A Threefold Malice

Cardinal Manning explains that there is a threefold malice in every actual sin committed:

“First, there is a malice against God the Father, who made man to His image and likeness, that He might be the object of his love; that he might love Him, know Him, serve Him, worship Him, be conformed to Him, and dwell with Him in eternity. The Christian who sins against God sins against his Creator, and worships the creature more than the Creator; that is to say, worships the world, his pleasures, himself. Self-worship he puts in the place of the worship of God, and in that he does an infinite offence—infinite, though he be finite—because the Person against whom that offence is committed is an infinite God.”

“Secondly, there is a malice against our Lord Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of’ the world. The Apostle says every sinner is ‘an enemy of the Cross of Christ.’ . . . And why? Because Jesus Christ suffered on the Cross for those very sins which such men commit. The sinner nails Him on the Cross once more. The nails and the hammer were but the material instruments of crucifixion; the moral cause of the crucifixion of the Son of God was the sin which you and I have committed; and if we commit such sins again, we deliberately renew the causes which nailed Him on the Cross.”

“Thirdly, there is a malice against the Holy Ghost. Every sin that is committed is committed against the light and grace of the Holy Spirit in the conscience.”

Christ said: “Every sin and every blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men, except the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost” (Mt 12:31). Cardinal Manning explains: “A man may speak against Jesus Christ, ay, blaspheme his Lord, and the Holy Spirit, convincing him of sin, may bring him to repentance, may convert him to God, and his soul may be saved; but any man who blasphemes the Holy Ghost—Who is the Spirit of Penance, the Spirit of Absolution, the Absolver of the penitent—rejects the whole dispensation of grace; and therefore the sin that shall never be forgiven is the sin of impenitence. Every sin that men repent of shall be forgiven; but the sin that is not repented of shall never be forgiven, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.”

Quotations from Henry Edward Manning, Sin and Its Consequences, 2d ed. (London: Burns and Oates, 1874).

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