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Mortal and Venial Sin

Mortal and Venial Sin

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Mortal and Venial Sin

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  1. Mortal and Venial Sin

  2. Distinction-The Destruction of Charity:The Form of the Virtues • 1854Sins are rightly evaluated according to their gravity. The distinction between mortal and venial sin, already evident in Scripture, became part of the tradition of the Church. It is corroborated by human experience. • 1855 Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God's law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him. • Venial sin allows charity to subsist, even though it offends and wounds it. • 1856 Mortal sin, by attacking the vital principle within us - that is, charity - necessitates a new initiative of God's mercy and a conversion of heart which is normally accomplished within the setting of the sacrament of reconciliation: • When the will sets itself upon something that is of its nature incompatible with the charity that orients man toward his ultimate end, then the sin is mortal by its very object . . . whether it contradicts the love of God, such as blasphemy or perjury, or the love of neighbor, such as homicide or adultery. . . . But when the sinner's will is set upon something that of its nature involves a disorder, but is not opposed to the love of God and neighbor, such as thoughtless chatter or immoderate laughter and the like, such sins are venial.130

  3. Mortal Sin • 1858 Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: "Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother."132 The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger. • 1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin. • 1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest.

  4. Grave Matter • In itself • Or in the opinion of the one who commits it • It must include a turning away from God and the substitution of a created good as the Last End • Identified • by moral law as something seriously displeasing to God • Right reason shows that it does great injury to the rights of God, society, neighbor, oneself

  5. Grave • When the good injured is infinite and indivisible • Heresy, despair, simony • Or a finite good of the greatest importance • Murder • Grave from the character of the act but with exceptions • It can be finite and divisible • A slight irreverence • Theft of a small amount

  6. Advertence of the Intellect • Full advertence • Wide awake, full faculties, not distracted • Ex., half-asleep, under influence of drugs, mentally confused by anxiety or pain • No full advertence to the gravity of the act • Children, uninstructed • Not thinking of what one does at the moment of sinfulness • Signs of partial advertence • One can hardly recall what happened • One cannot be sure of one’s state of mind at the time

  7. Advertence • Does not require long deliberation • Sufficient that the act begins with advertence • One does not have to understand precisely the nature of the malice • One does not have to choose deliberately the malice in the act; suffices that one is conscious of it (does not have to have a reflexive knowledge of the awareness of the malice) • One does not have to think about the consequences

  8. Full Consent • Consent is full when there has been full advertence and no forceful compulsion • Indications that consent is not full • At the time of sin the person recoiled from the sinful suggestion; he had a hatred of it as soon as it was perceived or was saddened at the temptation • If before the sin the person was of tender conscience and had a habitual horror of grave sin • If after the sin the person was conscious of the sin but had doubts as to whether consent was given

  9. Fundamental Option • Distinguished from deliberate choices • Fundamental Option • Not a specific and conscious decision • Transcendental and athematic • Deliberate Choices • Partial attempt to express the option • Pertains only to particular goods, never to absolute Good

  10. Other distinctions • Transcendental: good and evil • Depends on will • Morally assessed • Categorical: right and wrong • Premoral or physical goods • Technical calculation of proportion between this type of goods and evils • Merely physical process

  11. Critique of JPII • FO is contrary to SS • Links fundamental choice to particular acts • Gal 5:13 • Exercised in concrete, conscious and free judgments • Contradicts the integrity of the person, body and soul • Rational finality in man’s acting • Choice is always a reference to good and evil indicated by natural law