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Anonymous Monica wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have a question regarding venial and mortal sins.

  • Can a very trivial venial sin become a mortal sin?

I will give you my situation, as an example:

I love watching anime, reading manga and novels from overseas. It is something that gives me lots of happiness and eases my anxiety and depression. It is also a tool for me to learn foreign languages. People can say I should just get a new hobby, or something like that, but it's not that simple and it's like asking someone not to do their only favorite thing outside Church activities altogether.

The problem is, it is not always possible to find legal sites for them. I can't even access them, even if I want to pay for this content, so I use any sites to (read or watch) them, regardless their legality, but will switch and pay for the content when it become available through legal sites. That way, I am not depriving anyone from monetary income that supposed to come from the anime/manga produced.

The only problem is when the author does not give their consent for their content to be translated and posted online, which means the sites steal from the author and I, as a user, end up sinning as I enjoy the stolen content. It is also difficult to find out if content is stolen or officially translated with permission from the author.

  • Many translators just publish their content
  • Some might gain money from it, and
  • if the authors don't like that, then it is possible for most governments to stop the translators.

I believe by (watching or reading) this content on whatever sites are available should be a very, very trivial sin. Also, watching or reading the content won't stop translators from stealing the content.

I realize that my only source of entertainment might be a sin.

  • Despite being very trivial, will it be a mortal sin since I understand that this is probably sin and still consent to continue (watching or reading) the content?
  • If it is, then, should I also tell my friends, since they are not aware of this at all?

It is definitely a venial sin for my friends who also (watch or read) content from the same sites as I do. If I don't tell them, they won't fall into mortal sin since they are not aware of it.

  • Should I ruin their happiness by telling them that it is a sin, and that if they continue to (watch or read) certain content they potentially develop a mortal sin?

Best Regards,


  { Can a trivial venial sin become mortal and should I ruin my friend's joy by telling them it's a sin? }

Mike replied:

Dear Monica,

You are not responsible for another person's sin and your willingness to switch and pay for legal site content is laudable.

Yes, a venial sin overtime can become a mortal sin if one is aware, or becomes aware, of the criteria for a mortal sin. For a sin to be a mortal sin you must:

  1. Have knowledge of what you are doing
  2. Have knowledge that it is grievously wrong (it's a grave matter, i.e., falls within the Ten Commandments), and
  3. Do it with full consent of the will.

If one of these criteria is missing, it is not a mortal sin.

You said:

  • Should I ruin their happiness by telling them that it is a sin, and that if they continue to (watch or read) certain content they potentially develop a mortal sin?

As to your friends, non-Catholic friends are not bound to this because:

  • they are not aware of it, or
  • don't accept what we believe in this area of morality.

As to your Catholic friends, you are bound to correct them on moral issues, even if it is unpopular or takes away their joy. Consider talking to your Confessor or a Spiritual director for guidance.

In order to get more insight into a good answer to your question, check out these Related postings in the Media and Copyright Issues at the bottom of this page:

There are at least nine more related postings containing questions very similar to yours.

It should help a lot.

I hope this helps,


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