There's an interesting conversation building on my Twitter feed that I thought should be brought to a forum that allows for more than 140 characters.
The conversation started when I tried to explain "Mortal Sin"
The one thing we all agreed upon is that the definition of Mortal Sin can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), paragraph 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 consent.""
We also seemed to agree on what "grave matter" and "full knowledge" means, but when I tried to explain that you can't "stumble" into mortal sin because "deliberate consent" requires you to not only be aware of the sin, but to do it BECAUSE it's a sin... well... things got outright hostile.
I received more than a little ribbing, name-calling, and outright insults of my religious order, but I'd like to move past that because this point is all-too-important for Catholics.
This isn't something that I've made up. This has been part of our doctrine and tradition for almost a millennium.
When writing about mortal sin, Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologica, wrote:
"Mortal sin, as stated above (Q72, A5), consists in turning away from our last end which is God, which aversion pertains to the deliberating reason, whose function it is also to direct towards the end. Therefore that which is contrary to the last end can happen not to be a mortal sin, only when the deliberating reason is unable to come to the rescue, which is the case in sudden movements. Now when anyone proceeds from passion to a sinful act, or to a deliberate consent, this does not happen suddenly: and so the deliberating reason can come to the rescue here, since it can drive the passion away, or at least prevent it from having its effect, as stated above: wherefore if it does not come to the rescue, there is a mortal sin; and it is thus, as we see, that many murders and adulteries are committed through passion."
The key phrase is, "when anyone proceeds from passion to a sinful act, or to a deliberate consent, this does not happen suddenly" -- You CAN'T "accidentally" commit a mortal sin. Mortal sin requires a journey to that sin, during which the individual recognizes the act as a sin, then makes DELIBERATE CONSENT to do that act, even though it is a sin. -- In other words, you must WANT to sin.
If there is even a little bit of hesitation, reason against, or non deliberate action, then it does not meet the third requirement of Mortal Sin.