In Ordinary Time. Green days. Jesus has gone back to Heaven. The Disciples have been sent on their way. We are making our way through life with all the new information we've gained from living according to the map. A perfect day for this question:
Sister, My question is about sin. Someone told me recently that it is nearly impossible to mortally sin as three things have to be present. What is this person talking about? And in confession once the priest said that being angry isn't a sin. I kept on with my list and didn't think to ask why it isn't. And in that prayer during Mass we say we sin on thoughts, words, and deeds. How do you sin in thought? I also remember back in school days learning that habits or addictions may not be sinful. Why? Thanks.
That poor person. Yikes! She's right about the three things, but it's FAR from impossible to sin anyhow.
So let's do the easy one first: What the priest said. Being angry is not a sin. Staying angry is a sin. Harboring anger is a sin. So, when you hear the statement that anger is a sin, being angry, as the priest said, is not a sin. You are human and you will react as a human being and you will feel angry. I once heard a psychologist say that anger is unexpressed hurt. I felt that that was quite a revelation.
I thought about when I have been angry, the normal everyday flashes of irritation or slow boils. I've been cut off in traffic! Yes, actually, you' there, cutting me off, you've been rude there and that kind of hurt my feelings if you get right down to it, that you would treat me that way, but I can't do anything about it but honk as you cheerily wave to me to indicate that you had to do that because you were on your phone and not as your best, driving-wise. So now I'm angry.
If I stay angry, if I don't say a prayer and forgive you, I will be sinning. I have to get my emotions in check and pull myself together. And get your license plate number.
I'm kidding. I'm not going to stoop to revenge. That would also be a sin.
It would not be a sin, however, if the reason you cut me off is that you were swirling around traffic, drunk as a skunk. Then it would be my duty to call.
I hope that clears that all up.
Now onto what you need to do to commit a mortal sin.
1. The sin is a grave sin. Some of these are obvious, like murder. Some are not so obvious. We'll get to that.
2. You have to know it's a sin.
3. You have to do it anyhow.
My guess is that your friend thinks that #2 will get her off the hook. You may commit a mortal sin, but you don't know it's a mortal sin. But I'll bet her thinking takes her to the next step: "I don't believe this is a mortal sin." My guess is that she thinks that she gets to decide for herself what is and is not a grave sin. That's not the case.
Here is a perfect example. The Church has deemed it a mortal sin to miss your Sunday Obligation to attend Mass. Did you know that? If you didn't, and you've missed Mass because you didn't feel like going or anything short of being very sick or buried alive, then none of your Mass missing, no matter what the cause was a mortal sin.
But I JUST TOLD YOU. So now when you miss Mass, you are committing a mortal sin. It doesn't matter if you don't think it's a grave sin. The Church says it is. It's not me making this up. You can look it up for yourself.
Now you are choosing to ignore what the Church to which you have pledged your faith has told you is a grave sin.
And since it's pretty easy to choose the Superbowl party over Mass....it's also pretty easy to commit a mortal sin.
Drunk driving is a mortal sin. Premarital sex is a mortal sin. Looking at dirty pictures is a mortal sin. Lust is a mortal sin. In fact, the Vatican added some new sins to the list in 2008: polluting, genetic engineering, being obscenely rich, drug dealing, abortion, pedophilia and causing social injustice.
I can't imagine why abortion and pedophilia are on this list. Those aren't new mortal sins. Those have always been mortal sins. Frankly, although there has been plenty of argument to the contrary, so has being obscenely rich and causing social injustice. That just leave polluting, drug dealing and genetic engineering.
Bishop Girotti elaborated by saying that mortal sins also included taking or dealing in drugs, and social injustice which caused poverty or “the excessive accumulation of wealth by a few.”
To which I reply, "Since when is this news?" Although I have read some pretty tortured explanations of why Jesus didn't mind if you don't share your money. I think He was pretty clear on the topic of poverty and money. I have, in fact, staked my life on it.