Father Fortea, can one be condemned for “little” sins?
No. Eternal condemnation is so horrendous, so terrible, that it is reserved for grave sins. Only one who dies in a state of mortal sin is condemned to hell. This being said, every sin, no matter how small, is a step toward greater sin; every sin, no matter how slight, is a step in the direction of condemnation. No one can say: “I will only commit this small sin once and I will never do it again.” Every sin weakens the will, and every fault darkens our understanding a little more. Great sins would not exist without small ones. In its essence, every deliberate sin is one step closer to the precipice, one step closer to eternal damnation.
Some people are under the impression that avoiding “little sins” is just something bishops, priests, and consecrated religious need to be concerned with. These same people claim that laypeople do not need to watch out for venial sins because, after all, they live in the “real” world. This is a serious error. Though venial sins cannot directly cause us to lose our salvation in Christ, we need to avoid them nonetheless. Little sins weaken us and can lead us to commit great sins. Jesus calls every Christian to be holy, to “be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). There can be no room in our lives for deliberate venial sins.
Editor’s Note: To learn more about spiritual warfare and demonology, Catholic Spiritual Direction recommends Fr. José Antonio Fortea’s excellent book Interview With An Exorcist – An Insider’s Look at the Devil, Demonic Possession, and the Path to Deliverance.
Father José Antonio Fortea Cucurull is a priest, exorcist, and writer from Spain. He has published many books, some of which have been translated from Spanish into English, and has spoken at various venues in the United States. His most famous title is the Summa Daemoniaca, currently available only in Spanish. His book Exorcistica is a supplemental publication of Summa Daemoniaca.
To see many other posts on spiritual warfare and demonology, please click on the following link to see all our posts in this series: Spiritual Warfare and Demonology Posts (and Their Links) on SpiritualDirection.com
Art for this post on whether or not one can be condemned for “little sins”: The Cherry Thieves, Fritz Zuber-Buhler, date unknown, PD-US author’s life plus 70 years or less; detail of Padre José Antonio Fortea 2017, photographed by Elgatoconbotaselgatoconbotas, 5 May 2017 own work, CCA-SA 4.0 International; both Wikimedia Commons. Cover of “Interview with an Exorcist” used with permission, all rights reserved.