Thinking before mortal sin

Say, if you commit what would be a mortal sin, but did it before you actually really thought about it, does it remain a mortal sin?

you would need to elaborate more on this hypothetical scenario

a mortal requires full knowledge that its a sin, and committing the sin anyway

don’t forget once you confess your mortal sins with a contrite heart you will be forgiven

I think the question is - Does a mortal sin require premeditation?

Say, you doubt gods existence for two seconds, but then try to respond to it with faith. Would that be a mortal sin?

I sure hope not, because I doubt His existence occasionally. Many of us do. Then I remind myself of the occasions when His existence and love have been evident, and that helps restore my faith.
It sounds as if you struggle with scrupulosity. Better talk to your priest.
God wants us to use our minds, not just accept blindly what we are told. We have to be able to explain the reasons for our faith, which means we should have reasons.

I started a more general thread on this subject, based on my lack of understanding of paragraph 1735 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1735 Imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors.

I think this paragraph of the CCC fails on the matter of vagueness. I don’t think it properly provides practical advice, such as whether because of 1735, one does not have to confess such an act, before receiving Communion, for example.

If you are bound to confess it, then 1735 does not seem to have practical application.

When you see that long-standing conditions like habit or psychological factors or social factors are involved, it SEEMS that there may be very deliberate thinking before one engages in the sin of grave matter, as in the past.

Specifically, with regard to the initial post, one might say that it is a relevant psychological problem – say immaturity – that I did not think enough about what I was about to do. So, in a direct reading of 1735, the “imputability” and responsibility for that action might be diminished or even nullified. Cool beans.

You know, it’s like me thinking I shouldn’t even be eating this chocolate eclair, given my condition of obesity, but I go ahead and eat it anyway. By my habit (or, I think, some not-well-understood issue of metabolism) I go ahead and indulge in that senselss pleasure, but not with full consent of will – I KNOW that I shouldn’t be doing it. But, that act of mental deliberation does not pop me out of the exemption of 1735 – or does it?

It’s easy to come up with a list of what might be common examples: a married person having an extended adulterous affair, unmarried persons “living” together, a homosexual person “coming out” and jumping into same-sex pairings, a high school kid bullying his classmates for the duration of his high school career, etc.

I submitted a question to the USCCB on finding an authoritative document, let’s say, that would address in detail the implications of 1735. No answer yet.

So, in terms of the question in the original post: If I didn’t think about something sufficiently before taking the action, that might be a result of a psychological factor, such as immaturity, which therefore reduces the “imputability” and responsibility for the action.

This is EXACTLY, EXACTLY what the Supreme Court of the United States was ruling on, a couple months ago, when it struck down automatic life sentences for various convictions, even commiting murder when the violator is underage. They should not be thrown away like trash, for “mistakes” they made when they were too young to understand them or to deliberate on them.

No - such a case is not a mortal sin.
The key is in the word “respond”.

We cannot prevent thoughts from popping into our consciousness. What we can control is how we respond to those thoughts. If you respond with a rejection of the improper thought then no sin is committed.


Such can be simply thoughts that “happen to one” in a temptation

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit