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Jeanne Noriega wrote:

Hi, guys —

I was mean to a person even though I know it was wrong to do.

  • Is it a sin and should I go to Confession if that's the only thing I did wrong?

I didn't get physical with this person. I just purposely acted like the person didn't matter and paid little-to-no attention to them to make them feel unwelcome. I am sorry and want to apologize to that person.

  • What is your best advice?
  • Should I go to Confession?



  { If I was purposely mean to a person should I go to Confession if that's the only thing I did wrong? }

Mike replied:

Hi Jeanne,

As a Christian, it is good you have a health sensitive conscience as long as you don’t get too scrupulous. This would not be considered a mortal sin so you could receive the Eucharist when renewing your Sunday Covenant at Mass this week.

Venial sin is removed from our soul when we receive the Blessed Sacrament.

That said, I would still encourage you to go to Confession a regular practice and mention the venial sins you are struggling with as well.

The bishops of the United States have recommended that Catholic families go at least once a month. I personally recommend, if you are an active member in the Church, you go more frequently. Talk to your pastor about what would be best.

I hope this helps,


Bob replied:


Absolutely apologize in person and go to Confession. It was a sin but God already sees you have turned around and will help you to make things right.

Just keep in mind that it is the prerogative of the other individual to let go, or not. They can choose not to forgive. You will need to be loving towards them to prove that your heart has changed. When we hurt another if often takes more than an apology to fix it.

Try asking the individual, Would you forgive me?, instead of simply saying, I'm sorry.
That gesture allows them the opportunity to let it go of their own volition.

God bless you.


Bob Kirby

Jeanne replied:

Hey Mike,

What you and Bob said seem to differ a bit.

  • Who should I listen to?


Mike replied:

Hi Jeanne,

Follow Bob’s good advice. I reread my answer and saw how it could be misunderstood.

This is one of the big benefits of working as a team. If someone, like me, makes a mistake, a colleague can correct me . . . which they often do : ) I guess I was overreacting to the number of visitors we get who think the smallest thing they do is a mortal sin.

It is a good sign that people are getting more conscience though one has to watch out for being too scrupulous. This is where a good spiritual director (a faithful priest) can help. That said, everything I said was still correct:

Venial sin is removed from our soul when we receive the Blessed Sacrament.

. . . I would still encourage you to go to Confession a regular practice and mention the venial sins you are struggling with as well.

The bishops of the United States have recommended that Catholic families go at least once a month. I personally recommend, if you are an active member in the Church, you go more frequently. Talk to your pastor about what would be best.


Jeanne replied:

Thanks so much.

  • Finally, is it a sin if your parent tells you not to do something like open a door and you do it anyway?



Mike replied:

Hi Jeanne,

You said:

  • Finally, is it a sin if your parent tells you not to do something like open a door and you do it anyway?

Yes, it is a sin. The Fourth Commandment tells us:

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God gives you. (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16)

He was obedient to them. (Luke 2:51)

The Lord Jesus himself recalled the force of this Commandment of God. (Mark 7:8-13) The Apostle teaches:

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 'Honor your father and mother,' (This is the first commandment with a promise.) 'that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth."' (Ephesians 6:1-3; cf. Deuteronomy 5:16)

This is one way to think of your parents requests/commands:

When a little girl is crossing the street, she will obviously be upset when her father quickly pulls her arm back to the sidewalk.

What she doesn't see, is what her father does see: a car coming down the street that was ready to hit her.

The same analogy can be drawn in the Christian moral life. If the parent has been faithful to the Church (by renewing their Sunday Covenant at Mass) they will see ahead of time, the moral dangers of either doing or not doing something for the good of their daughter.

Another general principle of Christian parenting deals with raising their child with a balanced discipline. Think of a 5-year old like a block of wood.

From age 5 to 18, the parents should strive to carve away the vices their child will adhere to, while graphing in good virtues, so that by 18 their children will be spears of Catholic virtues that mirror their own fine Catholic behavior.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention the importance Jesus placed on obedience in the Scriptures:

Jesus Heals a Centurion’s Servant

5 Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him,6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”

7 And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”

8 The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.9 For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!11 And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.12 But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.

