We don’t talk much about sin anymore. The pendulum swung from frequent Confession to occasion, or never, going to the sacrament. However, sin has not gone away.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines sin as
Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as “an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law.” (1849).
More simply, sin is when we do something that offends God. Sin is a failure to do good. There are three criteria given in the Catechism for sin to be mortal (serious)
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.” (1857).
Grave matter is outlined in the Ten Commandments (see Exodus 20:1017 or Deuteromony 5:15-21). To be held accountable for sin we must have knowledge that it is sin and consent to the act. If we are forced against our will to do something, we have not sinned in doing it.
There are sins that can lead us to further sins (Catechism, 1865). Among these are what we call “The Seven Deadly Sins.” They are pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth (Catechism 1866, Compendium 398); more commonly called pride, greed, envy, anger, lust, gluttony, and sloth is perhaps most easily understood as laziness as it relates to not doing good works and fulfilling God’s plan for us out of laziness.
In the coming weeks I hope to write on each of the seven deadly sins. Be sure and check back. For now, you can check out the definition of each at www.catholicreference.net.