Religion: The Venial Kiss

Is kissing a mortal sin for the unmarried? Worried lovers may relax; it is only venial,* said Rome's clerical monthly, La Palestra del Clero, last week.

The kiss that started the discussion was confessed to his priest by a 15-year-old Italian village boy. Mortal sin, said the priest. The anguished youth went to a second confessor, who told him he had committed only a venial one. Back went the boy to the first priest, who in turn wrote to La Palestra del Clero for guidance.

There are two fundamental church documents on kissing, answered the journal's theological advisers: one by the Council of...

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