**As Catholics we often focus on being in a state of grace- of having no unconfessed mortal sins-as being the ticket into eternal life because repentance and forgiveness should cause us to return to a state of purity. But I wonder if that’s an incomplete picture of the situation.

Because another requirement, or the other, positive, side of the coin, is that we’re supposed to be perfected in love-that God’s after something more in us than simply the absence of sin. Or is this a false dichotomy, as someone once told me?

Does the absence of sin imply the presence of love and vice versa? It doesn’t necessarily appear to be that way in my experience. Or could the real difference be in the relative perfection of ones contrition when confessing since perfect contrition, by definition, implies love of God?

Could or should the Church define this dichotomy more clearly or is it a false one to begin with?**


I’m not a theologian or anything, but just pondering the question you have posted, so don’t take my answer to the bank. Its probably wrong. :slight_smile:

I think what you’re asking has to do with “justification.”

Is being without sin, all that is necessary for salvation, or is there more?

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church;

1989 The first work of the grace of the Holy Spirit is conversion, effecting justification in accordance with Jesus’ proclamation at the beginning of the Gospel: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."38 Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, thus accepting forgiveness and righteousness from on high. "Justification is not only the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man."39

This doesn’t happen, without love for God.

1990 Justification detaches man from sin which contradicts the love of God, and purifies his heart of sin. Justification follows upon God’s merciful initiative of offering forgiveness. It reconciles man with God. It frees from the enslavement to sin, and it heals.

As we grow closer to God with love, we become more reluctant to offend God, even with small offenses.

Our salvation is based entirely on Love. Sin contradicts love, so you can’t have the two together.



True, we need to be perfected in love, but we also need a gauge- Christ and his commandments. Read the first letter of John, it is beautiful, here are some excerpts:

No one who remains in him sins; no one who sins has seen him or known him. (1 Jn 3:6)

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
(1 Jn 4:7-8)

The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments.Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him. This is the way we may know that we are in union with him:
whoever claims to abide in him ought to live (just) as he lived. (1 Jn 2:3-6)


**That stands to reason, especially in the ultimate sense. Meanwhile, apparently, God allows the wheat and tares to co-exist even in us during this transformation so the two aren’t kept totally separate in this life until His work is accomplished in us.

But I hear a lot of people on the forums speak almost exclusively about a fear of dying without unconfessed sins-and that being the criteria for holiness-and I can’t help but wonder if somewhere along the line we haven’t overemphasized that part of it.**


Venial sin dose not kill the soul, but it dose weaken the soul, making it more vulnerable to mortal (deadly) sin. Mortal sin is what kills the soul. So even if the soul is weakened, it still has God, who is Love. But if the soul is dead to God via deadly sin, than it has no Love.

Evil is the abscence of good. It is, philosophically speaking, absolutely nothing, for even existence is good; but because evil is void of all good, it has no existence, and so, evil is nothing. But this dosen’t mean evil isn’t real. All it means is that, no matter how much evil there may be, God is infinitely greater, for He is goodness itself; no matter many sins a man commits, the Divine Mercy is infinitely greater.


I see your point. It is as if they view that last confession as a magic potion that will fix things at the last moment without any effort on our part. It can fix things, but one of the conditions for absolution is true repentance- and I think you cant truly repent without some degree of love for God and neighbor and sorrow for sins committed. So it all goes back to love.


The absence of sin (mortal) allows God’s only true Love to flow through us. This Love that is allowed to flow manifests in numerous different ways. Affection and kindness are ways that humans are able to easily see, however those are only some ways. Others may be having a sureness of His Truth or telling/acting on His Truth (even when it’s uncomfortable or irritating). Sometimes the manifestation may be such that an other person is inconvenienced, but it saves his soul. Sometimes, He might choose for this Love not to be evident to other humans or …

Venial sin “clogs up” the works, rather like a partial clog in a sink.

I don’t see any need for the Church to define it’s terms more clearly, however I am not placed, by Him, to decide such things.:shrug:


Well, this thread got me thinking more about my own question.

I’m sure it can boil down to the teacher. When teaching doctrine there can be a fine line between 1)over-emphasizing Gods love and mercy almost to the exclusion of His justice, which I’ve heard catechists do: “God is love so don’t worry, be happy”, and 2) over-emphasizing the other side- “Hell’s reserved for most of us; heaven for a very few”.

But I wonder if it doesn’t mainly boil down to the receiver–perhaps it’s just human nature to focus on the fear of Gods’ wrath until we’ve grown more in our trust and love for Him. This makes sense, I think, because we wouldn’t need to hear the message at all unless we started out far from Him in terms of trust and love.

Adult Catholics sometimes complain that the Church, at least in the past and when they were children, only hit them with the fire and brimstone message but I wonder if it doesn’t have more to do with what our ears are capable of hearing -or what our minds tend to presume -about God, and not necessarily only as children. It reminds me of the enmity between man and God (originated by man) spoken of in the Catechism:

**399 Scripture portrays the tragic consequences of this first disobedience. Adam and Eve immediately lose the grace of original holiness.280 They become afraid of the God of whom they have conceived a distorted image - that of a God jealous of his prerogatives. **

This is obviously not the kind of fear of God encouraged in scripture or Church teachings.
It also reminds me of the verse from Psalms that Jesus quotes in John 15:

**“They hated me without reason.” **

So maybe the transformation must first begin which involves getting past our resistance to even admitting to imperfections as we gain the realization that although we have them, God will forgive them no matter how bad they are. And by* first* possessing the knowledge of this teaching of His mercy, we then become more comfortable with and amicable to considering the possibility of our own sinfulness.

The power of this message of mercy is that it can pierce through a “Catch-22” predicament in us-original sin is a condition which prefers and asserts our own perfection and fears the exposure of our imperfections. Pride apparently automatically senses that if it can’t maintain the pretense of its own righteousness, then it must die. But if it doesn’t die, then humility cannot live and then replace it. And from humility springs love of God. Just some thoughts. I might be derailing my own thread but I thought I’d at least try reviving it.


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