Author Topic: Mortal and venial sin?  (Read 277 times)

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Offline Eruvande

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Mortal and venial sin?
« on: April 14, 2015, 09:29:16 AM »
Just wondering, as I know more about Roman Catholic theology than I do about Orthodoxy, does Orthodoxy have a concept of sin being mortal or venial? Or even just in degrees? or is all sin equally bad?

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Mortal and venial sin?
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2015, 09:56:08 AM »
Some Orthodox use those terms, while others don't use those specifically. I personally find it to be a useful distinction. But I think most all Orthodox would agree that some sins are far more severe than others. That's just common sense.

Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: Mortal and venial sin?
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2015, 10:43:39 AM »
Some Orthodox use those terms, while others don't use those specifically. I personally find it to be a useful distinction. But I think most all Orthodox would agree that some sins are far more severe than others. That's just common sense.

Some sins may be more severe or pernicious or persistent, but sin is sin.
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Offline ZealousZeal

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Re: Mortal and venial sin?
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2015, 11:24:18 AM »
Orthodoxy doesn't formally use the terms "mortal" and "venial" to distinguish a hierarchy of sin. There isn't a rule that mortal sins can only be forgiven through Confession while venial sins can be forgiven outside of it- sin is sin, and sin needs to be confessed. So, there are legalisms in the RCC with this distinction that Orthodoxy does not have.

On the other hand, there is a recognition that some sins are more serious than others, and if committed, need to be confessed before Communion is received again.

This is my understanding, anyway.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2015, 11:25:06 AM by ZealousZeal »
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Offline Indocern

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Re: Mortal and venial sin?
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2015, 11:40:14 AM »
Just wondering, as I know more about Roman Catholic theology than I do about Orthodoxy, does Orthodoxy have a concept of sin being mortal or venial? Or even just in degrees? or is all sin equally bad?

Yes there is mortal sin, which are in old testament sins which people must be killed with stones.

This is in power before the christianity and its for the whole world, not only for christians.

You can't pray for someone who made a mortal sin.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2015, 11:46:45 AM by Indocern »

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Mortal and venial sin?
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2015, 11:54:23 AM »
1 John 5:16-17

"If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death."

Sins which are "unto death" are mortal sins; they are severe sins which require confession and repentance to restore communion with God and the Church. Minor sins are still sins: "all unrighteousness is sin", but they do not all have the same effect on the soul, on the body, or on others. If I lose my temper and swear for spilling coffee on myself, I suppose I have sinned. But this would not prevent my receiving Holy Communion or entering into the Kingdom of God in the same way that something severe like apostasy or murder would. Different types of sins.

The severe ones are rightly called mortal, for they condemn or at least endanger the soul. Calling those lesser sins "venial" when they are "not unto death" is perfectly fine. The only qualifier, which others have made, is that Orthodoxy would not necessarily have the same theological assumptions, legal codes, and penances which Roman Catholicism employs. At times we might use the same terms, but they might mean different things.

Likewise, there are also sins which are against the body, and others which are not. This designation of different types of sins also exists in the New Testament: "Every sin that a man does is without the body; but he that commits fornication sins against his own body." 1 Corinthians 6:18.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2015, 11:58:04 AM by Alveus Lacuna »

Offline Eruvande

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Re: Mortal and venial sin?
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2015, 12:54:32 PM »
Thank you everyone. Some helpful insights. I'm coming at it from a Protestant perspective that all sins 'weigh' the same before God - not that I necessarily believe that now, just that is the viewpoint I have held as a protestant. Given that I have nearly veered from Protestant beliefs straight into Catholic beliefs, I am having a little trouble unpicking the more legalistic aspects of things, like purgatory and penal substitution and so on.

Offline Kmon23

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Re: Mortal and venial sin?
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2015, 01:29:34 PM »
Just saying that penal substitutionary atonement is something of the reformed tradition more so than Catholicism. I have seen many catholics have a large aversion to that view of atonement (admittedly me as well).

Offline Eruvande

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Re: Mortal and venial sin?
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2015, 01:33:00 PM »
Just saying that penal substitutionary atonement is something of the reformed tradition more so than Catholicism. I have seen many catholics have a large aversion to that view of atonement (admittedly me as well).

Oh yes, you're quite right - I am coming from the Calvinist POV myself originally, so that's why it's a topic I wrestle with, rather than because of anything I learned about Catholicism. I am really tremendously ignorant and know next to nothing, so am always learning here.

Offline ZealousZeal

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Re: Mortal and venial sin?
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2015, 01:39:15 PM »
Thank you everyone. Some helpful insights. I'm coming at it from a Protestant perspective that all sins 'weigh' the same before God - not that I necessarily believe that now, just that is the viewpoint I have held as a protestant. Given that I have nearly veered from Protestant beliefs straight into Catholic beliefs, I am having a little trouble unpicking the more legalistic aspects of things, like purgatory and penal substitution and so on.

Maybe it would help you to think of sin in terms of damage it does to you spiritually. All sin damages us and causes us to need healing, but some sins damage you more than others. For Orthodox, all sins need to be confessed. There isn't a concept of some sins being too small to bring up in confession. But we recognize that some sins wreak more havoc in your soul than others- adultery vs. gossip, for instance.

We should be working out our salvation with fear and trembling, repenting of all of our sins. But when you get to a point where you find yourself committing serious sins, that's a pretty good sign that your spiritual health needs more attention.
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Offline underzealousconvert94

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Re: Mortal and venial sin?
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2015, 01:54:06 PM »
I know the OP didn't have anything to do with confession, but I tend to think of sins in relation to whether or not one would have to confess them before taking communion.

In general it's good to confess all sins, even the little ones, that you can remember during confession.  While there a certainly some sins that you should never receive communion before confession (fornication), it's really between you and your father confessor.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2015, 01:54:57 PM by underzealousconvert94 »
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