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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.

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