What Catholic in their right mind would intentionally Commit a Mortal Sin?


Why is it that after we go to confession, say our Act of Contrition, promise God that we will amend our lives, do our penance and never commit these sin again… we wind up doing them again anyway?

Who in their right mind would actually intentionally engage in a sin where grave matter is involved unless overcome with weakness or passion therefore probably lacking full consent of their will?

:confused: :confused:


One word - concupiscence, a natural attraction towards sin that is, since the Fall and possibly before, part of the human makeup.

Mere ‘weakness’ or ‘being overcome with passion’ isn’t necessarily sufficient to eliminate the consent element. We are meant to call on God’s aid which is sufficient to overcome any weakness or passion. We are meant to strengthen ourselves through penance (prayer, fasting, charitable work and so on), and with His help master ourselves and our passions.

You’d probably have to have a much stronger element of actual duress, or an addictive or near-addictive habit, to eliminate the mental element of a mortal sin.

Very briefly - many of us get into a mindset where we give priority to a lot of things OTHER than God’s will and avoiding sin. We value too highly our own pleasure or comfort, our financial security, our desire for power, our ‘reputation’ or the opinion of others (we don’t want to look bad in other people’s eyes), or we want to please others too much. Lots of other things. Again, these are most unlikely to eliminate the consent element - again we are meant, with God’s aid which He is always more than willing to give and which is always more than sufficient, to conquer these feelings.


Wll I am not Catholic yet but I can answer…

My DH and I are struggling with NFP. We are both too afraid to use it so we use birth control instead. Yes we know it is a sin and we use it anyways. But lately we have been feeling God telling us it is wrong. I think people commit mortal sins because they are not fully trusting in God-or maybe fear is making them sin, as in our case.

Anyways we have been feeling very sad in not fully trusting God in our lives. I think if you are a child of God and you sin the Lord really lets you know it.


Here are some things that come to mind.

  1. Doubt in God’s existence (One can be 95% sure but even that 5% doubt can cause one to sin especially in the younger years when people think they don’t have to worry about dieing anytime soon.)

  2. The I’ll just go to Confession rationalization.

  3. The everyone else does it so it must not be bad rationalization

  4. Basically the lack of knowledge that mortal sin even exists or bad catechism given by others including even perhaps even certain priests.

  5. The countless other rationalizations people make for justfiying their sins.


I wonder how anyone can commit a sin at all.
When people commit a mortal sin, it means that there is something more important to them than God. This very thing may have happened to most of us at some time. I think that many people refuse to look forward far enough into the future when they will die. They want something else right now. Maybe a similar psychology is seen in someone who goes on to pile up a credit card debt they will not be able to pay off. They may seem foolish. Still, when any of us commit sin at all, we are forgetful in a similar way.
Such twists in our thinking are possible because of original sin.


Good topic and point of discussion, thank you for making it.

It’s almost a trick question what you’re asking, but it’s ultimately not because we know we have recourse to God and His help, and it’s usually because we don’t seek it, or we seek it in vain.

I think what’s just as bad as committing the mortal sins themselves is the rationalization, excuses, and ease of mind that confession can be twisted to provide. For example, we recognize we’re weak when we sin and we might feel bad about it, but we look to confession as a cheat or trick or way to get ourselves out of jail free, and we use God’s redemptive powers and His love and mercy for us and His willingness to forgive any sin multiple times throughout our lives. We, in turn, take God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness for granted, and that’s just as bad as the mortal sin, if you ask me.

We feel better temporarily through a good confession until the next mortal sin that requires we land ourselves in the confessional again. Mortal sin, you could say, becomes a habit that is aided by the loophole that confession provides for the person who abuses it and doesn’t take a firm purpose of amendment seriously. They figure “God will forgive me anything” and they’re right about that, but they use the depth of God’s mercy for us as a means to provide themselves a bottomless pit of pleasure and self. They invert God’s blessings, so to speak and rather than giving it back to Him, they keep it for themselves, figuring that as long as they confess soon after a mortal sin (like masturbation for example) that they’re ok. While this is technically true, it’s an abuse of the sacraments, and that’s just as bad as a mortal sin, if not a mortal sin itself. Knowingly, intentionally committing a mortal sin knowing you’ll be forgiven later, and you know this before you commit the act, and then remind yourself during and after the act that it is so, is pretty bad, I would say.

I say this knowing I sometimes fall into this pattern. I honestly don’t do it because I want to abuse the sacrament of confession, find a loophole or use the perpetual forgiveness of God’s love as a means to keep sinning. I don’t do it to hurt Him, but I, like many others here probably, realize that we do hurt Him even if it’s out a habitual cycle and the mortal sin itself is only occurring as a result of a ingrained habit, psychological addiction, fetish, etc.

