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The last push, that got me to revert to the Catholic Faith, was this video, particularly 58:50 of this video:

So the Fathers and Doctors of the Church commenting on Wisdom 11:21, say that just as God determined the numbers days one will live, so to has he determined the number sins He will commit. The best example of this is St. Alphonsus de Liguori's sermon here: http://www.olrl.org/snt_docs/num_sins.shtml

But is it true? Is there a limit to the number mortal sins one can commit? I've heard many people say that Saint Alphonsus is referring to impenitent sinners here. And we can easily find quotes referring to God's infinite mercy. But something about the arguments against this seem, off. Is this teaching just referring to impenitent sinners? Or is there really a limit to how many mortal sins one can commit?
(06-17-2017, 02:24 PM)MaryLover Wrote: [ -> ]The last push, that got me to revert to the Catholic Faith, was this video, particularly 58:50 of this video:

So the Fathers and Doctors of the Church commenting on Wisdom 11:21, say that just as God determined the numbers days one will live, so to has he determined the number sins He will commit. The best example of this is St. Alphonsus de Liguori's sermon here: http://www.olrl.org/snt_docs/num_sins.shtml

But is it true? Is there a limit to the number mortal sins one can commit? I've heard many people say that Saint Alphonsus is referring to impenitent sinners here. And we can easily find quotes referring to God's infinite mercy. But something about the arguments against this seem, off. Is this teaching just referring to impenitent sinners? Or is there really a limit to how many mortal sins one can commit?

Generally speaking, I think speculation like this is not helpful and can lead to needless anxiety. That said, I think there are two ways in which the number of mortal sins may clearly be limited:

(1) The number of "allowed" mortal sins is simply governed by the number of days you live on earth; God knows that day, and so he knows the number of sins you will commit. As long as you carry on in this life, God will forgive you as often as you are truly contrite.

(2) The more we commit sins, especially serious sins, the more we damage our own consciences and close ourselves to God's grace. A person's conscience can effectively become dead in certain respects, and he no longer seeks forgiveness.

These seem noncontroversial to me. I don't think it's in accord with God's goodness to say that he in any way directly fixes a number of sins someone may commit.
(06-17-2017, 02:24 PM)MaryLover Wrote: [ -> ]But is it true? Is there a limit to the number mortal sins one can commit? I've heard many people say that Saint Alphonsus is referring to impenitent sinners here. And we can easily find quotes referring to God's infinite mercy. But something about the arguments against this seem, off. Is this teaching just referring to impenitent sinners? Or is there really a limit to how many mortal sins one can commit?

I was skeptical, until I read the Sermon of Saint Alphonse de Ligouri.  It puts it into perspective and I think is a must read.

Courtesy to CAF for helping me find this:  http://www.catholicapologetics.info/mora...number.htm


God limits the number of sins He will pardon, because when you die, you cannot be pardon anymore.
I think it's irrelevant to even worry about since it's a number that none of us can ever know. The main takeaway (that many of us fail to heed at all times) is that your life could come to an end at any moment. You are guaranteed forgiveness if you repent in the Sacrament of Confession, but you are not guaranteed that you'll even get to give that confession. Any mortal sin leads to hell, would you risk your soul based on the presumption that tomorrow you'll go to confession? Or even an hour from now you'll go to confession? You could commit that sin and then die 5 minutes later.
(06-17-2017, 04:09 PM)aquinas138 Wrote: [ -> ]
(06-17-2017, 02:24 PM)MaryLover Wrote: [ -> ]The last push, that got me to revert to the Catholic Faith, was this video, particularly 58:50 of this video:

So the Fathers and Doctors of the Church commenting on Wisdom 11:21, say that just as God determined the numbers days one will live, so to has he determined the number sins He will commit. The best example of this is St. Alphonsus de Liguori's sermon here: http://www.olrl.org/snt_docs/num_sins.shtml

But is it true? Is there a limit to the number mortal sins one can commit? I've heard many people say that Saint Alphonsus is referring to impenitent sinners here. And we can easily find quotes referring to God's infinite mercy. But something about the arguments against this seem, off. Is this teaching just referring to impenitent sinners? Or is there really a limit to how many mortal sins one can commit?

Generally speaking, I think speculation like this is not helpful and can lead to needless anxiety. That said, I think there are two ways in which the number of mortal sins may clearly be limited:

(1) The number of "allowed" mortal sins is simply governed by the number of days you live on earth; God knows that day, and so he knows the number of sins you will commit. As long as you carry on in this life, God will forgive you as often as you are truly contrite.

(2) The more we commit sins, especially serious sins, the more we damage our own consciences and close ourselves to God's grace. A person's conscience can effectively become dead in certain respects, and he no longer seeks forgiveness.

These seem noncontroversial to me. I don't think it's in accord with God's goodness to say that he in any way directly fixes a number of sins someone may commit.

