|The Roman Catholic teaching on Sin|
Roman Catholic doctrine distinguishes between personal sin (acts of disobedience to God committed by a person) and original sin (a person being born sinful). Personal sins are further subdivided into either mortal or venial. It should be noted that other Christian denominations do not agree with the division of mortal and venial sins and reject the existance of different classes of sin and the notion of penance and purgatory.
Mortal sins are sins of grave (serious) matter, where the sinner is aware that the act (or omission) is both a sin and a grave matter, and performs the act (or omission) with deliberate consent. The act of committing a mortal sin cuts off the sinner from God’s grace; it is in itself a rejection of God. If left un-reconciled, mortal sins result in eternal punishment in Hell.
Venial sins are sins which do not meet the conditions for mortal sins. The sin may be one that is not a grave matter, or if a grave matter, the individual does not realize that the act is a sin or grave matter, or does not deliberately consent to the sin. The act of committing a venial sin does not cut off the sinner from God’s grace, as the sinner has not rejected God. However, venial sins do injure the relationship between the sinner and God, and as such, must be reconciled to God, either through the sacrament of reconciliation or receiving the Eucharist. According to Catholic doctrine however the sin is still punished with the person required to perform penance or endure time in purgatory after death.
According to Roman Catholicism, in addition to Jesus, Mary, his mother, also lived her entire life without sin. It is believed that Jesus assumed her directly into heaven after the end of her life on Earth.
Protestant objections to Catholic doctrine of Sin and the Reformation
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- New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia - Sin