In my case, I still need to talk with a catholic therapist to see if I really do have a fetish and that’s why I commit particular mortal sins. Not everyone would have the same excuse that I would have, and I’m not sure that even I have an excuse. Culpability for the mortal sins I commit due to the fetish may reduce things, but I know it doesn’t eliminate them, so when you ask the question what catholic in their right mind would intentionally commit mortal sins, my answer is no catholic, in their right mind AT THE TIME, would commit it. In retrospect, no catholic should, but we all do because of some reason or another.

We’re not perfect and this world gives us way too many things to pleasure ourselves with. The youth of today have it hard, especially. Sex and such is thrown at them all the time, and just about everything is raunchy somehow. God understands each individual and their specific needs for grace and healing, and I believe He works with each individual differently and some people’s healing takes longer than others due to the nature of how the mortal sin afflicts them.

So if you are genuinely addicted to particular mortal sins, I think God understands that you don’t use confession as a cheat, and that you are genuinely sorry, and I’m sure He also knows you may likely fall again in the near future. He takes all this into consideration in the way the priest cannot, not knowing the contents of your mind and the psychology that drives it. God wouldn’t be a Father if He abandoned us when we make the same mistakes. Because He is the only Being that can exert perfect love and forgiveness, it is why He is so forgiving to a level that seems, from our point of view, that He shouldn’t let us get away with alot of the stuff we do. And, we don’t get away with it, because we have to pay for it in purgatory when we are finally cleansed once and for all.

Until then, however, we have to make due with what we have recourse to, and the sacraments we have available. If people abuse them knowingly and technically derive a way to live in mortal sin and be on good terms with God at the same time, even though they’re not in regards to the sin, then they’re the catholics who are not in their “right mind”, since they’re playing a dangerous game with God, and it’s not worth the gamble, and don’t believe Satan cannot put these ideas of manipulating the sacraments to your advantage in your mind, because he can.

For those of us who commit mortal sin out of habit, addiction, etc., God knows why we do it, and I believe He works with us little by little, and as we grow stronger, the sin weakens and so does our attachment to it. But for those who freely commit the mortal sins and meet all 3 requirements and just plain don’t care, then they’re the ones out of their minds and are more screwed up in the head, if you ask me, more so than the person with the fetish, addiction, etc. The more love He shows them, and they don’t repent, the more they hurt Him. Yet, His is a love that keeps on giving, and we keep on taking, and taking and taking until the day we die. He knows this and some give back more to Him than others, and some don’t. Some are only interested in being absolved and wiped clean temporarily, and some want to last as long as they can in grace.

God will balance everything out in the end. It’s better if we don’t wait until we die for this balancing to occur. I’d prefer to work on it and fail in this lifetime. At least He sees I’m trying, and that’s better than doing nothing about it.


We’re dealing with “forces” that are stronger than we are and this is a perfect proof of it. There is no way that committing a mortal sin makes sense and we’re determined to avoid it – but we fall down anyway, again and again.

Success is not up to us alone and there are deceptions and pressures that come from outside of ourselves (and some from within).

The world, the flesh and the Devil. We have to fight them all. It’s a daily struggle also – not just a one-time statement of loyalty after confession.

Plus, our little sins and faults weaken us. That’s why frequent confession is such an excellent remedy.


That’s so true. One of the reasons sin is so involving and personal, and can be such a problem, in and of itself, is because the evil spirits can manipulate us if we let them. They cannot force our hand, but they can make suggestions to our mind just as the angels can help us stand firm in the faith and in doing right and avoiding wrong. It’s a spiritual warfare, and since our souls are what are being fought over, it’s no wonder our emotions and feelings and passions are all over the place sometimes. It’s like a tug of war. When we sin, the devil is winning a bit (or alot depending on how far gone you are). When we go to confession and avoid sinning, the angels are winning.

It’s a simple way to look at it, but I think it’s a good analogy to use.


i guess i may be still dealing with some kind of calvinist stuff from my past…example the thought entered my mind,i made the plans to commit this sin,how where when…,because i did this i feel i have to go through with this sin cause the seed has been planted and must grow to fruitation in order for it to be gone…as for what has been said about confession abuse,i worry if sometimes i am guilty of this too…especially on this last bout i had…well now i have to add this to the list,sorta thoughts…i wonder if my intention (resolve) not to sin is then not sincere when after confessing sometime later i fall into sins of old…twice i have delibrately sinned agianst God,i choose to commit such and such sin cause i felt God didn’t care about me so why should i care about Him?oh great now there is more then such and such sin cause now i have sinned by despair in doing such and such sin…and the party goes on…


Perhaps you suffer from scrupulosity, like I tend to do when I sin. I psycho-analyze myself and the whole thing, but it makes me feel more miserable. I do it, though, because I feel it shows God that I’m trying to do better. Now, I understand thinking about it is not enough, and action must be taken, and it has, but I feel like I’m being more responsible when I analyze what’s going on. Unfortunately, this is a problem in and of itself for me and probably many people here, and it seems like maybe you’re one of them too.

