Mortal Sin

Question from Mystical Rose on 2/24/2008:  
Hi, Father Levis!

A few weeks ago, I caught one of Fr. Corapi's talks about the Catechism, specifically how to make a good examination of conscience using the Ten Commandments. In a nutshell, he mentioned that because we now know how smoking cigarettes is so very detrimental to the health of our bodies, that it is considered a mortal sin. At the time I saw this, I had already quit, but only just a few days before seeing Fr. Corapi's talk on EWTN. I immediately thought, "I can't wait to get to confession", as I had been smoking since I was 18 yrs. old (I'm 48 now).

I went to confession and discussed what I had heard Fr. Corapi say, and was told by my confessor that smoking being a mortal sin was only Fr. Corapi's opinion.

I am confused. Although I am no longer smoking (going on just 3 weeks -- but striving to make it for the rest of my earthly life!), I am concerned about friends and family members who continue to smoke.

If you were to hear this in the confessional, what would your reponse be?

Thank you for listening, Father!

I say this very respectfully ... I love you, Father Levis!
Answer by Fr. Robert J. Levis on 2/25/2008: 
Rose, Individual priests make their own personal judgments on certain matters, e.g. smoking. No, it is almost universal, folks start the habit for many reasons (many of them good), they get caught up in it; no, I have never considered it a serious sin,a mortal sin. God knows no one should smoke, it is a fault, a venial sin at most. Actually years ago I started to smoke a pipe mainly to put smokers who come for counselling at ease. Nice way to relax them, "George, do you have a match?" I quit when I burnt enough tiny holes in my black coat and cassock. Fr. Bob Levis

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