Please help me explain the mystery of how venial sin is worse than death of the body to my high functioning autistic son

My son is 11 and very precocious but also high functioning autistic. He is a serious black and white thinker and genius when it comes to verbal comprehension which can be a good thing and a bad thing! In St. Joseph’s Baltimore Catechism No. 2 p. 41 on the lower 1/2 of the page it states the following: “Venial sin is a disease in the life of grace in the soul. It is less serious than mortal sin, but much more serious than a sickness, or even the death, of the body.” My son understands the 10 commandments. He is a black and white thinker and he deals better with the concrete rather than the abstract. He feels as a result of his condition that the church or this book which the church has given an imprimatur too (he is big on asking if it has it because he is always making sure!) that this church is actually saying that Hitler is better than St. Mother Theresa because he killed so many people. I explained to him that there is God’s will and God’s permissive will. Some people die in the womb through natural causes - probably God’s will. Some people die through abortion- I would say that that is God’s permissive will. St. Mother Theresa did not die in the womb but went on to teach the Faith through action and bring others to Christ. It was His will that she not die in the womb. It is a mystery but my son doesn’t understand it. He wants to leave the faith and I told him that because he is our son and lives in our home he cannot leave the faith. Please help me explain this to him better. Thank you!

On another note he at times accuses basically of atrocities - like why did God not make Satan a human so that he could have more chances, He knew what was going to happen. Why did he allow Hitler to live so long and commit so many crimes?

I would simply set that aside and not discuss that passage from that older local Catechism.

Inform yourself with the* Catechism of the Catholic Church* and the *Compendium *

Neither use that sort of language.

As for the problem of evil - a resource for you is to seek out the presentation of Jimmy Akin of Catholic Answers.

Thank you!!

Your welcome.

This is a DVD he did

Not saying to show it to your son …that is your call but it can help (I have yet to see it myself but I have heard him discuss this over the years).

Hi Happy2bcatholic .

Father John Hardon, S.J. was a prolific writer for the faith:

Some of his works include : The Catholic Catechism (1975) - written at the request of Pope Paul VI ; Modern Catholic Dictionary. Father Hardon also served as a consultant for the drafting of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992).

This is how Father Hardon defines venial sin in his online Modern Catholic Dictionary

An offense against God which does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace. It is called venial (from venia, pardon) because the soul still has the vital principle that allows a cure from within, similar to the healing of a sick or diseased body whose source of animation (the soul) is still present to restore the ailing bodily function to health.

Deliberate venial sin is a disease that slackens the spiritual powers, lowers one’s resistance to evil, and causes one to deviate from the path that leads to heavenly glory. Variously called “daily sins” or “light sins” or “lesser sins,” they are committed under a variety of conditions: when a person transgresses with full or partial knowledge and consent to a divine law that does not oblige seriously; when one violates a law that obliges gravely but either one’s knowledge or consent is not complete; or when one disobeys what is an objectively grave precept but due to invincible ignorance a person thinks the obligation is not serious.

The essence of venial sin consists in a certain disorder but does not imply complete aversion from humanity’s final destiny. It is an illness of the soul rather than its supernatural death. When people commit a venial sin, they do not decisively set themselves on turning away from God, but from overfondness for some created good fall short of God. They are like persons who loiter without leaving the way.

I wonder what would happen if you were to have your son focus on* loitering* and then try to tie it in to venial sin the way Fr Hardon does ?

As far as Hitler being “better than St. Mother Theresa”, what about a more direct approach ? What if you were to explain to him that Hitler and the Nazis systematically exterminated autistic children ? -

God bless you and your son . . . will keep you in my prayers.


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