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Anonymous Allie wrote:

Hi, guys —

Thanks for the advice from the previous e-mail, I will try to see what I can do about it, however I have a few more questions:

  1. Is it a mortal sin to dwell on intrusive sexual thoughts for a moment or two?
  2. Is it a mortal sin to vandalize something, even though it's not that big, like drawing on (or poking holes in) a school desk or school divider?
  3. Is it a mortal sin to withhold venial sins from Confession and should I confess withholding venial sins in Confession?

Thank you for your patience and help!


  { Can you tell me if these three actions constitute mortal sin from the Church's view? }

Eric replied:


  1. To your first question: If the thoughts are intrusive, that suggests you are not willingly invoking them or consenting to them; if not, it would not be a mortal sin.

    It would also not be a mortal sin if you're not fully aware that what you are doing is wrong (say you're on autopilot or distracted), or if it lasts just a moment (that would constitute insufficient reflection).

  2. To your second: question:I can't really comment on this — it would depend on whether it's grave matter, and vandalism can be grave matter. I have to ask why someone would do this — it sounds malicious or at least constitutes careless disregard.

    As Christians, we want to avoid every deliberate sin, and not just see how far we can go without crossing the line into mortal sin.

  3. To your third question: No; while it is helpful and brings grace, it is even not strictly necessary to confess venial sins in Confession. So it's not a sin to withhold them.


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