Mortal Sin and Venial Sin

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In Catholic theology, we talk of venial sin and mortal sin. Many will say, “Sin is sin! There is no such thing as mortal sin and venial sin.” Oh, really? Tell that to St. John. He would beg to differ.

In the first reading today from 1 John 5, St. John speaks very clearly about different types of sin. “If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, he should pray to God and hel will give him life. This is only for those whose sin is not deadly. There is such a thing as deadly sin, about which I do not say that you should pray. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly.” Sounds pretty clear, huh?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains mortal sin very clearly in numbers 1855-1861. In essence, mortal sin separates us from God. The Catechism number 1857 says this: For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.” In other words, it has to be something very serious, we have to know that it is a serious offense in the eyes of God, and we do it deliberately. If you’re aware of any mortal sins in your life, head to confession! Repentance and absolution will repair your relationship with God right up!

Father, we’re so sorry for those times when we turn our backs on you, especially in grave matters. Give us repentant hearts and a desire to confess our sins and receive your forgiveness. Amen.

Today’s Readings

Mortal sin is just one of hundreds of topics covered in the A Minute in the Church book series. Get the five volume series today at


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