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The Depth of Mortal Sin

downloadQuestion

I am having trouble understanding this requirement for a sin to be mortal, particularly the meaning of full consent.  What exactly does this mean?  Does it mean that you actually intend to sin?  I am still not clear about full knowledge either.  What does this mean?

Response

As a Christian we know certain things are right or wrong from the natural law, from divine positive law (Scripture), from Church law and from civil law.  Human laws might be flawed, particularly if they conflict with the laws of God and nature.  A Catholic takes guidance from the Church.  Unnecessarily missing Mass on Sunday through one’s own fault is mortal sin.  Most sexual transgressions are a matter of mortal sin.  Abortion is a mortal sin.  These and other actions are judged as both sinful and mortally so.  If you are aware of this as a Catholic then you have sufficient (a better word than full) knowledge.

As for consent, it really is not that difficult to understand. Giving sufficient consent to mortal sin means that you are in control of your actions and you choose to sin anyway.

Let me put it this way. If one were to really reflect upon it, the person committing mortal sin is essentially saying…

“Right here… right now… I choose to disobey Almighty God… no matter what the consequences!”

“No one… not God… not anyone… can tell me what to do!”

“I do not love God or neighbor in any way sufficient to avoid this sin!”

“My sins target Christ on the Cross!  Yes, I am a murderer of Christ!  And a part of me really does not care!”

When we strip false rationalizations away, this is the cold black-and-white of it.

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