THE CATECHISM OF ST. PIUS X

The Main Kinds of Sins

1 Q: How many kinds of sin are there?

A: There are two kinds of sin: original sin and actual sin.

2 Q: What is original sin?

A: Original sin is the sin in which we are all born, and which we contracted by the disobedience of our first parent, Adam.

3 Q: What evil effects has the sin of Adam brought upon us?

A: The evil effects of the sin of Adam are: The privation of grace, the loss of Paradise, together with ignorance, inclination to evil, death, and all our other miseries.

4 Q: How is original sin canceled?

A: Original sin is canceled by holy Baptism.

5 Q: What is actual sin?

A: Actual sin is that which man, after coming to the use of reason, commits of his own free will.

6 Q: How many kinds of actual sin are there?

A: There are two kinds of actual sin: mortal and venial.

7 Q: What is mortal sin?

A: Mortal sin is a transgression of the divine Law by which we seriously fail in our duties towards God, towards our neighbor, or towards ourselves.

8 Q: Why is it called mortal?

A: It is called mortal because it brings death on the soul by making it lose sanctifying grace which is the life of the soul, just as the soul itself is the life of the body.

9 Q: What injury does mortal sin do the soul?

A: (1) Mortal sin deprives the soul of grace and of the friendship of God; (2) It makes it lose Heaven; (3) It deprives it of merits already acquired, and renders it incapable of acquiring new merits; (4) It makes it the slave of the devil; (5) It makes it deserve hell as well as the chastisements of this life.

10 Q: Besides grave matter, what is required to constitute a mortal sin?

A: To constitute a mortal sin, besides grave matter there is also required full consciousness of the gravity of the matter, along with the deliberate will to commit the sin.

11 Q: What is venial sin?

A: Venial sin is a lesser transgression of the divine Law, by which we slightly fail in some duty towards God, towards our neighbor, or towards ourselves.

12 Q: Why is it called venial?

A: It is called venial Because it is light compared with mortal sin; because it does not deprive us of divine grace; and because God more readily pardons us.

13 Q: Then little account need be made of venial sin?

A: That would be a very great mistake, not only because venial sin is always an offense against God; but also because it does no little harm to the soul.

14 Q: What harm does venial sin do the soul?

A: Venial sin: (1) Weakens and chills charity in us; (2) Disposes us to mortal sin; (3) Renders us deserving of great temporal punishments both in this world and in the next.