Pope Francis: “The least serious sins are the sins of the flesh”

Pope Francis: The Path of Change in Politics and Society

Pope Francis has said that sins of the flesh – that is, sins of lust or impurity – are “the least serious” of all sins.  The controversial statement can be found in Chapter 5 of the book entitled “Pope Francis, the Path of Change in Politics and Society: A Future of Faith”. The book, released last August 2018, contains an interview of Pope Francis by the French sociologist and acknowledged agnostic, Dominique Wolton. 

Below is the relevant excerpt from Chapter 5 (page 173-174) showing the full context of his remarks:


DOMINIQUE WOLTON: The paradox is that the Catholic Church condemns capitalism, money, inequalities, but those criticisms go rather unheard. On the other hand, on morals, it knows how to make its critiques and condemnations heard …

POPE FRANCIS: The least serious sins are the sins of the flesh.

DOMINIQUE WOLTON: All right, but that needs to be said more forcefully, because the message isn’t getting across.

POPE FRANCIS: The sins of the flesh are not necessarily (always) the gravest. Because the flesh is weak. The most dangerous sins are those of the mind. I have talked about angelism: pride and vanity are sins of angelism. I understood your question. The Church is the Church. Priests have been tempted — not all of them, but many of them — to focus on the sins of sexuality. That’s what I’ve already talked to you about: what I call “below-the-waist” morality. The more serious sins are elsewhere.

DOMINIQUE WOLTON: What you say is not being heard.

POPE FRANCIS: No, but there are good priests … I know a cardinal here who is a good example. He admitted to me, talking about these subjects, that when people come to see him to talk to him about these below-the-belt sins, he says, straight away, “I’ve got it; let’s talk about something else.” He stops them, as if to say, “I’ve understood, but let’s see if you have something more important.” “I don’t know.” “But do you pray? Do you seek the Lord? Do you read the Gospel?”

He makes them understand that there are more important failings. Yes, it is a sin, but … he lets them know, “I’ve understood,” then moves on to something else.

Conversely, some priests, when they receive confession of a sin of this kind, ask, “How did you do it, and when did you do it, and for how long?…” And they have a “film” playing in their head. But those priests need a psychiatrist.

DOMINIQUE WOLTON: That’s true, there are much more serious “sins” than the sins of the flesh, but what you say is not in the cultural tradition…


Sacred Scripture is clear that unrepented sins of impurity make the sinner worthy of eternal punishment. St. Paul wrote to the Hebrews: “Let Marriage be honourable in all, and the bed undefiled. For fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb 13:4). St. Jude wrote in his epistle: “As Sodom and Gomorrha, and the neighbouring cities, in like manner, having given themselves to fornication, and going after other flesh, were made an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire” (Jude 7). And St. Paul warned the Corinthians: “Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God” (1 Cor 6:9-10). Examples could be multiplied exponentially, but this is not necessary.

St. Alphonsus Liguori, doctor of the Church, wrote:

My brother, do not say, as many do, that sins against chastity are light sins, and that God bears with them.

What! Do you say that is a light sin? But it is a mortal sin: and if it is a mortal sin, one act of it, though it be only the consent to a wicked thought, is sufficient to send you to hell. No fornicator … hath inheritance in the kingdom of Jesus Christ and of God [Eph 5:5]. Is it a light sin? Even the pagans held impurity to be the worst of vices on account of the miserable effects that it produces. Seneca says: “Immodesty is the greatest evil of the world;” and Cicero writes: “There is no plague so fatal as bodily pleasure;” and (to come to the saints) St. Isidore says: “Run through all sins, you will find none equal to this crime.”

Finally, it will be helpful to remember what Sister Lucia of Fatima said regarding sins of the flesh, as relayed to her by Our Lady: “The sins which cause most souls to go to hell are the sins of the flesh.”

By Paul Simeon, Veritas


  1. isn’t it strange that the least serious sins are sending the most people to hell and if father in confession tells you the pope says they arent serious sins you wont even be able to get forgiveness if you go to confession

  2. And in The Poem of the Man God, by Maria Valtorta, Jesus says that the reason St John was able to “cast off his demon”, follow Jesus up Calvary and remain at the foot of the Cross was because of his holy purity.

  3. It is time to call berglio, what he really is…… An apostate pope. He is leading
    souls to hell. Anyone is capable of committing sins of the flesh, but when we
    refuse to recognize them as such, then it becomes lewdness. Brgolio as he is
    now, is an absolute swine. He has no shame, because he has no faith nor
    fear of god. His name should not even mentioned in holy mass. If we do not
    stand up against him, then we make ourselves accomplisses to his bottomless evil. He is conciously offending god.

