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Are the graces given at baptism (or any other sacrament) made dormant when mortal sin is committed?

Full Question

Are the graces given at baptism (or any other sacrament) made dormant when mortal sin is committed?


Before baptism, the soul is void of sanctifying grace and is unable to receive it, because it is baptism that makes the soul receptive to that grace.

Here is an analogy: If you try to capture water on a round surface, like a ball, the water will roll off. But if you put a dent into the top of the ball, it can hold water. Our soul before baptism is like the ball, and grace is like the water. The soul cannot capture the grace, just as the ball cannot capture the water. After baptism, the soul is like the ball with a dent on top. It can capture the grace it receives. Continuing the analogy, if the soul turns away from God, it is like the ball turning itself upside down, away from God. The water (grace) is lost and the dent cannot capture any more until it is turned upright, toward God again. Confession is the normal way we turn the soul back toward God.

Baptism permanently changes one’s soul to make it capable of receiving grace. Each sacrament imparts sanctifying grace to the properly disposed soul. If mortal sin occurs, the grace is lost. The soul can receive it again once reconciled to God, because the special character that baptism bestowed remained even when the grace was lost.



  1. Patrick Gannon Reply

    “Before baptism, the soul is void of sanctifying grace and is unable to receive it, because it is baptism that makes the soul receptive to that grace.”

    Do good, decent human beings who happen to be Catholic really understand the implications of this horrific, vicious, ungodly dogma? What he’s saying is a) anyone who is not a Catholic is destined for eternal torment in hellfire. b) every aborted fetus, every miscarried fetus, every infant that died in childbirth – all of them go to Hell despite their complete and total innocence and inability to arrange to have a few drops of water splashed on their heads, along with some mumbled words in Latin. For lack of a simple ritual, the unlucky infant goes to eternal torment.

    Think this through. Could anything be more vicious than this? Sending those who are completely innocent and incapable of saving themselves to eternal torment. Only sick minds could envision such a monstrous god.

    At least in the old days, God sent such souls to Limbo – where their mothers were told they would never see them, ever. Now we don’t have Limbo, but they can’t go to heaven since they weren’t baptized. All that’s left is to send them to Hell. What decent human being would worship such a god out of love? Fear, sure; but love – never.

    Fortunately this hell thing is not biblical.

    1. alissa dunsky Reply

      Not to mention all the people who had the misfortune to be born into non-Catholic families… that is, just under 6 BILLION PEOPLE. That’s a lot of poor misfortunes. Does God love more, the people He allows to be born into Catholic families? Why would He allow so many billions to live lives in which they a) never hear about Catholicism; b) will never be convinced that Catholicism is true; or c) are born into cultures where they are raised to believe very different things than Catholicism teaches? Why would he rely on a method of disseminating His truth which does not seem to be working, as it is reaching (or at least, convincing) only a minority on the planet?

  2. roger clark Reply

    the man at the cross with christ wasnt baptised but jesus said that you will live in paradise with me. not by baptism but thru faith of who christ is. dying to the law to please God and raised in another(christ). born again by spirit. very easy gospel to understand. jesus said that a child will know. not a little kid but a child of God. thru spritual adoption.

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