Retarded children : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread

Nothing is ever said about the handicapped / retarded children if they don't understand religion heaven or hell don't know about asking forgiveness how are they judged. How are they punished for sins they probably didn't know thay had committed. I can't seem to recall anything about this in the Bible or Church teachings .

-- Linda Hogue (, December 06, 2003


Hi Linda!

I can't answer for the Catholic Church, But I know that in my church we baptize them and that brings saving faith to their hearts just like babies. We don't, however, give them Communion just like we don't give it to babies. It says in 1 Corinthians 11:

27Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.

These verses clearly say that you have to be able to "examine yourself" and recognize the real presence.

But as far as their sins, you can bet that our God is a merciful God and will not give a retarded person a judgment he does not deserve. :)

God bless

-- Jeanie (, December 06, 2003.

I recall a passage in the Bible when Jesus is annointing a bunch of children and his Apostles find him and question him on why he is spending time with children who can't understand salvation. He in turn tells them is in effect that you would do well to emulate these children. Children and especially children with disabilities are blessed with a great deal of God's grace. I have two children with autism (ages 7 and 4)and they were baptised and confirmed. The Bishop granted permission to confirm them early given that they might never comprehend all the Church's teachings. At the time (it has been 3 years) it seemed that both would never understand God, the Church, etc but now the 7 year old says 4 prayers every night. The 4 year old has a long way to go but who knows. The catechism states that a sin is mortal only if you know it is and choose to do it anyway. Children who don't or can't understand their errors would fall under this category I believe.

-- David F (Catecumen) (, December 06, 2003.

I agree with David F. Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:14, Luke 18:16). I am sure Jesus loves them :)

-- Jeanie (, December 06, 2003.

Thank you for your answers my son passed away one year ago this Nov. he was handicapped he didn't have a conception of what heaven was hell was he did seem to understand in a way what God is ( sorta) he wanted to go to church but didn't quite understand it , i try and imagine him now with God but i keep thinking about how God will judge him,if he goes to purgatory will he understand , this is really bothering me , i can't bare the thought of him not being in Heaven . Thanks again Linda

-- Linda Hogue (, December 06, 2003.

God is a just God. You can be sure that your little one is in heaven with Jesus :)

Merry Christmas and God bless!

-- Jeanie (, December 06, 2003.

Dear Linda,

We are all handicapped during our earthly existence. Once we go on to heaven our eyes will be opened and we will understand a great deal that we couldn't understand here on earth. The Bible expresses it this way: "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known."(1 Corinthians 13:12) This promise of God does not depend on our level of intelligence in this part of our lives, or upon any handicap that may have affected us here. While your son was here with you, you had to compensate in many ways for his inabilities and his lack of understanding. But now he understands fully, far better than you or I can possibly understand until we get there too.

-- Paul M. (, December 06, 2003.

The innocent will go to God in Heaven is the teaching of the Catholic Church. To commit a mortal sin you must:

1. An act must be grievous (see the Catechism for information on grievous acts) 2. You must know it is a grievous act 3. You do it anyway

In Christ, Bill

-- Bill Nelson (, December 06, 2003.

What's a "grievous act"?

-- Jeanie (, December 06, 2003.

Hi Jeanie,

Conditions of Mortal Sin: Knowledge, Free Will, Grave Matter

Contrary to the teaching of Baius (prop. 46, Denzinger-Bannwart, 1046) and the Reformers, a sin must be a voluntary act. Those actions alone are properly called human or moral actions which proceed from the human will deliberately acting with knowledge of the end for which it acts. Man differs from all irrational creatures in this precisely that he is master of his actions by virtue of his reason and free will (I-II:1:1). Since sin is a human act wanting in due rectitude, it must have, in so far as it is a human act, the essential constituents of a human act. The intellect must perceive and judge of the morality of the act, and the will must freely elect. For a deliberate mortal sin there must be full advertence on the part of the intellect and full consent on the part of the will in a grave matter. An involuntary transgression of the law even in a grave matter is not a formal but a material sin. The gravity of the matter is judged from the teaching of Scripture, the definitions of councils and popes, and also from reason. Those sins are judged to be mortal which contain in themselves some grave disorder in regard to God, our neighbour, ourselves, or society. Some sins admit of no lightness of matter, as for example, blasphemy, hatred of God; they are always mortal (ex toto genere suo), unless rendered venial by want of full advertence on the part of the intellect or full consent on the part of the will. Other sins admit lightness of matter: they are grave sins (ex genere suo) in as much as their matter in itself is sufficient to constitute a grave sin without the addition of any other matter, but is of such a nature that in a given case, owing to its smallness, the sin may be venial, e.g. theft.


-- FGC (, December 06, 2003.


A grievous act by its very nature will put a person both subjectively and objectively in total opposition to and rejection of God. Grievous acts are specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: "Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother." The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger.

