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Lindsey Friess wrote:

Hi, guys —

I didn't realize that Good Friday was a day of fasting. I think I knew that it was, but for some reason, it completely slipped my mind. I did abstain from meat though.

Did I commit a mortal sin?

I didn't realize this until six at night and I had already eaten breakfast and dinner, but no lunch and no snacking. I can't help but feel like I have the stain of mortal sin on my soul.

Lindsey

  { Did I commit a mortal sin if I didn't realize that Good Friday was a day of fasting? }

Mike replied:

Hi, Lindsey —

No, you didn't commit a mortal sin. For a sin to be a mortal sin, three conditions must be met as stated by the Catechism below. Nevertheless, I would definitely mention it at your next Confession. Tomorrow is Holy Saturday, a great time, before Easter, for a Confession.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: Mortal sin is sin whose:

  1. object is grave matter
  2. which is also committed with full knowledge, and
  3. deliberate consent. (Reconciliatio et paenitentia 17 § 12 [95])

1858 Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother. (Mark 10:19) The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger.

1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart (cf. Mark 3:5-6; Luke 16:19-31) do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest.

1861 Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God's forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of Hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.

Hope this answers your question.

Mike

Eric replied:

Lindsey —

Just to make my colleague Mike's excellent answer clear beyond a doubt, since you did not know it was a fasting day, you did not commit a mortal sin, but as he suggested, be sure to bring it to Confession next time you go.

Eric

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