Sins that can be forgiven


Hi All,

I need a little help and I hope someone out there can help me.
First let me say that I am a catholic.

I have been studying from the JW book Reasoning from the Scriptures only because I don’t believe what they preach. I select a topic and see how they pull scripture out of context and make scripture say what they want. This method of study helps me to understand more fully why I believe what I do and where to find it in scripture.

The topic is Sins that can be forgiven

They start by quoting from The Catholic Encyclopedia, R.C. Broderick (Nashville, Tenn. 1976) page 554.
“The Church has always taught that every sin, no matter how serious, can be forgiven.” Then the site Heb.10:26 and Mark 3:29. Now I know that sins against the Holy Spirit are unforgivable so how do I reconcile this with the quote from the encyclopedia?

I know they are not above using what I call “creative editing” to make something say something else other then the truth. I don’t have a copy of this book so I can’t check the text.

Does any one out there have any insights that can help me?
PS I hope I have this in the right place this time:)


The “sin against the Holy Spirit” mentioned in Scripture is final impenitence. That, of course, cannot be forgiven because no forgiveness is asked for.

Perhaps this link will help:


Check that language. The unforgivable sin is THE sin against the Holy Spirit, not “sins against the Holy Spirit.” Because of this distinction, the unforgivable sin is considered to be final impenitence. Anything you can repent of up until the moment of death is forgiveable.


Ok I stand corrected. So how can I reconcile the statement that EVERY sin can be forgiven when I know that a sin against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven?



Good question. Let’s see who else picks up on this. I think it means every sin except THE unforgivable sin.


Every sin can be forgiven in confession, if the penitant has contrition.

If the penitant does not have contrition, this is the sin that cannot be forgiven.

So every sin can be forgiven if you are sorry for your sins. So the only sin that can’t be forgiven is not being sorry for your sins.

Makes sense.



No, because even scripture says that a sin against the Holy Spirit CANNOT be forgiven. So this still leaves me with my original question : how can I reconcile the bible with the catholic encyclopedia ( from my original post) that says that EVERY sin no matter how serious can be forgiven.


Final impenitence happens at death. And, no sin can be forgiven after you die.

You seem to be hung up on semantics instead of meaning.

The sin *becomes *unforgiveable when we die, not before. Up until death, all sin CAN be forgiven. We only have to ask.

If we do not ask, then at the moment of death, our sin becomes sealed permanently-- and CANNOT be forgiven because we are judged at the moment of death.


The essence of the unforgivable sin is that is is NEVER repented.


Look at the context of the bible passage.

What is happenning?

The Jewish leaders are being shown a great miracle, yet still they refuse to repent of their errors. THIS is the sin against the Holy Spirit - refusing to repent.



Thanks for the push–I found this commentery on Matt 12:32 from Haydock

Ver. 32. Whosoever, &c. It was their duty to have a knowledge of the Holy Ghost, and they obstinately refused to admit what was clear and manifest. Though they were ignorant of the divinity of Jesus Christ, and might take him to be merely the son of a poor artizan, they could not be ignorant that the expelling of demons, and miraculous healing of all diseases, were the works of the Holy Ghost. If, therefore, they refused to do penance for the insult offered to the Spirit of God, in the person of Christ, they could not hope to escape condign punishment. (St. Chrysostom, hom. xlii). — Against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; i.e. they who for want of sufficient instruction, were invincibly ignorant that Christ was God, might more easily be brought to the true knowledge and faith of Christ, and so receive forgiveness of their sins: but if he shall speak against the Holy Ghost, i.e. against the Spirit of God in Christ, and shall oppose the known truth, by attributing to the devil that doctrine, and those miracles, which evidently were from the Spirit and the hand of God, that sin shall never be forgiven him. But how is this consistent with the Catholic doctrine and belief, that there is no sin any man commits of which he may not obtain pardon in this life? To this I answer, that in what manner soever we expound this place, it is an undoubted point of Christian faith, that there is no sin which our merciful God is not ready to pardon; no sin, for the remission of which, God hath not left a power in his Church, as it is clearly proved by those words, Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them, &c. St. Chrysostom therefore expounds these words, shall not be forgiven them, to imply no more, than shall scarcely, or seldom be forgiven; that is, it is very hard for such sinners to return to God, by a true and sincere repentance and conversion; so that this sentence is like that (Matthew xix. 26.) where Christ seems to call it an impossible thing for a rich man to be saved. In the same place St. Chrysostom tells us, that someof those who had blasphemed against the Holy Ghost, repented, and had their sins forgiven them. St. Augustine, by this blasphemy against the Spirit, understands the sin of final impenitence, by which an obstinate sinner refuseth to be converted, and therefore lives and dies hardened in his sins. (Witham) — Nor in the world to come. From these words St. Augustine (De Civ. lib. xxi. chap. 13.) and St. Gregory (Dial. iv, chap. 39.) gather, that some sins may be remitted in the world to come; and consequently that there is a purgatory, or a middle place. (Challoner) — St. Augustine says these words would not be true, if some sins were not forgiven in the world to come; and St. Gregory says, we are to believe from these words in the existence of the fire of purgatory, to expiate our smaller offences, before the day of judgment. St. Isidore and Ven. Bede say the same. St. Bernard, speaking of heretics, says, they do not believe in purgatory: let them then inquire of our Saviour, what he meant by these words. — It is well known that Ven. Bede, on his death-bed, bestowed several small tokens to the monks who were present, that they might remember to pray for his soul in the holy sacrifice of the mass. (Haydock)
Thanks to all of you


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