Occasion of Grave Matter?

So would an occasion of grave matter, but NOT of mortal sin, be an occasion of sin you would have to avoid?

For instance, where one would be likely to do something gravely wrong for a few seconds, but when he realizes what he’s doing, he would stop immediately almost always?

Asking this question b/c only occasions of mortal sin, not of grave matter, are defined as occasions of sins you would have to avoid.

It’s implied the person is entering the occasion not wishing to do the gravely wrong thing.

I see no distinction.

The choice to sin is still there. You cannot say you did not choose the sin of grave matter, since you chose to enter the near occasion of it (assuming there is no proportionate reason to do so). And you cannot say you did not know it to be a grave sin.

So, you have the three conditions for mortal sin - the grave matter, plus knowledge of the graveness of the sin, and the free choice to commit it (by placing yourself in the near occasion).

In fact, we might even say choosing to enter the near occasion of the sin is even worse than the sin itself. You have more freedom to choose correctly - to choose not to sin - before entering the near occasion than when you are in the occasion. That is the nature of near occasions of sin.

Well, it’s only mortally sinful to put oneself in a near occasion of mortal sin, unless you have a noble reason for doing so in which case, it is not a sin at all. If what you described exists than I would call it a venial sin or not a sin at all depending on the situation.

Thanks for your reply.

Something like this probably DOES exist, especially with occasions of profanity (out of anger) or lust.

So should one avoid the occasion of say murdering someone - though without the needed complete consent for committing a mortal sin?


Does that mean that because a temptation may involve a grave matter for mortal sin - that such is a “near occasion of mortal sin”? No.

These kinds of questions can have various aspects to them.

But really the best thing for you to do is discuss the matter with your confessor.

I will re -post an older post of mine:

Occasions of sin…

There are all sorts of remote occasions of sin in life…all sorts of possible good things that one can do --where there is a possibility that some temptation may come. We would have to lock avoid many good things in life to avoid all those --and maybe knock ourselves unconscious…

(not saying here one does not still seek to avoid such often…one judges prudently such things)

Certainly though one is to avoid the near occasion of mortal sin.

We are obliged to avoid near occasions of mortal sin (usually more the focus is on such in this sort of question).

What though is a near occasion of mortal sin?

It is not simply temptation (though let us seek to avoid temptations).

A near occasion of mortal sin is such where one would generally falls into mortal sin -one generally commits a mortal sin (or even always!)–or is what is likely to cause one to commit a particular mortal sin now. Due to the nature of thing itself or ones particular weakness.

Now does that mean one ought to simply put oneself willie nillie into various kinds of temptation -when one does not judge them be “near occasions” - no.

So it’s a venial sin to not avoid remote occasions of mortal sin (when it’s prudent to do so)

but it’s a mortal sin to not avoid proximate occasions of mortal sin (when it’s not necessary to).

No those lines do not follow per se.

Normally we are not “obliged” to avoid “remote” occasions of sin. (One might though foresee that it would say likely become a near occasion of mortal sin further in…and so that could be I think an example of sin to go willie nille into such…or there could be some sin due to other aspects - but it is a bit difficult to parse them out in the abstract.) Ones confessor can advise one.

So can it be sinful to put oneself into a *near occasion *of mortal sin? Or remain in one? Yes. (venial or even mortal).

A clear example of when such would be a mortal sin could be -(with full knowledge and deliberate consent) when I am morally certain that if I put myself into circumstance Y that* I will *commit mortal sin Z. And I do so with that needed knowledge and consent.

(Though there can at times be good reasons to be in a particular near occasion…(ones confessor can guide one) …which one still tries to make more remote…)

So to summarize:

It would be mortally sinful to enter into a near occasion of grave matter, since all three conditions would be met.

But simply being tempted does not make it a near occasion of mortal sin.

Why is it called near occasion of mortal sin, when it can be applied with occasions of grave matter?

Or am I misunderstanding something? :confused:

Not always. It is more complex.

There are neccessary occasions - ones that a person cannot reasonably avoid.

And there may be proportionate reasons to enter a known occasion of sin (eg a doctor entering a brothel to treat a sick person).

But in general - yes, there is an obligation to avoid known occasions of sins of grave matter. The application of such an obligation is best determined with one’s confessor.

Temptation alone does not define a near occasion of sin; it is defined by the likelihood to sin. But one should avoid unneccessary temptations too.

Loosely speaking, in common usage, “mortal sin” = “grave matter”.

The term “mortal sin” is used generally to decribe sins that are objectively mortal sins - ie sins of grave matter.

It is also a term used more specifically to describe personal mortal sin - ie sins of grave matter, with knowledge and consent.

We must also note that sins of grave matter that do not meet (for a given person) the requirements for personal mortal sin are absolutely to be avoided too. Their graveness is to be avoided, even if culpability is diminished. So, their occasion is to be avoided also.

You can read more about occasions of sin here:


Reread my posts above - I think you read too quickly there…

So it should be avoided (near occasion of grave matter) but it wouldn’t be mortally sinful per se?

One would have to judge the matter etc.

But yes such does not “per se” mean one commits a mortal sin or even a venial sin. One would have to examine the question involved.

Take an example.

A person has impure thoughts happen every time they see a girl.

Does that mean they sin every time they see a girl?


Is that an " near occasion of grave matter"? (to use your phrase - such is not really a normal phrase) - are not impure thoughts grave matter? Yes.

All sorts of temptations - thoughts - can happen to one out of the blue etc. The fact that you know they will happen does not mean that one is sinning by doing the innocent thing one is doing.

Now one would need to look at each case - and ones confessor can guide one.

But again we are not discussion a near occasion of mortal sin - but simply something that will involve the stuff of grave matter.

Now lets say one is an complete alcoholic and* lets say for argument* that one is not for reason of ones loss of freedom sinning mortally each time one gets drunk – does that mean that one can just then go drink? that it would be ok? No.

I hope that helps.

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