We trust in God’s grace in forgiveness, and people often accuse, without understanding, scrupulosity as being a lack of trust in God, or believing we’re not forgiven, and that’s not true. I think scrupulous tendencies are aided by the fact we cannot truly know the state of our soul and a scrupulous or obsessive compulsive person needs order. We have to leave it up to God without truly knowing, and that can drive some of us up the wall. Are we mortally sinning, but He’s making an exception because we have these issues? I don’t know. Sometimes I think He is, as He realizes it’s a burden and cross we carry, and then I realize how He isn’t in some ways, in that we’re smart enough to know what’s right and wrong. But then that’s presumptuous of God’s character or thought patterns, and as He is perfect and I have an imperfect way of analyzing my issues, it causes this divide, not between God and one’s self, but an understanding of where you stand. You can have a priest answer this all you want, but if you don’t feel he’s given you an answer you can be comfortable with, it will always be an issue. Many priests are not trained to deal with specific issues, oddly enough, and the worry is you will get one of those priests.

See what I’m doing? I’m being scrupulous right now as I type this, and I came into this response just fine, but now the gears are turning. LOL

I think the point I was trying to make before I freaked out there was that you shouldn’t beat yourself up over this. Hold yourself accountable, but don’t beat yourself up. That’s the devil trying to drag you down further. There are some questions that only God can answer though, and a scrupulous or obsessive compulsive person isn’t going to get an answer unless God blesses them with one directly, through enlightenment, prayer, etc, or uses someone to deliver a message from personal experience and God makes sure that this person will deliver the message in a way that clicks with the afflicted person.

We are literally walking by faith, and that’s not just a figure of speech. For the scrupulous person to continue to operate, they need that faith and to be helped in specific and thorough ways, and I hope they all get the help they need.


then there is the other side of the cion not being scrupulous enough,being to leinent…for myself i would rather slide into the too scrupulous catagory then being too leinent,which i sometimes think i may have been in judgeing myself…had this thought “if i was God heaven would be full and i would in hell”…


I wonder if Peter’s denial was a “mortal sin” ? If it was, then all are vulnerable to sin without God’s help and aide. What about Paul’s participation in the stoning of St. Stephen ?

A passage comes to mind: “God gave them over to their desires.” and the part of the Our Father: “Lead us not into temptation.” To avoid grave sin, we must beg the help of God and the prayers of others and seek to “discipline our senses”.



There are some great thoughts here.
The Otaku’s example of a tug of war s a good one - that does seem to be the way it is.

Also, fbl9’s spiral of guilt and psycho-analyzing is something that happens with sin – I’ve experienced it also. The power of absolution through sacramental confession is so strong though that it wipes out all the various “factors” that we didn’t think of, or where we were mislead or blinded to our faults.

Sometimes we don’t realize until years later that there were “layers” to our sins and we neglected to say this or that. But if we sincerely confess the sins we’re aware of, the sacrament wipes out everything else.

Remember also that God loves us – He wants us to trust Him as a friend and someone very close to our lives. He’s not waiting to zap us and throw us in hell. He will wake us up if we’re not paying attention, but if we’re praying for the light of grace to see where we went wrong and then confessing – all the rest is wiped away and God is pushing us towards happiness.

The goal is to live in union with God. Actually, the goal is not really to “live without committing sins” – that’s just a negative goal. If we strive for friendship and service of God then we’re not looking circling around in our own mind.

Eventually, it’s getting outside of ourselves and focusing on heaven. Keeping our vision higher above the things of the world and our desires, etc.


:thumbsup: this makes total sense…now for one to just live seems a more peaceful way(i know)instead of trying not to commit sins :if one is preoccuoied with looking for sin in order to keep it out,it seems one will eventually let sin enter this way(by looking for it in their life)… the last paragraph is the key :getting outside of OURSELVES:thanks ReggieM great post.


That’s an excellent point, fbl9. What you said about Calvinism seems true to me also. I think Calvinism teaches that we are bad by nature and we can’t help sinning. But then we wouldn’t recognize the good that God is doing. For me it’s important to thank God when I could do a little good thing here or there – hopefully, I can make progress and do more. Then it’s sin that hurts the good work that we do. In the Catholic Truth, we know that God created us good and He continues to transform us over time so we’re actually getting better.
I think getting outside of ourselves is hard but one good way is taking on a difficult goal – setting our sights on achieving something bigger than we usually would do. Then when we strive for it we’re looking beyond ourself. Actually, the pain of doing that can help also.


You cannot unintentionally commit a mortal sin.

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