Motal sin

Taking into account the three pre-requisites for mortal sin, is it possible to be in a state of mortal sin and not be aware of it?

Thank you. C.

When I taught CCD I would always tell the kids if you are in doubt talk to your confessor or spiritual confessor.
Peace of mind and soul are worth a little humiliation…

oops…spiritual director…not always the same as a confessor:)

Thank you Mary, I’m not too sure how that answers my question though. How could a person speak to their priest about something that they are not aware of?
Thank you for your help.
Best wishes.

Yes you can. Think of the three things you need for mortal sin. Grave matter. To know it’s wrong. Do it of your own free will. Now let’s take abortion. If I say to myself, you know, I know this is wrong and I’m choosing to do it of my own free will, but I really don’t believe it’s grave matter. Then I go ahead and do it. I now have a mortal sin on my soul. Somethings are just grave matter no matter how much we say they aren’t.

Thank you for the reply. But if a person truly does not believe that what they are doing is wrong, even if that deed is objectively wrong, do they fulfil the other two pre-requisites for mortal sin?

I am not familiar with your personal dilemma…
A priest or director could tell you…after probing a bit…if you were being too particular…for instance do you worry a lot about little things that seemingly do not bother others…are you worried that maybe you have forgotten to confess a mortal sin…are you prone to scrupulosity…only someone who knows your soul could guide you…

A rightly formed conscience will be your best defense.
A conscience formed according to the teachings of Christ’s Church is your only good conscience

Thank you.
Years ago, I read something about mortal sin. The author, a priest, when describing the difference between venial and mortal sin used the anology of a married couple. He said that a venial sin was comparable to a husband being sharp with his wife and needing to go and apologise; whereas a mortal sin was comparable to him divorcing his wife. It would be ridiculous to suggest that a man could not remember whether or not he had divorced his wife that week. The priest argued that similarly it would not be possible to be in a state of mortal sin and not be aware of it.
What do you think?

But in that case, the person knew that what she is doing is wrong, and she does something that she knows is wrong. This seems different than a person who does not know whether or not something is wrong.

Thank you L., yes that is what I thought.

That does not take into account that one can drift away, slowly. And it doesn’t take into account that an adult has the responsiblity to inform/conform ones conscience.

For example, one might say that attending mass every Sunday is not obligatory. Would they be in sin? Yep. Mortal? It depends. IF they are negligent on their part for finding out what their duties are, then that is the sin and wouldn’t it be mortal?

Are you saying that the person knows that the Catholic teaching said that it is wrong but the Catholic person does not believe that the Church teaching is right? So they decide that they are not wrong because they do not hold true to the teachings of the Church? Can we shop for the teachings that we agree too and forget the rest as not wrong because we do not believe it is wrong? For example: Birth Control, Abortion, gay marriage, and many others.

  1. grave matter
  2. full knowledge
  3. deliberate consent

ALL THREE requirements must be met for a sin to be mortal. If a person commits a mortal sin but that person is not aware that the action is sinful, then the person hasn’t met condition #2 (full knowledge). And therefore it’s not a mortal sin for that person in that instance.

If someone else commits that same sin but is aware that the action is sinful, then the person has full knowledge. And it is mortal sin for that person in that instance.

So to answer your question, it is not possible to be in a state of mortal sin and not know it.

If they know the Church teaches it is objectively a grave sin but still go ahead then that fulfills the three requirements (see jpjd’s post) and is a mortal sin.

If they know the Church teaches it is a grave sin but reject that teaching (i.e. they believe the Church teaching is wrong) then that is heresy and can lead to excommunication.

CCC 2089 Incredulity is the neglect of revealed truth or the willful refusal to assent to it. "Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him."

I would like to add this thought too, about whether you could be in a state of mortal sin and not be aware of it. Just from a common sense point of view: How could a just God give you eternal punishment for a wrong you are not even aware of???

I am not sure what you mean here. Take abortion. If you know its wrong (but don’t think its a grave matter) ,The church says its a grave matter, and you do it anyway you are guilty of a Mortal sin and don’t know it. HOWEVER since you knew you had an abortions and it was wrong then you still knew you had sinned.

1)Grave Matter (yes abortion is a grave matter the individual has no bearing on whether it is grave or not)

  1. Full Knowlege (yes you knew you were doing this and knew it was a sin)

3)Deliberate consent (even if you thought it was a venial you went ahead and did it anyway)

The individual is guity of a mortal sin but even if they think that it is a venial sin they are still called to confession.

An unjust GOd would cut a person off from ample opportunity to 1) find out that it is indeed a grave matter 2) the free will to choose whether to accept the practice of frequent Confession or not.

Even if a person thiniks its venial they still should metion it in confession of which hey are supposed to attend at least one time per year. God is not unjust Confession is EASY and almost always readily availible.

The second precept of the church is to confess your sins at least once a year. Individuals who innocently forget to mention some sins they are still absolved from them.

Not quite – you are to confess once a year if you are aware of serious sin (mortal). Venial sin is actually forgiven by participation in the Mass – including communion. I know that the Catechism (#2042) simply says: “You shall confess your sins at least once a year.” but it refers us to the more complete statement in canon 989 where we read: “After having reached the age of discretion, each member of the faithful is obliged to confess faithfully his or her grave sins at least once a year.”

Deacon Ed

deacon Ed

Which is a intended audience for the Catechism? WHich is the intended audience for the canon Law.

God will illuminate us and Cannon Law 988 in light of 989 indcates that we might perhaps be bound to examine our conscience once per year. SInce the church doesn’t contradict herself perhaps we must agree that when a person is guilty of a mortal sin they have cut themselves off from eternal salvation. Regardless of whether they know they have a mortal sin or not if they are guilty of mortal sin they are still bound to confess it . Canon law also recommends that in 988 the church Recomends a person confess venial sins. With this recomendation come adequate chance to answer the quotation of the poster who implied that god is unjust if He condemns a person for guilt of a mortal sin they didn’t know they had. I am sure we can come up with the argument that our GOd is just and fair and loves us so much he gives us the free will to choose. The argument can be made that the just god will give an individual the grace to recognize wrong doing. That grace comes from reading the Catechism 2042 and from reading the remark in canon 988 regarding venial sins. A person can choose to ignore theChurch’s recommendations but the consequences might be eternal. Its really quite simple the church Recommends to confess venial sins and reinforces its urginin in catechim 2042. That alone is ample opportunity.

But what if a person cannot help but genuinely feel that the Church is mistaken on a particular issue?

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