When does this man commit a mortal sin?

This is just an example.

Practising Catholic currently in a state of sanctifying grace.

A woman gives him the chance to commit adultery and he likes the idea?
He plans to go over there and commit adultery with her?
He drives over to her house to commit adultery?
He gets to her front door and realising he shouldn’t be doing it he drives away and never commits adultery with her.

Has he committed a mortal sin before he turned away or just a bunch of venial sins because he didn’t actually do it?

I would say the second action where he had the intent was a mortal sin especially since he knows it is a grave sin and would have full knowledge and consent by his intent. For a man, he would have had lust in his heart to get him to that point.

Even though he wisely turned away, he would still need to go to confession and avoid her in the future.


I think that a mortal sin has already taken place.

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

If looking at someone lustfully is akin to committing adultery with them, then I can only imagine that planning to commit actual adultery would as well, even if one backs out at the last minute. As the quoted Scripture states, adultery is grave matter- why else would the sin be connected to hell? And the man (as a Catholic in a state of grace) has full knowledge and has given full consent- even if he backs out at the last minute. This would meet all three criteria for mortal sin.


Most men would like the idea to some degree. That’s called temptation. The second part is where he does something about it.

Of course as Jesus says, and the poster above me points out. If he refused to cast the temptation out of his mind but relishes in it then he’s also sinned. You didn’t mention that part, just an aside

He is unquestionably committing a mortal sin at the second step. For the first step you’ll need to clarify what you mean by him liking the idea.

It makes me wonder if the whole world is in mortal sin and why bother stopping at the door?


Every time a person consciously re-affirms an intention to commit mortal sin, he makes his spiritual position worse. That is why repentance is always the correct option for a sinner.

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You can’t really say whether someone, let alone the world, is in mortal sin. Too many variables.

As to why bother stopping, not all mortal sins are created equal. Some are worse than others. Repenting and righting himself will be much easier for the man who was planning on it but ultimately decided not to than it will be for the man who actually did it.


I would say that he actually avoided mortal sin, at least the sin of adultery. He might have committed a ‘companion’ mortal sin here, that of intentionally putting himself in the occasion of grave sin, but he didn’t commit the actual sin of adultery. He might have been struggling with the temptation enough that he never reached the level of ‘adultery in his heart’, especially since he turned back home.


Basically, if he goes past this point and there aren’t any other extenuating circumstances.

Liking the idea.Entertaining the idea.And not saying to oneself “hey,that’s out of order,I’m married,or she’s married or I shouldn’t be thinking lustfully and running with it”
Question is,if it’s the same for me ,a woman thinking about a man and I know it’s wrong to entertain that idea in my head and heart once it’s suggested,isn’t it equally wrong for a man thinking about a woman?
Isn’t not putting the breaks on lustful thoughts mortal sin ?

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