Fr. Tim Finigan at the Hermeneutic of Continuity has a fantastic post on mortal sin. Yes, in case you hadn’t heard, it still exists. Oh, Hell too…sorry.
In the piece Father hit the nail on the head when discussing the institutionalized excuses we have conjured to free ourselves from mortal sin:
In response to the preaching of St Alphonsus (and other great saints – choose your favourite), people changed their lives radically by using the means of grace. Thousands of people were converted from their indifference, the clergy were reformed and whole districts became fervent in the practice of the faith. Today we have given in to an institutional despair. Nobody can free themselves from a bad habit, nobody can follow a rule of life, nobody can fast or do penance – that kind of holiness is for the old days and you can’t go turning the clock back. (Oh no, specially not that!)
Let anyone suggest it and a thousand stories from the bad old days will be conjured up to haunt you. My great auntie had a headache on the way to Mass because of the midnight fast; Father Smith told my granddad off in confession; the mission priest said that one minute in hell was worse than a million years in prison; fish on Friday meant you had Dover Sole at posh banquets …