Okay, I think I understand it better, so it's important say that there is a number of sins beyond which God pardons no more, but not that there is a limit to the number of mortal sins one can commit. Limit to the number of sins God pardons, is due to the above (I was aware of the two ways in which one falls into this) and not because God Himself does this directly.

Does that seem right? Am I getting it?
Also don't worry about me being scrupulous about this. I'm much better now, than I was then.
To me the easiest is to say that after a certain amount of sins, God intervenes and exacts judgement/punishment. That can either be a chastisement (which still allows for repentance) or even death (no further chances are given).
(06-17-2017, 09:35 PM)GangGreen Wrote: [ -> ]To me the easiest is to say that after a certain amount of sins, God intervenes and exacts judgement/punishment. That can either be a chastisement (which still allows for repentance) or even death (no further chances are given).

Okay, I think that works, but I think I would also add the part about the effect of sin undermining you ability to repent. A lot of people now days (this is largely due to Protestantism) think that sins don't really have an effect on you, and that once you repent, it's all over and you don't have to worry about them. But sins do have a serious effect on you, even if you  repent from them.
I second aquinas138' thoughts and think it is a very problematic statement to make.

There is actually a "de fide" dogma that states: "God's mercy is infinite." The statement by St. Alphonse seems to limit God's mercy, which would be heresy.

Not anything stated by any saint should be taken at face value, as they sometimes even contradict each other. There have been several saints who received private revelations by Our Lord, in which he told them that nothing angers him more than servants of the Church who claim that his mercy – or his pardon - has limits. (I read something like this in St. Faustina's and St. Margaret Mary's writings, if I remember correctly)

If we consider Our Lord's biblical statements about the topic, there indeed seems to be such a thing as unpardonable sin ("But whoever sins against the Holy Spirit, will not be forgiven"), which the Christian tradition has identified as unrepentance. If you don't accept God's mercy, you can't receive it. But the limit is in us, not in him. But he also demands us to forgive an unlimited number of sins to our neighbour ("seventy times seven!" and we can be pretty sure that our mercy never will exceed His.

But there is some truth to the fact that God limits the number of sins we can make. After the fall, to avoid the spreading of sin, He first limited the lifespan of human beings to about thousand years, and when we behaved even worse, to about 120 years. It's also interesting to see how some of the evillest dictators in history died relatively young, when they were at their worst (Lenin, Stalin, Mao).
(06-17-2017, 09:59 PM)MaryLover Wrote: [ -> ]
(06-17-2017, 09:35 PM)GangGreen Wrote: [ -> ]To me the easiest is to say that after a certain amount of sins, God intervenes and exacts judgement/punishment. That can either be a chastisement (which still allows for repentance) or even death (no further chances are given).

Okay, I think that works, but I think I would also add the part about the effect of sin undermining you ability to repent. A lot of people now days (this is largely due to Protestantism) think that sins don't really have an effect on you, and that once you repent, it's all over and you don't have to worry about them. But sins do have a serious effect on you, even if you  repent from them.
I think one would need to look at it as the more someone falls into sin, the more they become under the grasp of Satan and eventually will continually fall into more and more sin. It's like a snowball effect. To add to that, people who fall into this will still say "I will sin today and repent tomorrow." However, we know that God will not be mocked. God will not accept these rampant abuses of His Mercy.

On top of that even once a sin is absolved in Confession, it still carries a temporal punishment that can only be removed through penance or in Purgatory.
(06-17-2017, 09:35 PM)GangGreen Wrote: [ -> ]To me the easiest is to say that after a certain amount of sins, God intervenes and exacts judgement/punishment. That can either be a chastisement (which still allows for repentance) or even death (no further chances are given).

You just have to be careful that this sentiment is understood correctly ...

It is much like the Sin against the Holy Ghost which is "unpardonable". At face value it seems there is a sin God refuses to pardon, but that's not precisely true. This sin against the Holy Ghost is the sin of final impenitence — to die without repenting of one's sins. Because one is dead and it is only in this life that there is a chance for repentance, this sin is "unforgivable". At death one's will is fixed upon whatever "good" he has pursued. If it is the true good, he will have God. If it is the true Good with some attachment to other things in a disordered way, it will be purgatory which will purge these disordered attachments. If it is a false good, it will be the loss of the true Good.

Understood that way, God has determined exactly how long each of us will live, has given sufficient grace to everyone to turn to Him, even to the very last moment of life, repent and embrace His Mercy and thus be saved. Because that time is limited and thus our number of sins limited, there is a "fixed" number.

Still when we gravely sin, God does not owe us the grace necessary to repent. Yet he does give it, and still allow us to refuse it.

The false idea to avoid is that once you've hit your 1,237 predetermined mortal sins, God will never offer the grace to repent and while he will let you live many years more, his Mercy stops at that number for you.

That's essentially Calvinism thinly-coated with a few Catholic notions.
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