IMPERFECTIONS: Deficiencies of character that, although not as serious as mortal or venial sins, are nonetheless obstacles to attaining Christian perfection and union with God. It is important to note that the intentional omission of an obligatory good act is sinful (e.g. missing Mass on Sunday without sufficient reason). However, the failure to do a good act that is not obligatory (e.g. not going to daily Mass), whether through human frailty or the difficulty of judging its obligation, is considered a moral imperfection. While imperfections reflect deficiencies in our character, and are obstacles to Christian perfection, they are not sins and therefore are insufficient matter for absolution. However, they may be confessed in order to settle one’s conscience and to grow in the spiritual life. The scrupulous would constitute an exception, and should follow the guidance of their confessor or spiritual director in such matters.
This Spiritual Dictionary Term is an excerpt from the Glossary of Dan’s book Navigating the Interior Life – Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God. To learn more, click here.