Mortal/Venialgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread
Where did the doctrine of mortal and venial sins come from? I have heard people outside the catholic religion preach that all sins are equal (except rejecting the holy spirit). I can't defend how the cathoic church decided to weight sins and what that means for eternal life. Also, how do we know that praying for people gets them out of purgatory any faster?
-- AB (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 28, 2005
"If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death." (1 John 5;16-17)
The most obvious teaching contained in this passage is that all sins are clearly not alike. Some are deadly. Others are not. That is plainly stated. Another fact this passage reveals is that sins which are not deadly are easily forgiven. It says that just a simple prayer is all it takes to bring about forgiveness of non-deadly sins. But it says that deadly sins cannot be forgiven so easily, indicating then that something more is required to forgive deadly sins.
If you look up the word "mortal" in your dictionary, one of the definitions is "causing death", or in older english, "leading unto death". If we read that a soldier received a "mortal" wound in battle, we know that his wound led to his death. Therefore "mortal" is synonymous with "unto death". Therefore it can be substitured in the above passage ...
"If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not mortal, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin which is not mortal. There is a sin that is mortal: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin which is not mortal."
So you see, the Catholic teaching on mortal sin is clearly spelled out in Scripture. The "something more" that is required to forgive mortal sin is of course sacramental Confession. And finally, if you look up the word "venial" in your dictionary you find that it means "easily forgiven". Once again the Word of God agrees fully with the teaching of the Church to which it was given, the Church which defined and compiled the Bible.
One final thought - If all sins are equal, Jesus apparently didn't realize this, since He told Pilate ... "Thou couldest have no power against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath THE GREATER SIN." (John 19:11)
-- Paul M. (PaulCyp@cox.net), February 28, 2005.