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Q. What is mortal sin?
A. And great offence against the love of God; and is so called because it kills the soul, and robs it of the spiritual life of grace.
Q. What is venial sin?
A. A small, and very pardonable offence against God, or our neighbour.
Q. How prove you that some sins are mortal?
A. First, out of Rom. vi. 23. “For the wages of sin is death.” And ver. xxi. “What fruit therefore had you then in these things, for which ye are now ashamed, for the end of them is death?”
Secondly, out of Wis. xvi. 14. “For man by malice, killeth his own soul.” And out of Ezek. xviii. 4. “The soul that sinneth, the same shall die.”
Q. How prove you that some sins are venial?
A. First, out of 1 John i. 8, where speaking of such as walk in the light, and are cleansed from all mortal sin by the blood of Christ, he adds, “if we stay we have no sin, we seduce ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
Secondly, “In many things we all offend,” James iii 2. And in Prov. xxiv. 16. “The just man falleth seven times.” Not mortally, for then he were no longer just, therefore venially.
Thirdly, out of Matt. xii. 36. “But I say unto you, every idle word which men shall speak, they shall render an account for it at the day of judgment.” Now God forbid every idle word should be a mortal sin.
Q. What are the effects of venial sin?
A. It doth not rob the soul of life, as mortal sin doth, but only weakeneth the fervour of charity, and by degrees disposeth unto mortal.
Q. Why are we bound to shun not only mortal, but venial sins?
A. Because “he that contemneth small things, shall fall by little and little.” Eccles. xix. 1.
Q. What other proof have you?
A. Because “no polluted thing shall enter into the heavenly Jerusalem.” Apoc. xxi. 27, be it polluted with mortal, or venial sin.
Q. How shall we be able to know when any sin is mortal, and when but venial?
A. Because to any mortal sin it is required, both that it be deliberate, and perfectly voluntary; and that it be a matter of weight against the law of God; one or both of which conditions are always wanting in a venial sin.
Q. How is mortal sin remitted?
A. By hearty penance and contrition.
Q. How is venial sin remitted?
A. By all the sacraments, by holy water, devout prayer, alms-deeds, and the like good works.
Q. Whither go such as die in venial sin, or not having fully satisfied for the temporal punishments due to their mortal sins which are forgiven them?
A. To purgatory till they have made full satisfaction for them, and then to heaven.
Q. How prove you there is a purgatory, or a place of punishment, where souls are purged after death?
Q. Out of 1 Pet. iii. 10. “Christ being dead for our sins, came in spirit, and preached to them also that were in prison, who had been incredulous in the days of Noah, when the Ark was building.”
Q. What other proof have you?
A. Out of 1 Cor. iii. 13. “The work of every man shall be manifest, for the day of our Lord will declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire; and the work of every one of what kind it is, the fire shall try; If a man’s work abides,” (as theirs doth who deserve no purgatory) he shall suffer loss, but himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.”
Q. What besides?
A. Out of Matt. v. 25. “Be thou at agreement with thy adversary betimes whilst thou art in the way with him (that is in this life) lest perhaps the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison (Purgatory): Amen, I say unto thee, thou shalt not go out from thence, till thou pay the last farthing.”
Q. What other yet?
A. Out of Matt. xii. 32. “Some sins shall neither be forgiven in this world, nor in the world to come.” Therefore there is a place of purging and pardoning sins after this life.