Problem

Mortal sin

Nature:

A mortal sin (Latin: peccatum mortale), in Catholic theology, is a gravely sinful act, which can lead to damnation if a person does not repent of the sin before death. A sin is considered to be "mortal" when its quality is such that it leads to a separation of that person from God's saving grace. The sins against the Holy Ghost and the sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance are considered especially serious. This type of sin should be distinguished from a venial sin that simply leads to a weakening of a person's relationship with God. Despite its gravity, a person can repent of having committed a mortal sin. Such repentance is the primary requisite for forgiveness and absolution. Teaching on absolution from serious sins has varied somewhat throughout history. The current Catholic teaching was formalized at the 16th century Council of Trent.

According to Catholic teaching, perfect contrition (or imperfect contrition in the Sacrament of Penance), coupled with a firm resolution to sin no more, can restore a person's relationship with God, as well as God's saving grace. However, as God's mercy and forgiveness is not bound by the Sacrament of Penance, under extraordinary circumstances a mortal sin can be remitted through perfect contrition, which is a human act that arises from a person's love of God. When perfect contrition is the means by which one seeks to restore one's relationship with God, there must also be a resolution to confess all mortal sins (that have not been confessed and absolved previously) in the Sacrament of Penance. A resolution to confess these sins should be made with an act of perfect contrition, regardless of whether or not a person believes that they will have access to the Sacrament of Penance.

The term "mortal sin" is thought to be derived from the New Testament of the Bible. Specifically, it has been suggested that the term comes from the 1 John 5:16–17. In this particular verse, the author of the Epistle writes "There is a sin that leads to death."

Claim:
There are those who go as far as to affirm that mortal sin, which causes separation from God, only exists in the formal refusal directly opposed to God's call, or in that selfishness which completely and deliberately closes itself to the love of neighbor. They say that it is only then that there comes into play the fundamental option, that is to say the decision which totally commits the person and which is necessary if mortal sin is to exist; by this option the person, from the depths of the personality, takes up or ratifies a fundamental attitude towards God or people. Now according to these authors, a change of the fundamental option towards God less easily comes about in the field of sexual activity, where a person generally does not transgress the moral order in a fully deliberate and responsible manner but rather under the influence of passion, weakness, immaturity, sometimes even through the illusion of thus showing love for someone else. To these causes there is often added the pressure of the social environment.

According to the Church's teaching, mortal sin, which is opposed to God, does not consist only in formal and direct resistance to the commandment of charity. It is equally to be found in this opposition to authentic love which is included in every deliberate transgression, in serious matter, of each of the moral laws. A person therefore sins mortally not only when his action comes from direct contempt for love of God and neighbor, but also when he consciously and freely, for whatever reason, chooses something which is seriously disordered. (Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Persona Humana, 1975).

Broader Problems:
Sin
Values:
Sin
Problem Type:
J: Problems Under Consideration
Subject(s):
Change
Date of last update
01.07.2018 – 06:28 CEST