Catholics/Unpardonable sin


What is the Catholic church's teaching on the unpardonable sin or sin against the Holy Ghost?

The unpardonable Sin is Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.  The reference to this Sin is found in:

Mark 3:29 "But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit is guilty of eternal Sin.  He will never be forgiven."  

Matthew 12:31-32 "And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come."

Luke 12:10 "And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven."

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus drove out demons and was accused by the teachers of the law of using the power of Satan to drive out Satan.  With the context of the Gospel of Mark, it would seem that Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit means attributing the power of evil to the power of good.  In other words knowing full well that the work of God is taking place, and being so obstinate in one's pride that one calls the work of God the work of the devil.  In this case one has so much contempt for the power of good, and God's holiness that one recognizes it as the work of the devil.

In the Gospel of Matthew, the context seems similar to Mark: The religious leaders attribute evil to the working of good accusing Jesus of driving out Satan by the power of Satan

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus talks about Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit after he tells his disciples that if they do not publicly acknowledge Jesus before others, Jesus will not acknowledge them before his Father.  This would seem to indicate that here, Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is akin to apostasy--that is---defection from the Church.

I think the unifying theme of all of this is that Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit means resisting the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the means by which God works to save us through Christ the Son.  To resist the Holy Spirit is to stay stuck in our sin, and a state of alienation from God.  If we die in this state we cannot be forgiven, for one cannot go to Heaven in a state of alienation from God.  In short, Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is a refusal on the part of the sinner to repent and believe the Gospel even when directly convicted by the Holy Spirit and warned of the need to do so.

If one is worried that they may have committed the Sin against the Spirit, they have not---for one who has Blasphemed the Holy Spirit would NOT be worried about having done so.  


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Father Dave Bechtel


I am a Catholic priest in good standing and in active ministry in the Diocese of Scranton PA. I can answer most any question about the Catholic Faith, however my area of specialization is Systematic Theology. Systematic Theology is a branch of theology that focuses on the fundamental tenants of the Faith and the Dogmas of the Faith. I have specialization on the Reformation and Catholic vs. Protestant theology/issues and answering Protestant challenges to the Faith.


I was ordained in June of 2008. Since that time the thrust of my ministry has been specialized. In my first assignment I was an assistant pastor. A year later I was sent to work in education. I spent six (6) years in education and have now assumed my first pastorate. While education was the thrust of my ministry, nevertheless I continued to have a hand in parish ministry, hospital chaplaincy and prison chaplaincy. Now that I am out of education I will obviously be focusing more on parish work than specialized ministry. I have two years of formal Clinical Pastoral Education and prior to ordination I successfully pursued Board Certification for health care ministry through the NACC. My certification needs to be renewed and I plan to seek dual certification in health care ministry (NACC and APC) when I renew my certification. I have a breadth of experience working with Protestant ministers and collaborating with them to achieve the goals of hospital pastoral care and chaplaincy. These ministers run the spectrum from the liberal to the conservative.

Bachelors of Science-- University of Scranton PA Masters of Arts Theology--- Saint Mary's Seminary and University Baltimore MD Masters of Divinity--- Saint Charles Borremeo Seminary Philadelphia PA Board Certified Chaplain (up for renewal)

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