John 17 11 And now I am not in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name whom thou has given me; that they may be one, as we also are. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in thy name. Those whom thou gavest me have I kept; and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition, that the scripture may be fulfilled.
The Sacrament of Penance
three criteria that must be satisfied for a sin to be mortal. First, the act committed must be considered grave or serious matter. Mortal sins are heinous in the eyes of God. Throughout the moral section of the , some sins are noted as “gravely sinful” (No. 2268). For example, “The fifth commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful.” Second, the sinner must have full knowledge of the sinful character of the act; in other words, he must be acting with an informed intellect and must know this act violates God’s eternal law. Third, the sinner must give full consent of the will, meaning that he has reflected on doing the action and deliberately wants to do it.
Mortal sin destroys our union with God and the presence of sanctifying grace in our souls. Because these are heinous actions in the eyes of God, for a person to knowingly and willingly commit them indicates a turning away from the love of God. Anyone conscious of a mortal sin must undergo an interior conversion and then receive forgiveness and absolution through the sacrament of penance. Until making a good confession and receiving sacramental absolution, anyone conscious of being in a state of mortal sin cannot receive holy Communion, except under extraordinary circumstance, e.g. no possibility of going to confession (Cf. , No. 1457). Moreover, an unrepentant person guilty of mortal sin objectively risks eternal damnation in hell; however, “although we can judge that an act is in itself a grace offense, we must entrust judgment of a person to the justice and mercy of God” (, No. 1861).
On the other hand, venial sin denotes either an act of a less serious matter, or one which involves grave matter but is performed without full knowledge or complete consent of the will. Unlike mortal sin, which involves a complete turning away from God’s love, venial sin wounds our relationship with God. The periodic confession of venial sins is also highly recommended as part of a good spiritual regimen. Actually, all sin is serious, since it hurts our relationship with our Lord and since even venial sin could lead to mortal sin or become habitual if not corrected. A practice of regular confession helps the individual better form the conscience, recognize faults and weaknesses, resist temptations and receive God’s grace to heal and strengthen the soul. St. Teresa of Avila said, "Always fear when some fault you commit does not grieve you.
Sadly, some individuals misconstrue fundamental option in such a way there are no particular mortal sins. Instead, the one “mortal sin” which would take a soul to hell is for a person to willingly, knowingly reject God and His love entirely. Such a stance would reduce fundamental option to some psychological game, whereby a person says, “I love God. I do not reject God. My individual choices or particular actions do not affect my total being. Therefore, although I committed adultery, or murdered someone, or fornicated, or robbed the bank, (or committed any other mortal sin), God still loves me, I love God, and I think I am going to heaven.” Think again.
While only God can probe the depths of our soul and judge a person, objectively, those actions are mortal sins. To choose mortal sin indicates a contempt for the divine law. To commit such actions evidences a lack of love for God and for neighbor. In essence, particular mortal sins show a rejection of God.