Catechism of the Catholic Church

454 Part Three Christ secretly becomes the source from which the forgiveness of our sins will pour forth inexhaustibly. III. T he D ifferent K inds of S ins 1852 There are a great many kinds of sins. Scripture provides several lists of them. The Letter to the Galatians contrasts the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit: “Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, en- mity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the King- dom of God.” 127 1853 Sins can be distinguished according to their objects, as can every human act; or according to the virtues they oppose, by excess or defect; or according to the commandments they violate. They can also be classed according to whether they concern God, neighbor, or oneself; they can be divided into spiritual and carnal sins, or again as sins in thought, word, deed, or omission. The root of sin is in the heart of man, in his free will, according to the teaching of the Lord: “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man.” 128 But in the heart also resides charity, the source of the good and pure works, which sin wounds. IV. T he G ravity of S in : M ortal and V enial S in 1854 Sins are rightly evaluated according to their gravity. The distinction between mortal and venial sin, already evident in Scrip- ture, 129 became part of the tradition of the Church. It is corroborated by human experience. 1855 Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God’s law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him. Venial sin allows charity to subsist, even though it offends and wounds it. 1856 Mortal sin, by attacking the vital principle within us—that is, charity—necessitates a new initiative of God’s mercy and a 127 Gal 5:19-21; cf. Rom 1:28-32; 1 Cor 6:9-10; Eph 5:3-5; Col 3:5-9; 1 Tim 1:9-10; 2 Tim 3:2-5. 128 Mt 15:19-20. 129 Cf. 1 Jn 5:16-17. 1751 2067 368 1395 1446