Under a False Name - Mortal Sin?


Recently, I have become more worried about my fake account on a Catholic website. I joined the website under my real name, participated in at least five of the offered free Catholic courses, always posted on time, did the assigned work, and was very respectful when commenting on other member’s assignments. When I was starting my sixth course, an administrator contacted me and told me that I was not old enough to be participating in the courses. (Even though the courses aren’t for credit or anything like that.) I replied and asked her if I could continue having access to the course material, and just stop posting my assignments, as the knowledge I was getting out of the was invaluable. You have to understand that at the time I started them, I was so thirsty for religious knowledge that I searched out every opportunity I could find to grow in knowledge. I love the courses, and they have really, really helped my spiritual development. To my dismay, she replied with a short, “No”. I could not possibly give up the courses, they had become so important to my spiritual growth! So, I created a false name and enrolled in new classes. I still take courses and they are still important to me. I am starting to worry that I am committing a perpetual mortal sin. I am definitely torn. I have mentioned it to my priest/Spiritual Director in the past, and he didn’t think there was anything wrong with continuing, and that it was ridiculous to kick out a teenager that wanted to learn about the faith. I have talked to my parents and siblings about it, and they agree. I am just taking the courses for the knowledge and love of Catholicism. I didn’t know there was an age limit to wanting to learn about the faith. :shrug: What do you think? Thank you for reading this, and for your response!

Have a blessed day!

If your pastor said not to worry about it, don’t. I think it is ridiculous to stop anyone from wanting to learn about the faith.

Be at peace with this and let it go.

You did not have full knowledge so no you did not commit a full mortal sin. However the seriousness of your sin shoud be talked about with your priest as I do not know the gravity of it. For all I know you might not have sinned at all

Relax. Taking a few classes to learn about God will not cut off the life of grace in your soul. Your being a few years to young to take the courses is not a grave matter and you have nothing to worry about at all. The false account may be dishonest, but a mortal sin? No way.

Let me sure I have this straight.

You joined a web site. Giving your real name.

But later found out that you were violating their rules, because at 16 you are too young to participate in their courses.

When they realized your age, they asked you not to continue to take their classes and to not post on their site.

So in response you rejoined their site. Lied about your name. I would imagine you are also lying about your age. Right?

And you are wondering if you are sinning because you since you really really like the courses, you figure you are allowed to lie?

Lying is wrong. The ends don’t justify the means.

Only you and your confessor can tell you if it is a mortal sin.

For the most part, you are correct. However, I have not lied about my age with my new account. Also, I did use my real name, just in a different variation. So, my name is noy a lie either. It doesn’t ask for an age, and I haven’t given one. With my old account, I made the mistake of mentioning my age in a post. I agree that lying is wrong, and I know being under a false name is wrong. I am concerned with whether it is a mortal sin or not. My priest and my parentds have all told me it is fine, so I am a bit torn…The only thing that I am doing is going against what the admin said. If she had given me a good reason to not join in on the courses, I would have possibly be inclined to stop. However, when I asked if I could just stay to get the knowledge – not even participate – she said no! She wouldn’t tell me why when I asked respectfully, she just have me a cold no and said I was too young. Not seeing any harm in it, I created a new account.

She has already discussed it with her pastor who has told her not to worry about it. Why should a trivial rule keep a teenager who is eager to learn about her faith from taking courses that are benefiting her spiritually?

I agree, lying is wrong and the ends do not justify the means. But we also know that “an unjust law is no law at all”. After all, our Lord said “let the children come to me”

She gave you a good reason. You just don’t like it. :shrug:

You don’t seem to think you are lying. And you might not be. But you are being deceptive. And you know it.

So, is lying a sin? That is your question.

Oh, and keep in mind, the web site isn’t yours. It belongs to someone else. Their rules are their rules. They aren’t trying to keep you from learning. What they are doing is trying to establish an adult learning environment. And you are not an adult.

I completely agree with everything in this post! :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

Put simply, being purposely deceptive for a personal gain, such as knowledge, is wrong.

You are right…:frowning:
Thank your response.

Yes that is correct. But, does the desire for spiritual development fall under the same category as a “personal gain” (by which I am assuming you mean a “selfish gain”)? Seeking God is the most unselfish pursuit. It’s not like she is trying to sneak into a bar underage…she is trying to grow in her faith.

Thing is, there are many other ways, sites, etc. in which SnowAngels can grow in the faith without resorting to such methods, and those ought to be utilized. :slight_smile:

Then she should do so with the rules the of the site.

What you are saying is that as long as someone is trying to grow in the faith, they can do whatever they need to do to achieve that goal.

What if a woman demanded that she be allowed to attend a men’s retreat? Should she be allowed to? What about the men that wanted a male environment?

I’m not saying she can do whatever she wants, just that the rule about her age in this particular scenario seems to be trivial. She only wants access to the material, and the coursework is only online. She stated that she would have absolutely no interaction with the other students. She in no way detracts from their learning experience.

I’m not trying to come across as someone who condones lying, all I’m saying is that based on the information the OP provided, she should not feel guilty (especially not of a mortal sin) for seeking to utilize this material.

Is there a place for rules and should they be respected? Of course. But particular scenarios deserve particular examination. In my humble opinion, I can’t see the harm in what she is doing.


There is also another possibility which we may be overlooking.

The Admin or site Owner may know precisely who you are via your IP address.

It is possible that you are being observed, to see if you are doing exactly as you said you were willing to do, and as long as you are only reading the course content and not posting, etc., they have decided to quietly ignore your presence…

I wish you continued success in your never-ending search for blessedness and knowledge.

But you aren’t the owner of the site.

Maybe the owner is a registered sex offender. And part of the court’s agreement with him is to limit users to adults. I doubt it, but since you aren’t the owner, you don’t know.

Maybe the owner has had it with kids coming on to his site and wrecking things. So his policy is to enact an age limit. We have no idea.

This is not an unjust rule. It should be followed.

Your are right. We have no idea. But if we have no idea, how can you make the absolute claim that it is “not an unjust rule” and that “it should be followed”.

Maybe the site owner IS being unjust. We don’t know. That’s why I only said that “it seems” to be trivial.

Maybe you could tell me what moral evil the OP will be committing by obeying this rule?

That’s what I was thinking, this is a hard one to judge. What if they were obligated by law to tell her not to come there once she revealed her age so as not to be held accountable for having minors there. They know she is there by her IP and they might not mind her being there but had to say it for legal purposes when she revealed her age. Everything is not simple black or white. There might be legal reasons that the site owners themselves don’t agree with that made them have to go on record telling her that once her age was made known. :shrug: God looks at the heart and only he can judge this situation.

The only thing we know for certain is what is actually said on their site rules. We can’t be guessing that it “might” be or “might not” be unjust. A rule has been put in place, and as Christians, perhaps it’s just my opinion, but I think it is our duty to follow them, except, as Paragraph 2242 of the catechism says:

"The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel. Refusing obedience to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its justification in the distinction between serving God and serving the political community. “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

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