  4. In the sin of the flesh, you are pulling at least one other person into your
    inmorallity we dare never lose sight of that fact

  5. Francis absolutely does conduct his pontificate as though sins of the flesh are of less importance, despite the fact that sexual immorality has for decades been destroying the family, by far the most effective incubator of the faith. It’s no wonder that he coddled homosexual Ted McCarrick, he replaced the head of the JPII Institute on Marriage and the Family with demonstrated homosexualist Cdl. Paglia, he has given purchase to the receipt of Holy Communion by unrepentant adulterers in Amoris Laetitia, etc., etc.

    Whose side are you on, anyway, Francis?!!

  6. Sins of the flesh are the number one sin people go to hell for, and the people in the United States just want to do as they please and live in Mortal sin.

  7. I can say Pope Francis needs to study FATIMA !! He should never say that nor encourage any priest to say that to his FLOCK ! Pray for him in Adoration weekly for Our Lady to show him HELL and why so many are there.

  8. Why do we always want to give a blurred picture of Pope Francis? Why don’t we try to understand in which context he is talking? What Pope Francis is emphasizing is that though the sins of the flesh are grave sins there are other sins that seem to be latent and are still ruining humanity. Let us as Catholics understand the full picture and not try to distort facts to satisfy our personal agenda.

    1. All sins are serious and cause much harm to humanity. Look at greed, anger, the desire for power and control, and yes lust, all are serious. What the pope is saying we need to look at all of the sins, repent of them.

      I do think he understands that the sins of impurity are grave sins, and that they can destroy the will or the desire to be chaste and to treat others human beings with the love and respect that they deserve. In the end, all grave sins are a sin against one’s neighbor in some fashion.

    2. When the “pope” makes a statement in direct opposition of what Our Blessed Lady says; and when his statement leads people to Hell – I suggest you stop excusing the monster and face the truth. He has a long history of heresy, apostasy and anti-Catholic sentiments back in Argentina!

    3. Here is the big picture. You are following the Vicar of Lucifer on Earth down the broad road to the wide gates of Hell

  9. He contradicts both scripture and Our Lady of Fatima. How can he minimize sodomy, lust, self-love etc. This pope is truly an anti-pope.

  10. Any wonder why he got lot of Sodomite advisors around him, disregarding the warning of Jesus “Remember Lots wife” not just to Sodom but COMPLACENCY towards it.
    Things would have got worse had hillary won, apart from WW3 , her defeat was but a personal booting for this side taking Pontiff & his gang .
    Thank God for Malachy’s prophecy & the Pastor who tends to his folk in spirit., on which Francis who calls himself Pastoral , a pastor totally ignorant of spiritual truth/reality. just as a (rebellious) Protestant, to the question “What specifically CONSTITUTE the FAITH.?.

  11. There is no way to misinterpret bergolio. His evil is very clear and open.it is
    only a matter of short time, when people like gerhard muller will be expelled fromm the vatican.

  12. The Bible says that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. And the wages of sin is death.” There is no big sin and small sin. All unconfessed sin will condem us to hell.

  13. Perhaps because i am a convert, the situation in the church ia especially
    painful for me. The outlook in the church is extremely dismal for the following
    reason… As the old saying goes, the stairway you clean from the top down,
    however when the person at the top is not only a swine, and will not clean, but
    also throws additional trash down the stairs, then it looks like only our lord can
    fix the mess.

    1. You still made the right call to convert! The problem is, you came in at the tail end when “the feces is hitting the oscillating device”.
      Stick with the True Faith and if you have not done so, learn everything you can about the practice of Catholicism before the Second Vatican Council and live a sacramental life with authentic and error-less Catholic devotions. “If it was true 1500 years ago, it’s true now”. This applies to the pre -Vatican II Church of Christ.
      St Paul says the operation of error will be sent by God and if it were possible even the very elect would be deceived. But then, he gives the answer to be saved requires us to stick with Tradition. Many believe the operation of error is the non-binding, but heretical documents that came from the Consiliar Counterfeit Church which the man who is known as Pope Francis currently leads.

      “And in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying:”
      [2 Thessalonians 2:10]

      Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle. [2 Thessalonians 2-14]

  14. Since we Catholics do not seem to understand the Holy Scriptures with regard to sexual immorality,I sincerely advise us to read and meditate on the numerous messages of our Lord, Jesus Christ and our Lady,the Blessed Virgin Mother,regarding the gravity of sexual sins.We should now be properly guided by the TRUTH.

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