Catholic Dictionary




Slightness of matter, especially in sins of unchastity. According to the teaching of the Church, "in venereal pleasures, there is no slightness of matter" (Alexander VII, Response of the Holy Office, 1661). This means that the sin of lust is grave by its very nature, provided full consent is given, even though full sexual satisfaction was not obtained. In pastoral practice, however, when one checks oneself in the process of sinful sexual arousal, the presumption is that there had not been full; consent from the beginning.