Mortal Sin?

I was online looking at pictures of my friends and I and in one of the pictures my friend was wearing a see-through shirt showing her stomach. My eyes were immediately drawn to it and I looked at the picture and felt sexual arousal. Is this mortal sin or even grave matter? I wasn’t intending to get that kind of response. I’m not sure if I am overthinking this or not.

Did you entertain the thought once you realized what you were thinking about?
If you did continue with lustful thoughts even after you realized that you were then yes it is a sin.

We are all called to modesty. Presenting ourselves immodestly can lead others into sin, as in your case. Your sin was impurity of thought, and of course requires confession. My understanding is that if you realized the improper nature of your thought and sought quickly to reorder it toward purity, you have committed venial sin. If your thoughts persisted and you subsequently lost control, ending in immoral action, you have committed mortal sin. This is my understanding, and if I am incorrect I would request correction. The issue is one of control. We must be vigilant in our quest for discipline and self-mastery, but control rests with God alone, and it is to Him we must pray for temperance and prudence.

So is this a mortal sin? I just went to confession and i won’t be able to go again until next month

It is if you kept the thought even after you realized that it was lustful thoughts that you were having.

If you immediately changed your thoughts once you realized then no you have not sinned.

Three requirements for mortal sin:

  1. It must be grave matter.
  2. You must know it is grave matter.
  3. You must freely choose to commit the action anyway.

If all you did was feel arousal, and as soon as you noticed it you averted your gaze and tried to think of something else – no sin.

If you felt arousal, and then allowed your eyes to linger, allowed your mind to consider it – venial sin.

If you lingered with those thoughts and committed an act which the Church has deemed grave matter (i.e., masturbation) – mortal sin.

Just having the thoughts would not usually constitute grave matter, so the only sin would be venial. And if you still have doubts, check out the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s article on mortal and venial sins, and put a call in to a local parish and speak with a priest – not for confession (which can only be done in person) but for clarification.

God bless you!


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