Tuesday, March 6, 2012
WITHOUT BEING SCRUPULOUS, JUST WHAT ARE WE TO CONFESS IN CONFESSION, I MEAN, THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE, I MEAN, THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION
But what makes a sin venial? Well, the good old Baltimore Catechism makes is so easy to understand. I love noble simplicity as Vatican II likes that too! It teaches, "a sin can be venial in two ways: first, when the evil done is not seriously wrong; second, when the evil done is seriously wrong, but the sinner sincerely believes it is only slightly wrong or does not give full consent to it."
So if I am a thief, and I think it is only slightly wrong to steal $100 from a rich person, that is a venial sin, correct?
This is why I think we need Vatican II's vision of sinfulness and not just rely upon grocery lists of sins and motivations for sinning as the Baltimore Catechism does.
The outward manifestation of the sin could be an inward disposition and while the outward manifestation of the sin could be classified as venial sin in comparison to other situations, such as instead of stealing from a millionaire $100, one steals that amount from a starving family, the inward disposition is still the same, one has a disregard for other people's prosperity.
Then Jesus morality which is not legalistic only, it builds upon it, never does away with legalism, is also about maximum performance in morality. That is why he says, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with your brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to council; and whoever says You fool! will be liable to the hell of fire.” Matthew 5:21-22
So there is certainly a difference in stealing a Bic pen from your employer and armed robbery of a bank. I think we could say one is venial and one is mortal from the legalistic point of view.
However, the fact that I am a thief and with total disregard take a Bic Pen from work thinking it doesn't really matter, it's only a venial sin, no big deal, we could rely upon Jesus' more stringent rule of morality and say, I still stole; I'm a thief and I thus have committed a mortal sin because my attitude is mortally sinful, no matter how insignificant the actual act is.
You know what? It's hard being a Christian and Jesus is the one who makes it hard. Thank God, though, for Divine Mercy and the Sacrament of Penance for both temper that which is too heavy for most of us! “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30