Examination of Conscience: Venial Sins

What is a venial sin?
According to the Catholic faith

It is not required to confess venial sins. However, it is a very good practice to do so because it can help one to grow in humility, it helps keep one’s conscience attentive and thus keeps a person from mortal sin, and it helps to root out sin and thereby provides the means for a person to grow in holiness. A sin is considered venial either because the matter is not serious enough to be mortal or because the habitual nature of the sin reduces the gravity.

Examples of venial sin:

1) I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before Me.

  • Failure to pray on a daily basis
  • Not trying to love God with my whole mind, heart, soul and strength
  • Entertaining doubts against the Faith
  • Failing to seek out or learn the teachings of the Church
  • Indifference or ingratitude to God
  • Lukewarmness in the relationship with God
  • Acedia (spiritual sloth)
  • Putting other things or people before God, e.g., TV, radio, sports, hobbies, etc.
  • Attachment to human respect or affection, i.e., caring more about what others think than what God thinks in order to fit in or be liked
  • Not trusting God
  • Failure to fulfill the duties of one’s state in life
  • Playing Dungeons and Dragons or similar games
  • Tempting God
  • Being angry at God
  • Failure to support the work of the Church monetarily and/or with time and ability
  • Not taking part in the work of evangelization
  • Being a willfully distracted at Mass or in prayer
  • Putting off confession needlessly
  • Refusing or denying the mercy of God
  • Failure to pray when tempted
  • Failure to examine one’s conscience daily
  • Giving into depression, self-pity or self-deprecating thoughts

2) You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain.

  • Using the Lord’s Name lightly, in surprise or in anger (habitual, not thinking)
  • Cursing thoughtlessly
  • Using the names of Mary, a Saint, the Pope or other sacred persons irreverently
  • Using vulgar or inappropriate language
  • Telling bad jokes about sacred persons or objects
  • Speaking badly of the Church
  • Inappropriate or irreverent use of Scripture

3) Remember to keep Holy the Lord’s Day.

  • Doing unnecessary work on Sunday
  • Failing to keep Sunday as a day for family and recreation
  • Allowing sports or other schedules to dictate the Sunday schedule
  • Being irreverent in Church
  • Not paying attention or participating at Mass
  • Coming late to Mass or leaving early without a serious reason
  • Desecrating the day by sinful amusements, bad company, inappropriate entertainment, etc.

4) Honor your father and mother.

  • Fighting with siblings
  • Disobedience to parents or authorities
  • Failure to give proper respect to parents or those in authority
  • Treating those under one’s authority disrespectfully
  • Failure to respect the dignity of children
  • Speaking badly about parents
  • Speaking badly about children
  • Speaking badly about one’s spouse
  • Neglecting duties toward spouse or children
  • Failing to give good religious examples to one’s family
  • Making fun of or failing to help the elderly or handicapped
  • Failure to teach children adequately about God and the spiritual life
  • Lack of gratitude toward parents
  • Nagging spouse or children
  • Treating adult children like minors
  • Meddling in the affairs of married children
  • Too lax with rules, boundaries and discipline
  • Too strict with rules, boundaries and discipline
  • Breaking just civil laws without serious reason
  • Being ashamed of or embarrassed about parents

5) You shall not kill.

  • Pride, arrogance
  • Vanity
  • stubbornness without good reason
  • Rudeness
  • Failure to apologize
  • Fighting or arguing over slight matters
  • Anger
  • Using obscene or vulgar gestures
  • Prejudice
  • Harboring a grudge
  • Seeking revenge or retaliation
  • Wishing evil upon another
  • Selfishness
  • Listening to bad music
  • Excessive watching of television
  • Excessive playing of computer games
  • Excessive use of the internet
  • Watching TV or movies that promote sex or violence
  • Playing computer games that promote sex or violence
  • Refusing to forgive another
  • Intemperance (overeating or drinking too much)
  • Driving carelessly
  • Failing to care for one’s health
  • Abusing medications
  • Sloth (laziness)
  • Procrastination
  • Failure to respect the dignity of self or others
  • Giving scandal to another
  • Treating another unjustly
  • Failure to take medications if such are necessary
  • Doing things willfully to anger others
  • Violating friendships
  • Using the “silent treatment” on others

6) You shall not commit adultery.

  • Lack of custody of the eyes (looking inappropriately at others)
  • Allowing the heart to stray from one’s spouse
  • Dressing somewhat immodestly
  • Acting or carrying oneself immodestly
  • Treating others as objects
  • Failure to respect persons of the opposite sex
  • Seeking wrongful attention from another
  • Selfishness in marital intimacy
  • Failure to be open to life without serious reason
  • Keeping bad company

7) You shall not steal.

  • Attachments to persons or things
  • Theft of small or inexpensive items
  • Willful failure to return borrowed items
  • Wasting time
  • Failure to return borrowed items
  • Wasting time
  • Failure to pay debts promptly
  • Failing to practice charity or to help the poor
  • Squandering money on needless things or pursuits
  • Not keeping a promise

8) You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

  • Lying
  • Gossiping
  • Spreading rumors or tale-bearing
  • Talking behind another’s back
  • Being negative, critical or uncharitable in thought regarding others
  • Making rash judgments
  • Being unjustly suspicious
  • Failure to seek to restore the good name of another whom you have injured through speech
  • Cheating in games, school work, etc
  • Speaking unkindly to or about others
  • Exaggerating the truth
  • Bragging or boasting
  • Flattery
  • Complaining, whining or attention seeking

9) You shall not desire your neighbor’s wife.

  • Telling or listening to impure or vulgar jokes or stories
  • Brief entertainment of impure thoughts or fantasies
  • Not trying to control the imagination
  • Curiosity or playing with temptation
  • Seeking out or looking at persons or pictures which are immodest

10) You shall not desire your neighbor’s goods.

  • Envy (sadness or anger at the good fortune of another)
  • Jealousy (desire for the goods of another)
  • Greed
  • Materialism
  • Not trusting that God will provide for all material and spiritual needs
  • Attachment to riches or material goods

Catholic Church – Copyright 2002 @ Leaflet Missal Company