Hi, Anonymous —
Thanks for the question.
Are having impure
thoughts a mortal sin?
Unless you are opening yourself up
to occasions or settings that are
conducive to having impure thoughts,
No. For example:
If we see something inadvertently on T.V. or in public, we can't be culpable for an unplanned event. For example:
- If I go to my town's parade and unexpectedly find some very lightly clad young women who are marching cheerleaders with the football team, or
- If I saw something on T.V. of a sexual nature that I didn't expect.
I certainly can't be at fault for what I didn't expect.
On the other hand, if you open yourself up to occasions or settings that are conducive to having impure thoughts, yes it probably is a mortal sin, and you should go to Confession before receiving the Blessed Sacrament this coming Sunday at Mass. I say probably, because every mortal sin has to meet three criteria. (See below.) Nevertheless, in this sex-saturated culture, if you are unsure, I would go to Confession before Sunday Mass; a priest is there every Saturday afternoon.
The devil, who we believe is REAL
but like thin air, we cannot see,
will do everything to put impure
thoughts in our mind. Praying the
Rosary on a regular basis can be
a powerful weapon again him.
I would also recommend finding a
spiritual director. He may be able
to assist you in your spiritual needs.
Make sure he is faithful to the Church's
teachings and Holy Father.
These paragraphs from the Catechism
should clarify the issues you brought
up in your question.
1857 For a sin to be mortal, three
conditions must together be met: "Mortal
sin is sin whose object is grave
matter and which is also committed
with full knowledge and deliberate
1858 Grave matter is specified
by the Ten Commandments, corresponding
to the answer of Jesus to the
rich young man: "Do not kill,
Do not commit adultery, Do not
steal, Do not bear false witness,
Do not defraud, Honor your father
and your mother." The gravity
of sins is more or less great:
murder is graver than theft. One
must also take into account who
is wronged: violence against parents
is in itself graver than violence
against a stranger.
1859 Mortal sin requires full
knowledge and complete consent.
It presupposes knowledge of the
sinful character of the act, of
its opposition to God's law. It
also implies a consent sufficiently
deliberate to be a personal choice.
Feigned ignorance and hardness
of heart do not diminish, but
rather increase, the voluntary
character of a sin.
1860 Unintentional ignorance can
diminish or even remove the imputability
of a grave offense. But no one
is deemed to be ignorant of the
principles of the moral law, which
are written in the conscience
of every man. The promptings of
feelings and passions can also
diminish the voluntary and free
character of the offense, as can
external pressures or pathological
disorders. Sin committed through
malice, by deliberate choice of
evil, is the gravest.
1861 Mortal sin is a radical possibility
of human freedom, as is love itself.
It results in the loss of charity
and the privation of sanctifying
grace, that is, of the state of
grace. If it is not redeemed by
repentance and God's forgiveness,
it causes exclusion from Christ's
kingdom and the eternal death
of hell, for our freedom has the
power to make choices for ever,
with no turning back. However,
although we can judge that an
act is in itself a grave offense,
we must entrust judgment of persons
to the justice and mercy of God.