Why is “The denial of sin… worse than sin”? (Archbishop Fulton Sheen)

“Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that
leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat.” (Mt. 7:13). This is traditional Christian teaching, which has been held by many saints, and the Church, since the time of Christ. We must not water down Jesus’ words.

Now, I do not presume to know how many are saved, but if you reject these words, I ask you to read this article. If you accept them, you might also like to reflect on why it would be uncharitable to deny the reality of God’s justice. If you fear God’s justice, read this: https://littlestsouls.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/50-counsels-to-ease-our-worries-and-bring-us-joy/

 Following Reginald Garrigou Lagrange, the eminent theologian, I believe that the way of love is preferable to the way of fear. Nonetheless, Hell is as real as sin.


According to Sacred Scripture, only the pure and humble of heart will see God. This means that we must acknowledge our sin, repent of it, and then make amends. As St. John Vianney says, “To be a Christian and to live in sin is a monstrous contradiction. A Christian must be holy.” If we deny or diminish sin, we inevitably grow cold and blind; we wound the tender Heart of Our Lord; we lead souls away from God and His Sacraments. 

St. Padre Pio encouraged weekly Confession as a minimum. St. Ambrose went to Confession daily. St. John Vianney heard confessions for up to 16 hours a day. Bl. Francis Xavier Seelos encouraged all to confess their sins. St. Pius X encouraged frequent Communion with an ardent zeal!

… How often do we receive the Sacraments, which are the securest means of persevering in grace? How ignorant we are of God’s goodness, and our need for His constant help! But we can change this! Start by thanking God daily for the Mass, in which He offers Himself to God the Father for our salvation. We need His help every day (“Thou canst do nothing of thyself; one thing only canst thou do, offend Me…” – Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata).  He deserves our gratitude every day! We should strive to avoid sin every day!

Now… back to Fulton Sheen’s quote. Why is it worse to deny sin than to sin? Because by denying sin, we deny our need for forgiveness; we remain blind and deaf to the inspirations of God, which seek to change us and then change the world! If we are blind to sin, we will go on offending Our Lord, growing in unhappiness, and provoking God’s just anger. For the same reason, the denial of Hell is worse than Hell. Hell is merely a just state of misery for those who have refused to love, whereas the denial of Hell is most unjust! Sinners must be admonished, instructed and warned. We must pray for them!

“My Heart overflows with great mercy for souls and especially for poor sinners… The prayer most pleasing to Me is prayer for the conversion of sinners. Know, My daughter, that this prayer is always heard and answered.”

– Jesus to St. Faustina

God reluctantly punishes unrepentant sinners (whose punishments are far less than they deserve, according to St. Catherine of Siena, St. Catherine of Genoa, Fr. Faber. St. John Eudes etc.). “This is My torment”, said Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary.

Whether or not you are scrupulous, if you fear God’s justice, the remedy is not denial; it is faith (which coexists with humility)! It is enough to know that God desires our salvation, that His mercy is inexhaustible, that we can each become saints, and that prayer is extremely powerful for the conversion of sinners! Remember, dear reader, that God is the source of all goodness, and His ways are perfect, though incomprehensible, ” … for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride” (Dn 4:37).

 I end with a poignant quote from St. Faustina:

Love casts out fear. Since I came to love God with my whole being and with all the
strength of my heart, fear has left me. Even if I were to hear the most terrifying things about God’s justice, I would not fear Him at all, because I have come to know Him well. God is love, and His Spirit is peace. I see now that my deeds which have flowed from love are more perfect than those which I have done out of fear. I have placed my trust in God and fear nothing. I have given myself over to His holy will; let Him do with me as He wishes, and I will still love Him.”

– St. Faustina, Diary, 589