56 – Some people say that sin is an offence to God…

It is normal to be afraid of being bitten by a snake, for its deadly poison can kill in just a few minutes. This is especially true in places where such a danger is a reality and not just a remote possibility. Walking through the natural habitat of these perilous creatures we become vigilant, redouble our attention and remain alert for any suspicious movement,  even trying to avoid such places. However, few are those who fear an incomparably more lethal species of serpent, whose sting causes a much graver death: the death of the soul, separating one from God for all eternity! We are speaking about sin. Yes sin, whose gravity is such that numerous saints and spiritual authors felt the need to expound upon it with perfect clarity, so as to avoid any vague expressions, since we have a tendency to pay less attention to the realities of the life to come due to our fallen nature. Therefore, it seems appropriate to recall some important points of the Magisterium of Holy Mother Church on this topic.

Francis

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Teachings of the Magisterium

Enter the various parts of our study

ContentsAuthors

I – Fundamental notions regarding sin
II – The price paid by Christ for the expiation of sins
III – Only repentant souls receive mercy
IV – Man’s indifference toward sin incites the anger of God
V – Doctrinal clarifications regarding venial and mortal sin


I – Fundamental notions regarding sin


John Paul II

Before injuring man, sin is first and foremost a betrayal of God - a violation of His law and a rejection of His plan
The Church believes in and professes that sin is an offense against God
Sin may not be considered exclusively from its psychological consequences: it is not a simple human error, but an offense toward God

Saint Augustine of Hippo

Sin: a transgression of the eternal law

Catechism of Trent

Sin violates the sanctity of the soul and profanes the temple of God
Sin disturbs the order established by the divine wisdom
Sin infects the reason and the will, the two most intimate faculties of the soul

II – The sufferings of Christ for the expiation of sins


Sacred Scripture

Christ died to reconcile us with God

Catechism of Saint Pius X

Jesus suffered to satisfy divine justice and to inspire the deepest horror for sin

Pius XI

Admiring the Redeemer’s infinite charity, we must have a vehement hatred of sin
Each fault renews the Passion of the Lord, crucifying and making him a mockery

John Paul II

The death of Christ is a sacrifice of which makes us understand the gravity of sin

Benedict XVI

The mercy of Jesus Christ takes nothing away from the gravity of sin

Catechism of Trent

God’s justice is an equal and corresponding attribute to mercy: sinners by themselves are utterly incapable of due satisfaction

III – Only repentant souls are worthy of mercy


Sacred Scripture

How can we who died to sin yet live in it? Sin must not reign over your mortal bodies

Council of Trent (Ecumenical XIX)

One must detest the offense toward God and amend perversity with penance
True contrition includes not only cessation from sin, but also hatred for the old life
To obtain pardon, many tears and labors are necessary on our part

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

If then you desire that God have compassion on you, have compassion on your soul with profound cries of penance

Saint John Chrysostom

The stain of sin is washed away with tears and confession

Catechism of Saint Pius X

What should you do to excite yourself to detest your sins? Consider the rigor God’s justice and the foulness of sin

Catechism of Trent

Dispositions of soul necessary to ask pardon from the Lord

Saint Augustine of Hippo

If we say that we have fellowship with God, and walk in darkness, we lie: sins are darkness
Jesus pardons those who are displeased with their conduct and change until reaching perfection
Above all, recognition of sin

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Those who do not repent reject pardon and eternal salvation

John Paul II

God’s pardon must correspond to conversion of the one who repents

Benedict XVI

The pardon of the Lord incites us to acknowledge the gravity of sin

Paul VI

We must bear sufferings of spirit and of the body that we may expiate our sins and avoid the twofold penalty of hell

Innocent IV

Hell is the torment of those who die impenitent

IV – Man’s indifference toward sin incites the anger of God


Saint Augustine of Hippo

Few fear the death of the soul – a more horrifying kind of death

Catechism of Trent

God’s wrath pursues sinners – their sinful act passes, but its guilt and stain remains

Saint John Chrysostom

Indignation and wrath are caused in God by sinners who feel no sorrow for their faults

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

He who loves iniquity, hates his own soul

Saint Augustine of Hippo

A grievous kind of death: the habit of wickedness

Saint John Chrysostom

What punishment awaits those who return to their former vomit, preferring the serpent of sin to the dove of baptism?

Catechism of Trent

Through sin we sell ourselves to the slavery of the devil

V – Doctrinal clarifications regarding venial and mortal sin


John Paul II

Sin has a twofold consequence

Catechism of the Catholic Church

A first sin prepares for many others
The consequences of venial sin

Saint Augustine of Hippo

Do not make light of venial sin, for it leads to mortal sin

Saint Thomas Aquinas

It is also necessary to do penance for the pardon of venial sins

John Paul II

Mortal sin is a rejection of God’s love for humanity and the whole of creation – one turns away from God and loses charity

Catechism of the Catholic Church

One is condemned to the eternal death of hell if one’s mortal sins are not redeemed by repentance and God’s forgiveness

Saint Thomas Aquinas

True penance consists in abandoning sin
Turning away from the infinite good, God, deserves an infinite punishment: the ‘pain of loss’ of God forever
Duration of punishment corresponds to duration of fault, not the act but the stain: an irreparable fault incurs everlasting punishment
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