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Hacking Hank wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Is logging (or hacking) into a person's online account a venial or mortal sin?


  { Is logging (or hacking) into a person's online account a venial or mortal sin? }

Mike replied:

Dear Hank,

For a sin to be a mortal sin it must include all three conditions:

  1. It must be a grave matter.
  2. We need sufficient time to reflect upon the sin we are about to commit and then must make the decision to sin anyway, and
  3. We must give full consent of the will to commit the sin.

A sin is a (grave or serious) matter if it falls into one of the Ten Commandments.

One could justly argue that logging in (to hack) a person's online account, is a serious sin because it falls into the Seventh or Eighth Commandment:

  1. You shall not steal.
  2. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

If you knew this was a serious or grave sin, which you know now, yet decided to do it anyway and had full consent or knowledge that what you were doing was wrong, it would be a mortal sin.

  • My question to you is why would you or (whoever you are referring to) want to break into someone else's on-line account without their permission, especially in this anti-Christian culture, not only in America, but around the world?
  • Do you have a good answer to this question?


Bob replied:


Thanks for the question.

I would say that the matter is serious, because it generally is criminal even in civil law.

Therefore, if done with full knowledge and consent, it would be a mortal sin.

You can't accidentally hack in to an account (or happen upon it) without deliberately trying to hack into the account, so that generally makes it a full act of the will. The grey area is relative to the context of the action and full knowledge. If it were a boyfriend signing on to his girlfriends social media account to spy on her, that would have a lesser degree of seriousness than someone attempting to commit theft or fraud or some other malicious act.

God alone can judge the full culpability of such acts, but I would say it is likely mortal, unless it were done by some immature child (teen) who was not trying to do something vicious but was snooping out of some insecurity or other weakness. That does not excuse the act, but frames it more as juvenile than criminal.


Bob Kirby

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