On the other hand the doctrine of sin of the Reformers was based on the fact that sin is unbelief. Against this the Catholic church says: No, sin is neither unbelief not separation from God. Sin is acts against the law of God. This means the religious understanding of sin was covered, by the Council of Trent. And this of course, again, is a fundamental difference. From this point on, sin was understood in Roman churches as special sins, which can be forgiven in the act of confession and absolution, and most Catholics go and tell the priest some sins which they can remember – they try hard to remember them; sometimes to forget them – in any case, if they have confessed these sins, they are liberated from them, and this again contributes to the general mood, in originally Catholic countries, namely a much fuller affirmation of the vital element of life; while in Protestantism, sin is separation from God and “sins” are only secondary. Therefore something fundamental must happen. A complete conversion and transforming of being and reunion with God is necessary. This gives a much deeper burden to every Protestant than any Catholic. But on the other hand, the Catholic of course is in principle legalistic and divides sin into “sins.” And if Protestants do this, as they sometimes do, they follow the Catholic and not the Reformation line of thought.
Paul Tillich, A History Of Christian Thought – Table of Contents