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Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Sin 101

I have listed points for Sin 101, because weekly I hear confusion about sin. Here are a few review points.

One: If one is in mortal sin when one dies, one goes to hell. This state would be one in which the person knew the action or thought was seriously sinful, and did it anyway.

Two: If one has apostastised and left the Church, being a "fallen away Catholic", one is living in mortal sin. The word apostasy is from aphístēmi, meaning, I withdraw,  I revolt”. Once a Catholic, always a Catholic.

For a Catholic to willingly leave the Church is a serious error in judgment. One cuts one's self away from the sacraments, especially Confession and the Eucharist.

Three: Apropos One, there is no repenting after death, no choice after death. One's choices are made in this life. The next life is for punishment, purification or reward; that is, hell, purgatory, or heaven.

Four: One must willingly repent or choose to come back to the Church, or join the Church as a convert, before death. I know this sounds basic, but I hear almost weekly people saying after an apostate has died "Oh, he was a good man, and God will have mercy on him for his good works". No merit is gained when one is in mortal sin and leaving the Church is a mortal sin.

Five: We must pray daily for those who are in mortal sin, and when we have the chance, instruct them as to the state of their souls. We must speak to those who are open, and pray for those who are closed.

Six, Very few people die and go straight to heaven. Those who do are "saints". The souls in purgatory are not saints--they are the Church Suffering, not the Church Triumphant. And, they cannot merit anything. This means, contrary to some simplistic ideas I have heard both in the States and in England, the souls in purgatory cannot intercede or pray for us. People in purgatory are not saints. Saints are those in heaven.

Seven: There is no middle ground concerning grace. One is either in sanctifying grace or not. One is either in mortal sin, deadly sin, or not. 

Eight: Sin blocks the use of the virtues. Even venial sin blocks the flowering of the virtues. As Father Chad Ripperger and other good priests note, we all are called to not sin even venially. Venial sins weaken the Church and our relationship with God

Nine: The sacrament of confession is the only way to be absolved of mortal sin. The Eucharist takes away venial sin, but the graces of Confession should be sought for venial sins as well, as the grace of that sacrament helps us break away from venial sin and the tendency to sin.

Ten: If we have been told something is sinful by someone in authority and we still pursue this action or thought, we are responsible for that sin.

Eleven: One is automatically excommunicated as a lay person if one, has an abortion; physically attacks the pope; apostasy; schism; descration of the Eucharist, Body or Blood. One cannot return to full communion in the Church without first going to Confession and having the excommunication lifted. Priests need special faculties to remove excommunications and these are written out in their faculties. Not all priests have these faculties.

Twelve: The saints and some good priests remind us that purgatory is very, very painful. Ask to be purified here and now. You will do more good for the Church in that state of being free from egotism.