so i'm part of this Facebook group called "We are not Crazy, We're just Catholic" and there is this thread that discusses purgatory in a way that is so clear it's full of 'aha' moments. But most profound was a post by Andy Simms which i just had to quote... the thread had somehow lead to explaining the meaning of mortal and venial sin...
from andy " As I understand them, Mortal sins are any sins that take glory or power from God and transfer them to those to whom it does not belong. For instance, murder is a mortal sin. The authority to determine the life cycle of a human being belongs to God alone, but when we end the life of another with intent to do so we are taking that authority upon ourselves. To worship another god is a mortal sin. It is transferring glory and honour due to God alone to another. Contraception is a mortal sin. It places the choice of when life is created on the person rather than on God. Mortal sins are sins against God Himself.
Venial sins, however, are not as damaging to the soul as mortal sins, but an abundance of venial sins could amount to a mortal sin. In this case, willful and repeated refusal to follow the commandments of God, even though these are minor in nature, adds up to a denial of the supremacy of God. Back to venial sins, though. Venial sins are those that violate the spirit of the laws of God but do not replace the authority, glory or power of God. For instance, lying about how much money is in my wallet when my wife asks me is a venial sin. Intent is very key in determining severity of sin. If I tell a lie with the intent of keeping money to myself, it is a venial sin. If I tell a lie that ultimately leads to the expected result of death to another, for instance false testimony in a capital murder trial or telling a drug dealer that someone else stole the drugs, that would likely be a mortal sin.
It all sounds very legal, but the best answer I can give you is that mortal sins are direct affronts to God and venial sins are affronts to fellow men or indirect affronts to God.
Mortal sin speaks to death to the soul, not death to the body."
That just jumped out to me, mortal sin speaks death to the soul... if i don't hear that then i'm doomed. makes me want to go to confession like now! not that i have any mortal sins that need confessing but the more often i go to confession the more grace i have to not commit the same sins over and over again... i am so going to try and memorise most of andy's post to make sure more people know and that i never forget... a mantra of sorts... 'do not commit mortal sins, for mortal sin speaks death to the soul....' hell is real y'all!