Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Difference Between Mortal and Venial Sins

Q: What are some examples of mortal and venial sins? Where in the Bible does it talk about them, and what is the difference?

A: In 1 John 5: 16-17 it talks about mortal, and venial sin, “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 that is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal.”

The Church teaches, and this verse explains, that mortal sin destroys our relationship with God, it is potentially fatal, while venial sin being less serious wounds our relationship with God, but allows our relationship to subsist. Three things must be present to determine whether or not a sin is mortal: It must be serious, and is performed with complete knowledge and total consent. The Ten Commandments spells out for us what sins are serious.