According to Catholic Teaching, what is sinning against the Holy Spirit and why is this unpardonable? [cf. Matt 12:31-32 (RSVCE)]

What are the the sins that are considered sinning against the Holy Spirit?

The desirable answer will be the one that draws from the Church's patrimony e.g. from Church Fathers, Saints & Doctors, and Papal Magisterium.

  • Would not a more precise question ask what "blasphemy" against Him would be? The NT lists quenching, grieving, and blasphemy against, which some consider all to be different. "Sinning against" isnt exactly the Biblical text. Or, is this particularly Catholic language?
    – user16825
    Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 19:36
  • @BenjaminHoogterp Particularly Catholic language. The other question has already been asked.
    – user13992
    Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 19:55
  • @FMS. I must have misunderstood this verse. It used to be clear to me - whoever says something against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. Now it seems that is not the sin. So what I thought, Jesus actually saying, that all sins can be forgiven, because it is impossible to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit, turns out to be not true. Or am I correct? Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 18:45
  • @gideonmarx Please see selected answer below. Does the quote from CCC 1864 answer your comment?
    – user13992
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 18:48
  • Thank God for Jesus. so as last am enlightened that the sin against the HOLY SPIRIT is unbelief even to the point of death. Thank God for this site, may the more ministry of Christ continue to grow
    – user22905
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 18:03

1 Answer 1


"Augustine says . . .

(Enchiridion lxxxiii) that 'he who dies in a state of obstinacy is guilty of the sin against the Holy Ghost,' and (De Verb. Dom., Serm. lxxi) that 'impenitence is a sin against the Holy Ghost,' and (De Serm. Dom. in Monte xxii), that 'to resist fraternal goodness with the brands of envy is to sin against the Holy Ghost,' and in his book De unico Baptismo (De Bap. contra Donat. vi, 35) he says that 'a man who spurns the truth, is either envious of his brethren to whom the truth is revealed, or ungrateful to God, by Whose inspiration the Church is taught,' and therefore, seemingly, sins against the Holy Ghost" (ST 2b:14:2, Sed Contra).

Pope John Paul II writes:

"Against the background of what has been said so far, certain other words of Jesus, shocking and disturbing ones, become easier to understand. . . . They are reported for us by the Synoptics in connection with a particular sin which is called 'blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.' . . . Why is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit unforgivable? How should this blasphemy be understood? Saint Thomas Aquinas replies that it is a question of a sin that is 'unforgivable by its very nature, insofar as it excludes the elements through which the forgiveness of sin takes place' (ST 2b:14:3). According to such an exegesis, 'blasphemy' does not properly consist in offending against the Holy Spirit in words; it consists rather in the refusal to accept the salvation which God offers to man through the Holy Spirit, working through the power of the Cross. If man rejects the 'convincing concerning sin' which comes from the Holy Spirit and which has the power to save, he also rejects the 'coming' of the Counsellor . . . If Jesus says that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven either in this life or in the next, it is because this 'non-forgiveness' is linked, as to its cause, to 'non-repentance', in other words to the radical refusal to be converted. . . . Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, then, is the sin committed by the person who claims to have a 'right' to persist in evil—in any sin at all . . . [T]he Church constantly implores with the greatest fervor that there will be no increase in the world of the sin that the Gospel calls 'blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.' Rather, she prays that it will decrease in human souls" (Encyclical Letter Dominum et Vivificantem ["The Lord and Giver of Life"] 46-47).

You can read more on this subject here: THE UNFORGIVABLE SIN, James Akin | EWTN.


The sins that appear here are:

  1. Obstinacy in sin.
  2. Final impenitence.
  3. Rejecting salvation.
  4. Envy at another's spiritual good.

cf. CCC 1864 "Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven." There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit. Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss.

cf. PENNY CATECHISM 326 Which are the six sins against the Holy Spirit?

The six sins against the Holy Spirit are:

  1. Presumption
  2. Despair
  3. Resisting the known truth
  4. Envy of another's spiritual good
  5. Obstinacy in sin
  6. Final impenitence

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