Too often in today’s culture, we are encouraged to compromise morality. Sadly, many people have ill-formed consciences and have no problem justifying a compromise, as they feel it is not a big deal. In all reality, it is a big deal, as any time we compromise morality we are turning ourselves away from God and committing sin. This sin, if left unrepentant, can be our undoing and allow ourselves to be thrown into the fiery abyss that is Hell.
There are two types of morality. Objective morality and subjective morality.
Objective morality is the moral law that God has given us through Him, His Son, or through the Church. This is the moral code that does not change through the ages. It is constant, meaning if it was bad 1000 years ago, it is also bad today, and will still be bad 1000 years from today. It will always be immoral. Likewise, the same can be said in regards to something that is good. If it was good yesterday, it is good today and it is good tomorrow.
This is the type of morality that the Church upholds, that through God, we can know what is and isn’t moral regardless of what society may tell us. Since God is omnipotent and unchanging the morality that He gives to us remains true for all eternity. It is not up to changing by subjective morality.
Subjective morality is the moral law that is up to individual or societal interpretation. It changes from time to time depending on what people think is right or wrong. What may have been deemed good yesterday can be deemed immoral today and potentially amoral tomorrow. The Church has no issues with subjective morality as long as it does not interfere with morality that has been declared as objective.
An example of subjective morality would be a law involving stopping for school buses. 50 years ago, it would have been considered just fine to not stop for a school bus. Today you are to stop when the lights are flashing and be about 50 feet away (depending on state). Tomorrow, it may be that you must be 50 yards away. However, it is subject to the time and societal constraints that determine if it is moral or not and none of these are absolutely immoral.
I bring up objective and subjective morality because it is almost impossible to fully understand what mortal sins are mortal and the reasoning behind that if you do not fully grasp these two types of morality. It also makes far more sense when you understand that God’s law is unchanging and that many sins are derived from breaking the Ten Commandments from varying degrees.
It is also important to grasp because when it comes to morality, we can not compromise that morality, that is, the ends can never justify the means.
For example, if a terrorist tells the city of La-La Land that they must kill a particular innocent civilian in order to prevent the total annihilation of the city, it would be immoral to do so. The end (saving an entire city from certain destruction) does not justify the means (killing an innocent person). On top of this, we do not know if the terrorist is actually going to blow up the city, or if they will blow up the city even if you kill this innocent person.
A more realistic scenario would be the end (getting a promotion) does not justify the means (lying, cheating and stealing to get the promotion).
If you have committed sins in order to do good, those are stains on your soul. Go to confession and get rid of them. Only the pure can enter Heaven, and a stained soul is not pure. Confess and atone for your sins.
This post is one of many in a series on Mortal Sins. Click here for more posts explaining and defining mortal sins.