How can any of us have absolutely no doubt that Sylvia goes to confession and means it when we see absolutely no attempt on her part to avoid the occasion of sin? You can't go to confession and be all "I wish I wasn't so hot for him. I wish I could stop. I feel really guilty and bad about it." The priest would decline absolution.
The Church - and the sacrament - doesn't give a shit. It's about what you do, not how you feel. She wouldn't be absolved unless the priest understood from her that she was going to make every effort to stop the adultery from the moment she exited the confessional. Priests do/did talk back and converse/reason/query the penitent. So to get absolution, Sylvia would have to not just confess the sin, but resolve to avoid it in the future. The priest would get that promise from her before he absolved her.
And we've seen absolutely no evidence that she's trying to avoid it - it's the opposite.
Furthermore, it doesn't matter how Catholics rank different sins. It matters how the Church sees mortal sin - if one is an observant Catholic.
The religion isn't limited to ritual - they're not synonymous. And they weren't synonymous pre-Vatican II either.
Among other things, Catholic church believes in mortal sin and the most famous of these are around sex. Sex outside of marriage - pre-marital or extra-marital - are mortal sins.
The Catholic "Act of Contrition" says "I firmly resolve, with the help of thy grace, to sin no more, and to avoid the near occasion of sin."
Catholics and Christians have plenty in common - among the differences are that Catholics pray not so much TO saints but to ask saints to pray FOR them - non-Catholics think this is Christ's job.
They have different views of Mary, Jesus's mother.
They believe in the literal transfiguration of the bread and water and limit communion to Catholics in good standing.
The rituals simply observe, honor and pledge devotion to the laws and tenants of the faith. They're no end in themselves.
As to the basic laws of her faith, Sylvia couldn't be more of a hypocrite. She is actively engaging in adultery - pro-actively seeking it out. She is actively harming another person by doing so (Megan and her own husband - whatever one may believes socially, there isn't a priest on the planet pre or post Vatican II that wouldn't consider that sinful and her as responsible as Don - because marriage is a sacrament).
If Sylvia attends Mass and receives communion she is committing sacrilege by doing so in a state of mortal sin.
She's as bogus as it gets.
AS a pre-Vatican II reared Catholic, she knows the cross means absolutely nothing if she's fucking Don, lying to her husband, lying to Megan, seeking out occasions to fuck Don, and even more so if she's participating in the sacrament of communion. And if she goes to confession with no true intention of changing (just more wishing) - she's committing sacrilege there, too.
The church is very good at making sins accumulate once you tiptoe in. They accumulate because of the first sin and then all the sins committed around that sin. And there were a whole lot more - these are the LAWS - in pre-Vatican II than afterwards, especially about sex. She knows the cross is worthless due to her behavior. If she's hanging onto it it has nothing to do with being a true Catholic and she knows it. In fact, I think a priest might have something to say to her about praying for Don - such as the person you need to be praying for is yourself and your imperiled immortal soul.
In the pre-Vatican II spirit, I think Sylvia is even sinning by sinning - she's sinning by putting her immortal soul in peril by sinning. That type of circle. If she crosses the street and is hit by a bus with no time to murmer a "Forgive me" to God, or no priest gets to the scene in time to absolve her, she's going straight to hell with compound mortal sins on her soul.
She's married to a Jewish guy - I assume. Mixed marriages were possible then but not commonly sanctioned by the church. I'll have to look it up. I think the spouse had to convert (don't think Dr. Rosen did). Definitely any children had to be raised Catholic.
If she's not in a Catholic marriage - by a priest - then by pre-Vatican II I don't believe she's actually married in the eyes of the church and so therefore is fucking two guys out outside the sanctity of marriage, and she's participating in the violation of another marriage.
P.S. - I am responding to the mention that Sylvia is pre-Vatican II. And the issue is not what sin is worse in the minds of CATHOLICS, but in the eyes of the CHURCH to which Sylvia apparently pledges fidelity. The Church is very clear about mortal sins.
Edited by WaltzinSpringTm, Apr 24, 2013 @ 4:36 PM.