Grave matter also includes, but is not limited to, receiving or participating in an abortion, homosexual acts, having sexual intercourse outside of marriage or in an invalid marriage, masturbation and deliberately engaging in impure thoughts. Scripture contains lists of mortal sins (for example, 1 Cor. 6:9-10 and Gal. 5:19-21). For further information on what constitutes a mortal sin, see the Catechism of the Catholic Church (

Kiwi posted the list in the Catholic Catechism here:

In Christ, Bill

-- Bill Nelson (, December 06, 2003.

So you believe that some sins are worst than others? Something else... you said, "engaging in impure thoughts." After talking with some differnt Catholics one day, I was under the impression that you didn't believe that you sin in "thought word and deed". They said that the position of the church is that if a homosexual doesn't act on his sinful lusts that he was not sinning. Are the lusts themselves sins or not?

-- Jeanie (, December 06, 2003.

Jeanie said, “So you believe that some sins are worst than others?” Yes, that is Catholic dogma. See the Catholic Catechism paragraph 1858

Jeanie also said, “ Something else... you said, "engaging in impure thoughts." After talking with some different Catholics one day, I was under the impression that you didn't believe that you sin in "thought word and deed". They said that the position of the church is that if a homosexual doesn't act on his sinful lusts that he was not sinning. Are the lusts themselves sins or not?”

Impure thoughts are mortally sinful, if they are engaged in voluntarily, with premeditation, in full awareness that they are displeasing to God. Involuntary impure thoughts are not sinful, if they are resisted the moment we are conscious of them. Speaking impure things becomes mortally sinful when the purpose is to arouse oneself or another, or to encourage or congratulate oneself or another in the commission of mortal sins. People who engage in homosexual lust fantasies are committing a sin of the heart even if they do not physically act out the lust.

In Christ, Bill

-- Bill Nelson (, December 06, 2003.

That's not what Jesus said Bill! He said:

Matthew 5:28

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

-- Jeanie (, December 07, 2003.

Yes, some sins are obviously worse than others. Can anyone think that stealing a pencil is comparable to holding up a bank or mugging someone on the street? The Bible clearly explains the difference between mortal sin and venial sin ...

"If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this. All unrighteousness is sin, but there is sin not leading to death." (1 John 5:16-17)

Note: The word "mortal" means "leading to death", as in "mortal combat" or a "mortal wound". With that in mind, let's insert that synonym in the appropriate places ...

If anyone sees his brother committing a sin that is not mortal, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin that is not mortal. There is mortal sin; I do not say that he should make request for this. All unrighteousness is sin, but there is sin that is not mortal. (1 John 5:16-17)

Notice that this passage also says that sins which are not mortal are easily forgiven. Just a simple prayer will do, even a prayer of intercession. "Venial" means "easily forgiven". That's why this passage about the relative seriousness of sins is in the Bible. Because it was a teaching of the Church which compiled the Bible. That's why every passage is in the Bible.

-- Paul M. (, December 07, 2003.

Jeanie, Jeanie, I may not have explained well, sorry. There is no sin if a person has a simple transitory drawing to someone else and it is resisted. If that person then works on this and lusts after the other, there is sin. Lust is a willful act. Temptation is not. Sin can only be willful. Temptation is not a sin unless acted upon.

In Christ, Bill

-- Bill Nelson (, December 07, 2003.

oops, I didn't mean to repeat your name, sorry


-- Bill Nelson (, December 07, 2003.

"Yes, some sins are obviously worse than others. " But that's not what God said through James. He said:

James 2:10

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it

-- Jeanie (, December 07, 2003.

Thank you for your one-passage exegesis. Now would you consider explaining the passage I quoted for you and explained to you? No belief is valid unless it satisfies EVERYTHING scripture has to say on the subject.

Here's another one to chew on:

"Jesus answered, "You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin." (John 19:11)

How could someone have "the greater sin" if no sin is greater than any other?

-- Paul M. (, December 07, 2003.

Paul: If a person is a horrible seriel killer or something really horrid. They get convicted to prison, while they are there they become repentant and seek the Lord's mercy, that sin will not be counted against him. If a person steals an apple because he is hungry and has no money, but is not repentant, then that person will go to hell. a sin is a sin is a sin. All sin is damnable.

-- Jeanie (, December 07, 2003.

Jeanie, Yes, when you break any of the Laws you have committed a sin in the Catholic Church that is considered mortal. If you don't repent you do not go to Heaven. That is not what we were talking about when we state there are some sins that are graver than others. Nor is it what Jesus was talking about, I don't think.

By the way, vinial sins are not of grave matter and are not sins breaking God's Law. Vinial sin if left unguarded can lead to the breaking of God's Law though. Examples of vinial sins are:

-Brief impure thoughts which you try to dismiss as soon as possible. -Brief anger when provoked.

