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27 Jan 2015 Articles Comments (2)

Why the Crusaders Went

This post is the third in a series about the most prevalent modern myths about the Crusades and how to refute them. Anna Comnena was the thirteen-year-…

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11 Sep 2014 USA No comments

Tense political divide doesn't stop Christian unity over Middle East

Washington D.C., Sep 11, 2014 / 03:03 am .- Despite strained political differences, Christian leaders at a historic ecumenical conference voiced the need for un…

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30 Nov 2015 Middle East - Africa News No comments

Watch Pope Francis Open "Holy Door" in Bangui

Holy Father celebrates Mass in Central African Republic where he opened the holy door https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11xK4-brI1k  

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12 Dec 2014 Q&A No comments

Can deacons perform exposition and benediction?

Full Question My parish is instituting adoration and benediction during Lent. The pastor and associate are not willing to participate, and they are giving …

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31 Dec 2014 Q&A No comments

Can God make square circles? If not, does that mean he isn't all-powerful?

Full Question Can God do literally anything? Make square circles? Make 1 + 1 = 72? If he can't do these things, is it safe to say that he cannot do literal…

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20 Nov 2015 Articles No comments

Governor forced to become bishop: the story of St Ambrose of Milan

St. Ambrose was Bishop of Milan, his hometown. He was born around A.D. 338 and died in 397. He was a very popular political figure, and since he was the Gove…

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13 Jul 2016 Americas Asia-Pacific Middle East - Africa News USA Vatican No comments

Lesotho Church officials call for international intervention following shooting of journalist

The shooting of a newspaper editor in Lesotho is the latest in a series of attacks on government critics in the mountainous country surrounded by South Africa, …

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29 Nov 2014 Q&A No comments

What is the difference between saints and blesseds?

Full Question What is the difference between saints and blesseds? Answer There are several steps in the Church’s process of declaring someone a s…

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09 Sep 2016 Articles No comments

Are Americans WRONG about work? How a Catholic approach to work actually increases profits

Are Americans wrong about work? New research and practical experience suggests we Americans are wrong about work, and that if we want to be more productive, we …

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Are all sins equally offensive to God?

Full Question

Aren’t all sins equally offensive to God? After all, James 2:10 says, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.”

Answer

Don’t ignore 1 John 5:17: “All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal.” Everyone sins and falls short of the glory of God–there is no disputing that. But why would Paul tell Christians in Rome to keep the faith–“otherwise you too will be cut off” (Rom 11:22)–unless he feared for their salvation? There are other times when the apostle indicates the necessity of remaining with Christ lest salvation be lost (1 Cor 9:27, Phil 2:12). Yet salvation is not lost by every sin; as James says, “We all stumble in many ways” (Jas 3:2).

It stands to reason that the Catholic Church would teach that some human failings are worse than others. Man-made law reflects this insight: Governments do not hang jay-walkers. As it is with human law, so it is with divine law. Minor sins are called “venial,” and serious sins are called “mortal” because they involve a massive rejection of God’s law and cause the spiritual death of the soul.

What James means when he says that whoever fails on one point of the law is guilty of breaking all of it is not that all humans are equally guilty if they sin once–then there would be no difference in the levels of punishment people would receive, yet Jesus says there will be (Lk 12:47-48; cf. Mt 10:15, 11:22-24). What James means is that anyone who breaks one point of the law is guilty of breaking the law itself, of breaking it as an entity. To give an analogy, anyone who breaks one part of a plate is guilty of breaking the plate. He may not have broken every part of it–smashed it into pieces–but he is guilty of breaking the plate as a whole.

In the same way, a person who breaks one law has broken the law as a whole; he has become a lawbreaker, which is James’s point, as is clear from the next verse: “For he who said, `Do not commit adultery,’ said also, `Do not kill.’ If you do not commit adultery but do kill, you have become a transgressor of the law” (Jas 2:11). This means all of us need mercy and therefore need to be merciful (Jas 2:12-13).











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