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Francis Bakilatob wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • From the Catholic perspective, what is the difference between sin and crime?


  { From the Catholic perspective, what is the difference between sin and crime? }

Mike replied:

Hi Francis,

Thanks for the question.

You said:

  • From the Catholic perspective, what is the difference between sin and crime?

A crime is a type of sin. There are three types of sin I can generally think of:

  1. sin which people are not personally responsible for, like original sin
  2. sin that people knowingly commit that they are responsible, like a crime. These sins are either venal sins or mortal sins, and
  3. sin that people unknowingly commit. One can't be culpable for a sin they were not aware was a sin.

I hope this helps,


Paul replied:

Hello Francis,

There is also a distinction to be made between civil crime and moral crime.

For example, today in the United States, prenatal homicide (abortion) is not a legal crime but it is a moral crime. The secular laws of our land don't always match true crime.

God judges us, and we should always judge ourselves before Confession, as to whether we have committed any moral crimes, which are deliberate acts that violate God's moral law; which is another way of saying the natural law.

As Aquinas states, if any civil laws contradict the natural law they are in spirit null and void. Martin Luther King is a good example of civil disobedience because at the time he saw civil law contradicting natural law.

Many sins or moral crimes spring from the seven deadly sins. For a full exposition on all of this read the third section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Most specifically, [Article 4 - The Morality Of Human Acts.]



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