EWTN Catholic Q&A
Basic inclinations vs. one act
Question from Dondi Sanchez on 05-13-2001:

The priests, sisters and deacons in my parish all teach that rather then judge yourself on one act, whether a particular action is sinful or not, one should look at his or her entire life before God. If one has a basic inclination towards good there is no chance he is in the state of mortal sin. If however one has a basic inclination towards evil, then it is very likely that a person may be in the state of mortal sin. When I said that I would ask about this on the Ewtn website they said, "don't waste your time with them, they are a bunch of fundementalist wacos that only follow the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law. What can one say about these things?

Answer by Fr.Stephen F. Torraco on 05-13-2001:

Pope John Paul II's encyclical, "Veritatis Splendor," (The Splendor of Truth), makes abundantly clear the fact that a human person, endowed with intellect and free will, is capable of committing an act that definitively rejects God. The message that the priests, deacons, and sisters of your parish are delivering to you is a reference to the notion of "fundamental option" that is erroneous, as explained by the Holy Father's encyclical.