"The question is, do you feel sorry for doing these things or any sin? Are you repentant? Do you seek to amend your life as you state in confession with the help of God?"
I repent not only of my sins, but of ANYTHING I might say that this is displeasing to God, even if my intention was good.
But this verse raises the bar very high. Catholics CAN NOT sin. Thanks for giving me the gloss and interpreting it in the light of the Holy Spirit.
I've been thinking a lot lately about whether it is possible to reach PERFECTION. On the one hand, the Church condemned the Quietists, as you said. Augustine and Aquinas both say you can remain in a state of grace despite venial sins and this is of course the Church teaching as well. On the other Christ says, "Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect." And he tells the young man to sell everything he has and come with Him if he would be perfect.
I have this theory, and please tell me whether this is Catholic or not, that in passages like the Sermon on the Mount, Christ deliberately raises the bar almost impossibly high, knowing that we will not get there, but also knowing that in the attempt we will become GOOD ENOUGH, and worthy of being His children. The exact opposite of Vatican II where the bar is set so low that even if you clear it in a vaulting leap, it still probably won't be good enough. Is it possible that John 3:9 is another instance where Christ is raising the bar high enough to instill a salutary fear into you? If so, it worked.
You could also take it literally and say that for a true son of God no mortal or venial sin is possible. But of course Catholics do not read the Bible literally. I accept the conclusion of the Church as always even if Christ does not differentiate between mortal and venial sin here.
But what about rebellion that doesn't quite cross over into sin? What about actions or words that seem like they might be displeasing to God, but aren't technically sinful?
Sometimes I will flirt with sin without falling in, the way someone might bungee jump to get that feeling of free-fall without actually cracking his skull open. But why do anything that is displeasing to God, just because it's not technically a sin?
To give some examples of these mistakes or rebellious actions that aren't necessarily sins: I have gotten angry unjustly, but I will give it a just excuse. Like if someone is eating noisily I'll tell them they're being impolite and need to learn Catholic manners, though really I'm just feeding off my own anger because I have a strange hypersensitivity to lip-smacking. Meaning it drives me nearly insane with rage, like a bull seeing red, far beyond what is normal. I know the fault is mine, yet I still keep lashing out, although I feel I'm making superhuman efforts to get over this phobia.
More seriously, there have been times on the Internet where I will go back and take a second look at a picture that MIGHT be bad, but I'm not SURE if it is. I tell myself, "If it is bad, then it's not my fault, I was just curious." But most often in these cases I know it's not something I need to see. Not to mention that, if you're on a worldly site, you are in danger of running across these images, but I always give myself an excuse: "I'm studying the end times and the various delusions people fall into," "I'm studying witchcraft in the media."
And by white lies, I mean that sometimes I will embellish a story or change some details. For instance I will change the timeline of events that led to my Catholic conversion so that it sounds more dramatic and makes sense to the listener. Keep in mind I was a wannabe novelist/screenwriter before my conversion. Again, perhaps not easily-definable as sin, because I have the excuse that I'm trying to condense or compress the story and make it intelligible, not actually LYING. But Catholics should be perfectly truthful.
Essentially I use all kinds of clever excuses to rebel against God while pretending that I'm not rebelling against God. That is disturbing, to think that I'm returning God's great sacrifice with rebellion, however slight it may be. But thanks to the graces conferred by baptism I'm getting better at catching myself.
P.S. To the other commentators, both of whom are probably returning the favor for my mildly passive-aggressive comments of recent days, I didn't say I was incapable of mortal sin. I said "I kind of feel I am incapable of deliberate mortal sin." I was saying that it FEELS unlikely -- considering that if I did, I would be the most ungrateful wretch of all time -- while at the same time I know it can happen.