I was told this by a young person after asking, why do you think “x” is a sin. The full answer was “I don’t think it is a sin, but I’m afraid of hell and am ‘hedging’ my bets.” This betrays a belief that God can be “played” or that God really doesn’t know what is in our hearts. More importantly, it points to what in my opinion and that of a few priest friends is an abuse of the sacrament of Reconciliation. No wonder our protestant brothers and sisters have serious questions about that sacrament.
There is a forgiveness of sin every time we celebrate Mass together. The priest isn’t just saying this as “filler!”;
May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and bring us to everlasting life.
Reconciliation is meant for those sins we just can’t deal with on our own and for the mortal sins of our life. Again a mortal sin is one that severs our relationship to God. With the sacrament there needs to be a desire to overcome the sin, so showing up every few days or weeks with the same things and no intention of really working on them, is missing the point. If you are thinking what is the point, the main reason this bothers me, is that people that really need the sacrament are worried about taking the time they need because of the line. Now there would be something to confess, “by hedging my bets father, I kept someone that really needed to be here from receiving reconciliation.”
What is that one thing keeping you from God, from holiness, from that Joy of the Gospel? What is that thing or maybe things that is the root of all the other things? When you can confess that, you should then get a penance that will help you in your journey of faith.
So what is sacrament. . .
The sacrament isn’t an erasure to give you a clean slate and allow you to continue life as is. It is meant as an instrument of Grace to assist us on our journey.
So the CCC says:
1855 Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God’s law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him.
Venial sin allows charity to subsist, even though it offends and wounds it. (Click on number to get full page)
My test, if you are comfortable going to Church and communion, it wasn’t a mortal sin.