The Catholic Church in Her Catechism teaches the following about mortal sin:
"Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God’s law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him…Mortal sin, by attacking the vital principle within us—that is, charity—necessitates a new initiative of God’s mercy and a conversion of heart which is normally accomplished within the setting of the sacrament of reconciliation…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…Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments…”
Now, since protestants have full knowledge of the Ten Commandments (which constitute grave matter), and since they presumably [with free will and deliberate consent] break the ten commandments (or have at least done so once), are protestants in a perpetual state of mortal sin?
Essentially, the reason that I ask this questions is that unlike the situation of Catholics who commit mortal sins, conversion of heart and God’s newly initiated mercy is not able to occur through the normal form of sacramental confession for protestants (because they don’t believe in or practice sacramental confession like Catholics do).
This said, there is one extra ordinary method of converting one’s heart and attaining God’s newly initiated mercy (after baptism).
Essentially, it is to ask God for forgiveness through prayer in one’s heart, but the Catholic Church teaches that the stipulation in this situation is that the sinner is doing so in a state of perfect contrition. Perfect contrition is sorrow for one’s sins (and a resolve to repent and turn from them) purely out of love for God. This is a hard state to be in, though, and it is very rare. Most people (even Catholics) don’t ever attain perfect contrition. Instead, they attain imperfect contrition (or attrition), which is sorrow for sins (and a resolve to repent and turn from them) out of love of God AND any combination of the following – fear of God and His eternal wrath (aka: hell) AND/OR the realization of the ugliness of the sin that one has committed. On a side note, some people never have sorrow for their sins due to the motivation of love of God, but instead only have sorrow for their sins via either or both of the other two motivations – of fear of God or repulse at their evil and sinfulness. This said, even these people have achieved imperfect contrition (or attrition), because in God’s infinite mercy, he accepts any form of sorrow for sins, but for mortal sins to be forgiven/absolved (and the sinner to be taken out of the state of mortal sin and put back into the state of grace), He does require perfect contrition or sacramental confession from the sinner.
So since most people don’t attain perfect contrition (and instead only attain imperfect contrition/attrition), most people actually need sacramental confession to be forgiven of their mortal sins, but as mentioned before, protestants don’t practice or believe in sacramental confession.
So if they have knowingly and free-willingly broken one of the Ten Commandments and have thereby committed mortal sin, do protestants (absent from such perfect contrition) remain in that spiritually dead state perpetually?