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On Sin and Its Kinds - Lesson Sixth

Baltimore Catechism No. 2 (Confirmation Catechism)


In Lesson Fifth of the Baltimore Catechism No. 2, we learned about the sin of our first parents, Original Sin, and its effect in our lives.

Now we discuss the kind of sin for which we are directly responsible. Depending on its severity, this actual sin is classified as mortal or venial. Mortal sin deprives us of grace, the life of God within us, while venial sin opens us to the possibility of mortal sin. The capital or deadly sins are the source from which all of our sins flow.

The questions are numbered consecutively with Lesson Fifth. For more information and links to other resources, click on each question below.

51. Q. Is original sin the only kind of sin?

A. Original sin is not the only kind of sin; there is another kind of sin, which we commit ourselves, called actual sin.

52. Q. What is actual sin?

A. Actual sin is any wilful thought, word, deed, or omission contrary to the law of God.

53. Q. How many kinds of actual sin are there?

A. There are two kinds of actual sin--mortal and venial.

54. Q. What is mortal sin?

A. Mortal sin is a grievous offense against the law of God.

55. Q. Why is this sin called mortal?

A. This sin is called mortal because it deprives us of spiritual life, which is sanctifying grace, and brings everlasting death and damnation on the soul.

56. Q. How many things are necessary to make a sin mortal?

A. To make a sin mortal three things are necessary: a grievous matter, sufficient reflection, and full consent of the will.

57. Q. What is venial sin?

A. Venial sin is a slight offense against the law of God in matters of less importance, or in matters of great importance it is an offense committed without sufficient reflection or full consent of the will.

58. Q. Which are the effects of venial sin?

A. The effects of venial sin are the lessening of the love of God in our heart, the making us less worthy of His help, and the weakening of the power to resist mortal sin.

59. Q. Which are the chief sources of sin?

A. The chief sources of sin are seven: Pride, Covetousness, Lust, Anger, Gluttony, Envy, and Sloth; and they are commonly called capital sins.

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