Worst of Sins

Started by ·, January 12, 2023, 09:12:08 PM

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Those suffering from scruples should not read this, as it concerns topics that may be severely misunderstood and cause greater distress. Rely on your confessor and trust in God!

The comparison of grave sins must not distract from the fact that all Mortal Sins have the same effect, and that the venial sins one actually has and finds most tempting are of greater concern than learning this topic. Since all of these sins must be mortal sins to be considered the worst sins, it must be remembered that:

  • Mortal sin deprives the soul of grace and of the friendship of God
  • It makes it lose Heaven
  • It deprives it of merits already acquired, and renders it incapable of acquiring new merits.
  • It makes it the slave of the devil.
  • It makes it deserve hell as well as the chastisements of this life.

To constitute a mortal sin, besides grave matter there is also required full consciousness of the gravity of the matter, along with the deliberate will to commit the sin. (Catechism of Pius X, The Main Kinds of Sin, Q 9, 10) Mortal sins should be understood before approaching this topic: for those teachings include exactly what constitutes a mortal sin, and thus, how to judge the severity of any act that is treated here. One should not misunderstand this topic. Curiosity of what the worst sins can be most dangerous, as they include types of sins that one may misunderstand without prior study.

It can be said that several grave sins are the worst, but exactly what this means depends on the nature of the sin. But first, it should be considered that the sins many will often think are the worst are not in fact the worst, but they are the worst of certain kinds of sin.

Grave Sins Which Are Not The Worst

When asked what the worst evil act a person can do, Murder and Acts of Unnatural Lust are usually cited: one by most, and the other by those who are informed of the grave nature of those acts. These are not the worst sins, but they are worth examining.

Murder is a sinful act that destroys a person's life and this an injury that cannot be undone and for which the victim can receive no compensation. Even a lawful act that causes the death of another has these properties, and the matter is most grave as far as the injury to neighbour goes. But there are higher goods than our neighbours. We are to love our neighbour as ourselves (Matthew 22:39) Out of Charity, we should love ourselves, as this is the order of Charity. (ST II-II Q 26 A 4) Thus murdering oneself would be more grave than murdering another if we considered that the sin is not just against creation, but against God, who is Love.

Lust is a grave matter, and some acts are worse than others due to their nature. The Unnatural Vice is more evil than other acts of Lust because it is against nature as well as being against reason. It is a more total corruption of what is good. Fornication without injustice to another person is the least grave act, whereas Adultery is more grave, and violence makes these acts worse still, so rape is graver still, and there can be Sacrilege which aggravates them.

But the unnatural acts of lust are worse for the reason stated, and the different unnatural acts have an order as well. The worst of which is the one that is most against against nature, that is Bestiality. The next would be Sodomy, and the least of the unnatural acts would be the unnatural act of lust without any other person. (ST II-II Q 154 A 12)

These, as said, are not the worst sins. One is the worst against our neighbour and the other is the most shameful and against nature, but there are graver violations possible. These are against God directly.

The Worst Sin(s)

The greatest perversion of morals is Unbelief, which consists in the rejection of the faith, either by refusing it or despising it. (ST II-II Q 10 A 1) Blasphemy is an aggravated form of Unbelief, and is also the Worst Sin. This sin does not injure our neighbour, and thus, rightly ordered laws punish Murder more severely, but that is because of the harm it does to neighbour, not because it is the worst sin. (ST II-II Q 13 A 3)

Unbelief is opposed to Faith. The other theological virtues are likewise comparable in their gravity, and can be considered worse or more dangerous depending on how they are approached. A sin's gravity depends on what it is opposing: the greater the good opposed, the greater the sin.

Therefore, direct opposition to Charity is such a sin, and that is Hatred of God. (ST II-II Q 34 A 2) It must be noted that one cannot hate God's essence, so it is not possible to hate God as one hate's one's neighbour. But hatred of God is directed towards the effects that can be seen. (ST II-II Q 34 A 1)

Despair, which is against the virtue of Hope, is incurable and the worst sin. (ST II-II Q 20 A 3) It is more dangerous to us than Unbelief by its nature as well. Believers can Despair. ST II-II Q 20 A 2)

Thus we can see that the sins against the theological virtues are the worst sins: rejecting truth revealed by God, opposing God's goodness itself, and rejecting the possibility of sharing God's goodness are all graver than anything we can do to another person.

The Worst Sin(s), against God directly and oppose Faith, Hope, and Charity:
  • Unbelief
  • Despair
  • Hatred of God

The Sins That Cry To Heaven For Vengeance and Sins Against The Holy Ghost

There are two other types of sins, which include sins treated above, that should be considered. These are more important to understand than the comparison of individual sins.

The sins against The Holy Ghost include Despair, but they all have the nature of being incurable on their own. It is impossible to repent if one rejects God's mercy, and any sin that one retains to the end is most grave for it deprives one of one's Final End.

The sins against the Holy Ghost are six:
  • Despairing of being saved
  • Presuming on being saved without merit
  • Opposing the known truth
  • Envying another's graces
  • Obstinately remaining in sin
  • Final impenitence

These sins are specially said to be against the Holy Ghost, because they are committed through pure malice, which is contrary to goodness, the special attribute of the Holy Ghost. (Catechism of Pius X, The Vices and Other Very Grievous Sins Q 6, 7)

The sins that cry to God for vengeance are specific acts which by their nature are specifically denounced in Sacred Scripture.

The sins that are said to cry to God for vengeance are these four:
  • Willful murder
  • The sin of sodomy
  • Oppression of the poor
  • Defrauding labourers of their wages

These sins are said to cry to God for vengeance because the Holy Ghost says so, and because their iniquity is so great and so manifest that it provokes God to punish them with the severest chastisements. (Ibid., Q 8, 9)


The dangers of Mortal Sins, and even Venial Sins, are more important to understand than the relative gravity of the worst sins. The most important thing to understand is sins against nature or neighbour are not the worst sins, for sins against God principally are far worse. The danger in itself is not so that one would choose to commit any sin over another, but that in one will be in agreement with false teachings, which reject God and focus on humans and creation. It is tempting to share these humanistic ideas, and it would be good to explicitly recognize that they are wrong and that the sins the world says are the worst are far from it. The worst opposes the best, and man and creation are not the best: God is.

It is taught in the catechism that the sins which harm the least of God's creation as well are deserving of great punishment. And sins that by their nature preclude God's mercy and reject salvation are the worst that a person can ever commit, and that includes Final Impenitence. These are important to know, as they reveal the dangers of sin most clearly and how some of them might even be tempting or excused if one is not careful.