In Christ, Bill

-- Bill Nelson (, December 07, 2003.


It is categorically impossible for a person to go to hell for stealing an apple, whether he repents or not, because stealing an apple is precisly what the Bible describes as "a sin NOT leading to death". "Death" here of course means spiritual death. Such venial sins, regardless of their number or frequency, do not result in eternal damnation - spiritual death. Only sins leading to death (mortal sins) can separate us from the grace of salvation and result in damnation.

You are right in saying that any sin, no matter how grave, can be forgiven if the sinner repents. But you are wrong in suggesting that minor infractions of God's law, even if frequent and unrepented, could result in loss of salvation. If this were true, there would be no hope of salvation for anyone.


I must take exception to some of your statement. Venial sins are indeed violations of God's law. That's the definition of sin, and venial sins are sins. But God's law, just like civil law, can be broken in major ways and in minor ways. Venial sins are violations of God's law that are not grave in nature, or in some cases could even include acts which are grave in nature, if the sinner, through no fault of his own, didn't know that such acts were gravely immoral, or for some reason could not give his full consent to commission of the act.

The example you mentioned - Brief impure thoughts which you try to dismiss as soon as possible - would not constitute venial sin. If you truly tried to dismiss such thoughts as soon as possible, then this would not constitute sin at all, but only temptation. Sin is always voluntary. It is never something that "happens to us". It is always something we decide to do, or at least to allow to happen.

-- Paul M. (, December 07, 2003.

Mortal sins deserves hell (cut off from God).
Veniel sins deserves purification (discipling).

Even big sins become less sinful if done out of ignorance, inadvertantly, under intense pressure (threat, fear, poverty, uncontrollable emotions, etc.).
You won't to hell for commiting such sins under such circumstances. God is Just.

Actually, I believe, some sins can even become holy deeds under some circumstances (except sexual sins). Some of them are:
Missing sabbath to save a dying person on the road-Good Samaritan)
Telling lies to save a innocent life - Exodus. 1:15-21)
Killing to defend's one's people, family fatherland, etc.
God may actually reward for doing these under such circumstances (Exo. 1:20).

In short, love overrules all rules/laws (except sexual sins) . Christians live in the realm of grace.

-- leslie john (, December 07, 2003.

Ok then we are just going to have to disagree cause this goes against everything the bible teaches.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:23)

-- Jeanie (, December 07, 2003.

Paul M. You are correct sin is an act of the will, and I may have given a confusing example. If a person did not give their full consent to an act of grave matter, it can be, however a vinial sin. Thanks for the correction though.

On the other point: venial sin does not break the covenant with God which I think is what James was talking about when he referred to the Law and it is what I meant when I said God's Law. I was not talking about natural law or moral law. In this case, I was using incorrect terms here... sorry for the confusion. Jeanie, these are important points in moral theology.

When in doubt go to the Catechism I always say. Here is what the Catechism says (with it's 2,000 years of tradition and exegesis behind it):

1862 One commits venial sin when, in a less serious matter, he does not observe the standard prescribed by the moral law, or when he disobeys the moral law in a grave matter, but without full knowledge or without complete consent.

1863 Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; it impedes the soul's progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral good; it merits temporal punishment. Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin. However venial sin does not break the covenant with God. With God's grace it is humanly reparable. "Venial sin does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace, friendship with God, charity, and consequently eternal happiness."

"While he is in the flesh, man cannot help but have at least some light sins. But do not despise these sins which we call "light": if you take them for light when you weigh them, tremble when you count them. A number of light objects makes a great mass; a number of drops fills a river; a number of grains makes a heap. What then is our hope? Above all, confession." - St. Augustine, In ep. Jo. 1,6:PL 35,1982.


In Christ, Bill

-- Bill Nelson (, December 07, 2003.

as i have said before, there is never a choice between the lesser of two evils. there is also never a choice to do right when it will invariably force us to do evil...

Missing sabbath to save a dying person on the road-Good Samaritan)

there is no reason why this person who saved the life could not then go to the priest, explain, and ask to recieve communion. or attend a later mass. there are any number of sinless solutions to solve this problem.

Telling lies to save a innocent life - Exodus. 1:15-21)

case in point: it is never necessary to lie in order to save an innocent life. i think i know the example youre talking about too, the classical one used in ethics classes... but its a false dichotomy of morality which too easily presses home the wrong point.

Killing to defend's one's people, family fatherland, etc.

killing to defend innocents is not a sin. the actual sin is not to kill, but to murder. by definition, self defense cannot be murder.

-- paul h (, December 07, 2003.

Jeanie, Did you know that vinial sin is a concept acceptable to WELS? Take a look at this website:

http:/ /

In Christ, Bill

-- Bill Nelson (, December 07, 2003.

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