What grave effects result from mortal sins committed in ignorance?

How does a gravely immoral action harm the perpetrator if, for a valid reason, it is not a mortal sin ?

I have in mind specifically the case of homosexual behavior.

In my not-always-so-humble opinion, many well-meaning Catholics think that we must always refrain from judging such “personal” actions and just leave it all up to God’s mercy, and we’re all sinners in some way anyway, etc. People are not challenged, even tactfully and politely, and even when we have a clear opportunity, for fear of appearing “homophobic” or “intolerant”. I thought if more people knew how bad this was for their friends, and how important it was, they might find ways to intelligently, tactfully pave the way for their friends’ conversion and repentance. (I am usually told to just “get over it” :slight_smile: )

The thing is, I know of some people who have been converted to Jesus Christ, and repented of homosexual activity. I would like to see more of this, because I think it is God’s will that they be saved. I mean, I know it doesn’t guarantee they will be saved, but I can’t help thinking it helps the odds! But so many people don’t see it that way.

I do believe that if a person truly does not believe an action of theirs is gravely offensive to God, then it isn’t a mortal sin, but …

I once heard a knowledgeable Catholic say they were not going to tell homosexually active people that what they were doing was sinful, because as long as they didn’t know, they were better off. Is there any merit to this kind of reasoning ? Under what conditions would an “unrepentantly active homosexual” end up in heaven anyway ? Will it be in a different capacity – say, they were intended to be a CEO in Heaven but they squeek in as a janitor ? Does purgatory fix everything just as if the actions were never committed ? Will we be punished for not warning the homosexual ?

Sorry - I don’t mean to pose multiple questions. The other questions are just kind of illustrating why I’m asking the question I opened with.

Thanks so much & God bless you.

Dear jzepi,

Human beings usually know that serious sins are evil by means of natural law. People don’t have to be told that murder is wrong. Usually, those who protest the immorality of their sinful actions, do so out of denial or indoctrination. Down deep though, they know the truth. It remains an obligation for those who do accept the truth of what sin is, to speak that truth for the benefit of those who prefer not to hear it. It can be a profound act of charity.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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