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Mortal and Venial sins

I k now this is mostly a Catholic thing but lets look at the idea. do all sins have the same degree of punishment in the eyes of God? For example if you kill a person it is considered a mortal sin, if you lie to kids and tell them the cat when to a cat farm and is not dead it is a venial sin. Do you agree that some sins are worse than others?

The Catholic Church does teach that all sins are forgivable but they vary in severity.

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Asked by Anonymous at 4:32 PM on Jun. 8, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

Answers (9)
  • All sins are equal to one another.

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:49 PM on Jun. 8, 2009

  • Sin is doing anything outside of the will of God. It does not matter to God what the sin is, they are all vile in His eyes.

    James 2:10  For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is
    guilty of breaking all of it.


    Answer by AngelDawn7 at 4:58 PM on Jun. 8, 2009

  • I do not feel that my "mortal sin" of not attending church on Sunday is at all equivalent to murdering my neighbor. Both are mortal sins, but are they equal in severity and punishment?

    Answer by Nathskitten at 5:38 PM on Jun. 8, 2009

  • I dont think so nathskitten, but it seems like most people do. I have never heard all sins are equal Not going to mass might be a mortal sin but the church is very clear that the sins have different penance. I guess it was just they way I was raised.

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:42 PM on Jun. 8, 2009

  • 1 John 5:16-17 (RSV): "If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is a sin which is not mortal."

    Luke 12:47-48: "And that servant who knew his master's will, but did not make ready or act according to his will, shall receive a severe beating. But he who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, shall receive a light beating. Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more."

    "Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin." (John 19:11)

    Answer by eringobrough at 10:33 PM on Jun. 8, 2009

  • So the bible talks about different degrees of sin. Based on Christ's teachings a sin is mortal if
    (1) it involves a serious matter (2) the person knows it's wrong (3) the person freely chooses to do it anyway.

    Murding someone is always a mortal sin - missing Mass (without a valid reason) is only a mortal sin if you're Catholic. That's because the Mass is the best way we know to worship God. The idea is Catholics should know an understand this and so they're held to a higher standard than non-Catholics. A mortal sin is about severing your relationship with God - and if God tells you to "do this in rememberance of me" and you're just too busy, don't feel like it, it's not important enough to you - then you're on your way to severing your relationship with God.

    Answer by eringobrough at 10:42 PM on Jun. 8, 2009

  • AngelDawn7 - Sin is doing anything outside of the will of God. It does not matter to God what the sin is, they are all vile in His eyes.

    I don't think anyone is disagreeing that all sin is vile in God's eyes.  But the bible does indicate not all sin is the same.  James 2:10 needs to be taken in context.  It's talking about our inability to keep the entire Law of God (a common theme). But James accepts differences in degrees of sin and righteousness elsewhere in the same letter: "we who teach shall be judged with a greater strictness" (3:1). He also mentions (1:12/5:16) different levels of righteousness. If there are different degrees of righteousness, there must be different degrees of sinfulness.

    I think some Protestants believe in the diffence between mortal and venial sin but call them "backsliding" and "stumbling" instead.


    Answer by eringobrough at 10:47 PM on Jun. 8, 2009

  • eringobrough - I was not raised Catholic, so do not believe in a lot of the teachings. I do believe that all sin is equal. I also do believe that God forgives all sin. There is no such thing as an unforgivable sin.


    Answer by AngelDawn7 at 1:26 PM on Jun. 9, 2009

  • AngelDawn7 - mortal sins are not unforgivable sins. Mortal sins are serious sins that sever our relationship with God and if not repented/fixed (through the sacrament of Confession when possible) they will lead to hell. Vienal sins are sins that damage, but do not sever that relationship. Venial sins must be repented too, ideally through Confession, but that's not necessary. For example, if a husband under stress looses his temper and yells at his wife - then he can apologize (venial sin). It doesn't end the relationship. If he has an affair - that can end it and that takes more than just an apology to fix the damage done (mortal sins). Common sense and the bible tell us that God does not treat all sin the same. There's only one unforgiveble sins that that's 'blasphemy of the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 12:31-32). That's basically rejecting God's forgivnessness and mercy.

    Answer by eringobrough at 4:02 PM on Jun. 9, 2009

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