The Truth Hurts: Mortal Sin

            "Jesus is the (only) way the truth and the life" (John 14:6).

Jesus Christ our Lord and God founded one church, the Catholic Church which he built upon Peter the rock, the first Pope. He gave his Church his own teaching authority to guide us in his truth. He gave his Church authority to guide us by permitting or forbidding us to do things that have effects on our relationship with God (Matthew 16:18-19). The Church has the final word in teaching us what is right or wrong like a mother (Matthew 18:15-18). The Bible calls Jesus' Church the pillar and foundation of Truth (1 Timothy 3:15) because Jesus who is the truth guides his Church through the Holy Spirit (John 14:18; Luke 10:16). From the Catholic Church comes the Holy inspired Word of God. Yes, The Holy Bible is a book of Jesus' Church. The Bible says that not everything is written down in it (John 21:25). In fact, the Bible says that we are to hold to the Traditions and teachings of the apostles as handed down to us for 2000 years through Jesus' Church. This was not only written (Sacred Scripture) but orally (Sacred Tradition) spoken by his Apostles (2 Thessalonians 2:15).

Clearly the Catholic Church alone can trace itself historically back to the Apostles and Jesus Christ who founded the Church. It has the authority to teach us and to declare what is sinful and what is not. Another note is that Pope John Paul II can trace himself all the way back to St. Peter and the first Pope in an unbroken line of succession. When the Church teaches that something is mortally sinful or morally wrong, it is because Jesus said that whatever his church would bind on earth would be bound in heaven and whatever it loosed on earth would be loosed in heaven (Matthew 16:18-19).

When the church officially teaches on faith and morals, it's not just an opinion but it is the truth that is binding on our conscience. Also, when it does we have the promise of the Holy Spirit that it is true since Jesus said that Hell shall not prevail against his church. It does not have to be spelled out in the Bible "thou shall not" to be a sin. The Bible is a book of the Catholic Church. The Church came first before the New Testament writings. God did not leave us with a Holy Book alone but with his Church and out of that Church came the Bible. 

Yes, the Bible is God's inspired word but it is not the only source to guide us. Without the church we would not even know what list of books make up the Bible. It was not until the years 393 AD at the Catholic council of Carthage and 397 AD at the Council of Hippo that by the power of the Holy Spirit it was declared infallibly which books were the true inspired Word of God. It included the 7 missing books of the Protestant Bible that were drop by Martin Luther in the 16th century during the Protestant Reformation. Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition TOGETHER make up one Sacred deposit of the Word of God. One does not contradict the other but upholds each other along with the teaching authority of the Church's Magisterium as given by Jesus Christ himself. These three together stand like a three legged stool, if one leg is taken away the rest will fall.

What is Mortal Sin?

Now that we have established the truth I would like to get to my point about a most important issue, what is mortal sin? The Catholic Church teaches (does not give an opinion) as stated in her official document of the Catechism of the Catholic Church what conditions are necessary for one to be guilty of a mortal sin. Paragraph 1852 states, "For sin to be Mortal, three conditions must TOGETHER be met: Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave (serious) matter and which is also committed with FULL knowledge and DELIBERATE consent". Pope John Paul II clearly teaches us that if we chose to commit this kind of sin that in fact we chose to turn away from God by freely and knowingly choosing to commit this sin (Veritatis Splendor "The Splendor of Truth" paragraph 69-70). With one act alone one can freely commit a mortal sin when these three conditions are present. If one should die in this state of mortal sin without repenting and going to confession (if Catholic) he or she will have chosen to reject God's grace and to be eternally separated from him in Hell. In fact in life until they repent they are rejecting God's grace of forgiveness and have no relationship with him until they turn back to him, repent (plus make a sacramental confession as soon as possible if Catholic -- John 20:21-23) and accept his Grace. 

Note: If you find yourself in this state of mortal sin DO NOT RECEIVE holy communion until you make a sacramental confession. If you have, confess this too since this is a serious sin to receive the Blessed Sacrament in the state of mortal sin. Please do not kid yourself, this is not a game! Would you invite Jesus into a filthy house? Then why force him into a filthy unrepented sinful body? This is the Risen Lord Jesus substantially present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist that we receive at Mass. This is not mere bread! Do you realize what you are receiving in communion? Perhaps that is part of the problem. One who does not believe as Jesus' Catholic Church believes is not to receive communion since to receive is to say that I truly believe All that Jesus has taught us through his Church. The simple act of Communion is to say that we are united in everything through Jesus and that includes all that his church teaches us. Have respect for Jesus' Church and do not profane the Body and blood of our Lord. Go to confession, receive Jesus' forgiveness and grace if you need to. Then receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and all the grace he wants to give you through this Holy Communion of his very self.

Finally, some examples of serious sins; Missing Mass on Sunday (Saturday Vigil fulfills the Sunday obligation) for no good reason (e.g. shopping is not a good reason, sickness is) is a serious or grave matter. When you know this (and now you do) and freely chose to miss Mass you are now guilty of committing a mortal sin. You need to go to Confession as soon as possible before receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist (1 Corinthians 11:27-32). If you don't make it to confession you are still to go to Mass but not receive till you make it to confession.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 2291 states that using drugs and or sale off (pot and pills too) is a serious grave matter unless for the sole purpose of medical reasons and prescribed by a doctor to you. As I said before with this knowledge and full consent it will be a mortal sin if you continue to do it. You must go to confession before receiving communion. To die in unrepented mortal sin is to freely choose hell. I pray you will make the right choice.

Other (not including all) mortal sins are: Using contraception (for non medical reasons other than preventing conception) "the pill that kills" newly conceived life 20% of the time as a final means to prevent life by destroying it -- Natural Family Planning (call The Couple to Couple League at 513-661-7612 for more information and location for training in the 5 month course once a month near you) is the answer and is 97-99% effective and all natural within God's plan when used right; Fornication (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Mark 7:21-23; Matthew 5:27-30,15:19; Galatians 5:19-26) or having sex outside of a sacramental marriage, for baptized Catholics (i.e. married by a Catholic priest, justice of the peace does not count nor a protestant minister); Indulging in pornography; Receiving communion in the state of mortal sin is another mortal sin.

Repent, go to confession (John 20:21-23) first and receive God's healing grace and forgiveness. God Bless You.

Marco A. Fallon