition for grave matter and if chosen with full knowledge and complete consent, it would also be mortal.

Consent means you choose it, and you’re not being forced to do so or choosing to do it against your will. So, for example, abortion is gravely wrong, but if a parent brings their minor daughter in for an abortion and threatens to kick her out of the house if she doesn’t go through it it, then she’s not freely consenting to the sin of abortion.

Full knowledge means you know what you’re about to do offends God and you do it anyway. Young children below the age of reason can do all sorts of freely chosen, grave acts (disobeying parents, biting siblings, etc) but they do so without realizing that these actions offend God (and, moreover, they often lack the impulse control to be able to say the acts were freely chosen).

In your case, follow the advice of your confessor. If he tells you a particular sin is not mortal, don’t rush back to confession if you commit it again that week. But if you know something is gravely wrong and you choose to do it anyway, it’s probably mortal.

1: You know what is grave matter by studying the teachings of Christ and the Church.

2: If you are unsure, then you should ask yourself; Why did I commit this sin? This is not time to rationalize, but be honest with yourself. If you committed it because you genuinely didn’t know if was a sin then you’re probably fine. If you knew it was a sin but did it anyway, ask yourself why. If you were compelled to against your will (such as with addiction, or under coercion) then you’re probably fine. If you did it “just because”, or because you didn’t care that it was a sin, then you’re in trouble. No matter what, it’s my opinion that if you think you’ve committed a mortal sin then you should go to confession, talk to a priest about it, and receive absolution before taking communion, just to be safe.

3: Certain sins are mortal no matter what you may “feel” about them. For example, there are plenty of people who have degraded to the point where they don’t “feel” bad about murdering someone. The murder is still a grave sin. Sin isn’t so much about what you feel as it is what you know.

4: Full knowledge is having the proper understanding to know that something is a sin, whether through book studies or the natural law imprinted on our hearts. Deliberate consent goes back to what I said earlier about choosing to engage in sin. A person under coercion (like having a gun to their head) does not commit a sin if their oppressor forces them to act against their will. Similarly, it is arguable that people who suffer from addictions to certain actions may not be capable of giving deliberate consent because of their addiction, though this is much more of a grey area due to the subjective nature of addiction. (We can’t really know how much someone is addicted to something, only they and God can know that.)

The bottom line is, if you think you may have committed a mortal sin, go to confession and don’t take communion until you have done so. I say this for two reason:

1: When it comes to mortal sin, better safe than sorry. Mortal sin is sin that cuts us off from God, and from eternity with him. No matter what, you want to cleanse yourself of it.

2: We do not want to receive communion unworthily (in a state or mortal sin). Doing so amounts to a second grave offense because it is putting ourselves and our desires above God, and because it is a refusal to acknowledge the sacred nature of the Eucharist.

Hope this helps, God Bless!

I go to confession and confess the same thing over & over. It can be exhausting & demoralizing, but never give up confessing the sin because grace is being given to you. In my situation, I think God is allowing me to grow spiritually as I frequently battle with temptation and sin.

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