Wikipedia Errors on Venial Sin
A series of articles on Wikipedia errors on Catholicism
by Ronald L. Conte Jr.

[Wikipedia Errors:   Papal Infallibility | Immaculate Conception | Original Sin | Venial Sin | Mortal Sin | Sanctifying Grace | Roman Catholic Dogma]

Venial Sin
(June 28, 2009)

This article on an important topic in Catholicism is very short, and has a warning notice (often found on Wikipedia articles) that it "does not cite any references or sources." The article begins by claiming that the term venial sin means "forgivable" sin. Since mortal sins are also forgivable, this is not a correct explanation of the term.

The entire article is extremely poorly written. Under the section called 'Definition,' this paragraph appears:

Wikipedia: "Quote from Mr Thomas RE teacher - Venial sin is not as bad as mortal sin because you do not know sometimes what you are doing and why. You follow your heart and not your head. Your vision is clouded by other judgements and so the more reasonable comments just get pushed to the back of your mind and you do not think of them until you have done it or are getting told of for what you did."

Apparently, this 'Mr Thomas RE teacher' is a religious education (RE) teacher, who is being quoted or more likely paraphrased on his explanation of original sin. The quoted or paraphrased text from Mr Thomas is a very informal colloquial explanation of venial sin, not fit for an encyclopedia article.

The article goes on to mention "de Morgan's theorem" of formal logic, as a way of relating venial sin to mortal sin, apparently.

Some portions of the article contain some correct assertions on venial sin, but these are presented in a very colloquial manner, without specific citations, and are phrased in a way that is inaccurate and likely to be misunderstood.

The article cites 1 John 5:16-17 and states that the verse does not refer to the difference between mortal and venial sin. Then the article cites the Catholic Encyclopedia article on Sin, which explicitly cites that verse as referring to the difference between mortal and venial sin.

The article is so short that there is little else that can be said about it.

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