Matthew 8:5-13 New King James Version (NKJV)

This is what the Catechism states under the duties of children:

The duties of children

2214 The divine fatherhood is the source of human fatherhood; (cf. Ephesians 3:14) this is the foundation of the honor owed to parents. The respect of children, whether minors or adults, for their father and mother (cf. Proverbs 1:8; Tobit 4:3-4) is nourished by the natural affection born of the bond uniting them. It is required by God's commandment. (cf. Exodus 20:12)

2215 Respect for parents (filial piety) derives from gratitude toward those who, by the gift of life, their love and their work, have brought their children into the world and enabled them to grow in stature, wisdom, and grace. "With all your heart honor your father, and do not forget the birth pangs of your mother. Remember that through your parents you were born; what can you give back to them that equals their gift to you?" (Sirach 7:27-28)

2216 Filial respect is shown by true docility and obedience. "My son, keep your father's commandment, and forsake not your mother's teaching. . . . When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you." (Proverbs 6:20-22) "A wise son hears his father's instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke." (Proverbs 13:1)

2217 As long as a child lives at home with his parents, the child should obey his parents in all that they ask of him when it is for his good or that of the family. "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord." (Colossians 3:20; cf. Ephesians 6:1) Children should also obey the reasonable directions of their teachers and all to whom their parents have entrusted them. But if a child is convinced in conscience that it would be morally wrong to obey a particular order, he must not do so.

As they grow up, children should continue to respect their parents. They should anticipate their wishes, willingly seek their advice, and accept their just admonitions. Obedience toward parents ceases with the emancipation of the children; not so respect, which is always owed to them. This respect has its roots in the fear of God, one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

2218 The fourth commandment reminds grown children of their responsibilities toward their parents. As much as they can, they must give them material and moral support in old age and in times of illness, loneliness, or distress. Jesus recalls this duty of gratitude. (cf. Mark 7:10-12)

For the Lord honored the father above the children, and he confirmed the right of the mother over her sons. Whoever honors his father atones for sins, and whoever glorifies his mother is like one who lays up treasure. Whoever honors his father will be gladdened by his own children, and when he prays he will be heard. Whoever glorifies his father will have long life, and whoever obeys the Lord will refresh his mother. (Sirach 3:2-6)

O son, help your father in his old age, and do not grieve him as long as he lives; even if he is lacking in understanding, show forbearance; in all your strength do not despise him. . . . Whoever forsakes his father is like a blasphemer, and whoever angers his mother is cursed by the Lord. (Sirach 3:12-13, 16)

2219 Filial respect promotes harmony in all of family life; it also concerns relationships between brothers and sisters. Respect toward parents fills the home with light and warmth. "Grandchildren are the crown of the aged." (Proverbs 17:6) "With all humility and meekness, with patience, [support] one another in charity." (Ephesians 4:2)

2220 For Christians a special gratitude is due to those from whom they have received the gift of faith, the grace of Baptism, and life in the Church. These may include parents, grandparents, other members of the family, pastors, catechists, and other teachers or friends. "I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you." (2 Timothy 1:5)

Make sense?


Jeanne replied:

Yes. Thanks!

One more question:

  • If my parent says, Don't open the door and I open, it is that a mortal sin since I have full knowledge that I am disobeying a parent?


Mike replied:


This is from the Catechism:

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

  1. is grave matter and
  2. which is also committed with full knowledge and
  3. deliberate consent."

    Reconciliatio et Paenitentia 17 § 12, Apostolic Exhortation by Pope St. John Paul II

If any of those is not true, you haven't committed a mortal sin, however it would still be a venial sin.

The sin you have referred to would not be classified as a grave matter sin, so is not a mortal sin.

Sexual sins should always be mentioned in Confession, though our broken bodies will always be struggling with them until we pass from this life to the next one.


Jeanne replied:

Thank-you very much!


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