Tuesday, January 12, 2016
THE SENSE OR UNDERSTANDING OF SIN AND THE NEED FOR THE SACRAMENT OF CONFESSION
It isn't rocket science though to understand sin in its the major categories, that of Original and Actual sins.
It isn't rocket science though to understand the two kinds of actual sin, or is it?
Venial sin is erroneously understood as wrong that is less serious, for example "white lies," stealing paperclips and pens from the office and spontaneous reactions that lead to bad words or gestures. True enough, but not the complete truth.
Venial sin can include very serious matter but the sin is not mortal because complete "full consent of the will" isn't present. For example, most people don't wake up and plan to scream, yell explicates, make obscene gestures and actually hit the driver of a car who cuts them off, what is classically called "road rage." If a person who is normally non violent in a moment of provoked rage does the above and spontaneously, like a knee-jerk reaction, the sin isn't mortal, although very serious matter is involved, it is venial because full consent of the will is not present nor is there forethought and planning which is essential for serious matter to become mortal.
Mortal sin has three components for it to be mortal: 1. serious matter; 2. the sinner knows it is a sin; 3. the sin is committed with full consent of the compromised will and usually with forethought and planning.
Personally, I have always had a problem with the idea that a Catholic who is a good Catholic who practices his faith seriously, goes to confession regularly but then gives into temptation and plans an affair and carries it out and dies before he has a chance to repent, for example, for the first time having adultery and dies in the process, that this person will be condemned to hell by God at the person's personal judgement.
This person has given into concupiscence. But more than likely would have repented and stopped the adultery well planned. But he didn't have a chance. Shouldn't the Church teach that God's mercy knows the heart of the person and what would have been if the opportunity had arisen to repent, go to confession and be reconciled.
Thus Pope Francis' third category of sinner, the corrupt sinner, is a great theological break through in papal teachings and magisterium.
This is what Pope Francis has said as a matter of theological reflection:
“Corruption is the sin which, rather than being recognized as such and rendering us humble, is elevated to a system; it becomes a mental habit, a way of living. We no longer feel the need for forgiveness and mercy, but we justify ourselves and our behaviors.”
My post Vatican II seminary training, based in a theology that seeks clarification of doctrine of dogma (this is what theology is) sought to explain actual sin that could lead to damnation in three categories not two:
1. venial as it is classically taught.
2. mortal sin was changed to serious sin, meaning it is evil, wrong, needs the Sacrament of Confession after examination of conscience, repentance and a firm purpose of amendment. However a single serious sin doesn't necessarily condemn a person to hell if they die before getting to Confession.
3. Mortal sin was given a clearer definition as it concerns the possibility of eternal damnation. It is a lifestyle in direct opposition to God and the Church, a prideful arrogance which embraces sin as good and places a person's desires above Divine Truth revealed in the teachings of Holy Mother Church.
It is basically what Pope Francis calls corruption: “Corruption is the sin which, rather than being recognized as such and rendering us humble, is elevated to a system; it becomes a mental habit, a way of living. We no longer feel the need for forgiveness and mercy, but we justify ourselves and our behaviors.”
Thus Pope Francis hits the ball out of the park when he teaches the following and I hope it gives direction to those who have authority to teach the Faith to people and how corruption is a sign of having chosen already now to live in hell and with full consent of the will:
“The corrupt man tires of asking for forgiveness and ends up believing that he doesn’t need to ask for it any more. We don’t become corrupt people overnight. It is a long, slippery slope that cannot be identified simply as a series of sins. One may be a great sinner and never fall into corruption if hearts feel their own weakness. That small opening allows the strength of God to enter.”
“When a sinner recognizes himself as such, he admits in some way that what he was attached to, or clings to, is false. The corrupt man hides what he considers his true treasure, but which really makes him a slave and masks his vice with good manners, always managing to keep up appearances.”