From St. Jerome...
There are venial sins and there are mortal sins. It is one thing to owe ten thousand talents, another to owe but a farthing. We shall have to give an accounting for an idle word no less than for adultery. But to be made to blush and to be tortured are not the same thing; not the same thing to grow red in the face and to be in agony for a long time. . . . If we entreat for lesser sins we are granted pardon, but for greater sins, it is difficult to obtain our request. There is a great difference between one sin and another. Against Jovinian 2:30
For the past several weeks, I have been pressed to write about the danger of mortal sin.
One mortal sin, Father Ripperger reminds us, sends one to hell.
One reason I am zealous concerning the message of sin and death is that too many priests have and are lax in their teaching or in the confessional.
Here is the great Teresa of Avila on this point.
Half-instructed confessors have done my soul great harm; for I could not always have such learned ones as I would have desired. They certainly did not wish to deceive me, but the fact was that they knew no better. Of something which was a venial sin, they said it was no sin, and out of a very grave mortal sin they made a venial sin. This has done me such harm, that my speaking here of so great an evil, as a warning to others, will be readily understood.
Too many priests brush away mortal sin as weaknesses. Mortal sin is deadly.
Daily, too many people choose comfort and sin mortally. Too many people choose pleasure and sin mortally. Too many people do not do good works, ignoring and even hating the poor, and commit mortal sins of omission, just as Christ showed us the Rich Man in the parable committed.
One of the things which has puzzled me is how people who are obviously living in mortal sin can be happy or seem "jolly". I do not understand this phenomenon.
Years ago, a friend of mine whose husband was a multimillionaire, a good man and a Christian, stopped going to the country club parties. She and he came to realize the nastiness among those there-basically, they removed themselves from those who were living in mortal sin and seemingly enjoying life.
One mortal sin condemns a person to hell, What of many? What of a lifestyle of sinning seriously, like living in fornication or being a compulsive liar?
I fear for the souls of so many I have seen walking this earth, choosing darkness, choosing to go against graces which God gives to all to be saved.
All men and women are given the necessary graces for salvation. This is the teaching of the Church.
So many turn away....
St. Cyprian of Carthage wrote this:
Of how much greater faith and salutary fear are they who . . . confess their sins to the priests of God in a straightforward manner and in sorrow, making an open declaration of conscience. . . . I beseech you, brethren, let everyone who has sinned confess his sin while he is still in this world, while his confession is still admissible, while the satisfaction and remission made through the priests are still pleasing before the Lord. The Lapsed 28
Please reach out to those in mortal sin, especially lapsed Catholics. Apostasy is a great sin. But, one can always repent and turn back to God. No sin is too horrible for the priest to hear.