Can someone explain what a near occasion of mortal sin really is?

Some occasions are occasions of mortal sins to some and while to others, no.

So how do we know if we had just placed ourselves into a near occasion of mortal sin?

Is it based on bad habits? Would it be a near occasion of mortal sin for an alcoholic to go to a bar even though there’s a possibility if he’ll get drunk? What if he staunchly convinces himself that he will not touch a drink at all and he will follow through his word? Would this still be a mortal sin for him even though he may have placed himself into a near occasion?

Modern Catholic Dictionary:

OCCASION OF SIN. Any person, place, or thing that of its nature or because of human frailty can lead one to do wrong, thereby committing sin. If the danger is certain and probable, the occasion is proximate; if the danger is slight, the occasion becomes remote. It is voluntary if it can easily be avoided. There is no obligation to avoid a remote occasion unless there is probable danger of its becoming proximate. There is a positive obligation to avoid a voluntary proximate occasion of sin even though the occasion of evildoing is due only to human weakness.

One of the most intelligent ideas on this came from the movie “Dirty Harry”.

“A man has to know his limitations.”

This would be based upon knowledge of our previous weaknesses, or ones we know that have been the cause of bad things, and possibly still are a danger to us. But I think the intention has to be there - if you accidently end up in a place that is a cause of possible sin then you are not committing any sin but if the place ends up drawing you in further, and you feel uncomfortable, but decide not to leave or do anything about the situation, and make excuses to stick around while you deep down know you are in danger, then such a scenario as this could be seen as something along the lines of sinful.

Is it based on bad habits? Would it be a near occasion of mortal sin for an alcoholic to go to a bar even though there’s a possibility if he’ll get drunk? What if he staunchly convinces himself that he will not touch a drink at all and he will follow through his word? Would this still be a mortal sin for him even though he may have placed himself into a near occasion?

You have answered your own question when you say ‘even though there’s a possibility’. I think common sense must prevail. One who has drunk in the past might go into a bar and just have a coffee keeping fast in prayer in order that they don’t cave but might choose not to enter a fully-fledged pub, where the normal thing is to buy alcohol. It might be that there is a ‘possibility’ that one might buy alcohol even if one is past such a time in their life as being enslaved in an addiction, and if there is still a ‘possibility’, then one could say that one is putting oneself in a near occasion of sin. I think only the individual can know that or anyone else who knows of that person’s issues. If you have a friend who takes you to a pub, knowing of your issues, then it might be that they are not being a very good friend. On the other hand, it might be that the person wants to strengthen you, by showing you that you can go to a place and have a good time without getting drunk. It is not a sin to drink alcohol in itself but could be considered negligent (and possibly sinful - not sure) if one has confessed to an alcohol problem (which is a kind of idol) which has furthermore caused issues for those around, as it is akin to deciding not to do everything in one’s power to make the needed change, and one of those changes might be that for a while, a long while, maybe, one cannot return to a pub (maybe never again) - to return could be considered unloving towards one’s own health, unloving towards God - remember the ‘Act of Faith’ one makes during Confession - and unloving towards one’s neighbours, who have to put up with the awful consequences.

(re-posting another older post of mine)

Occasions of sin…

There are all sorts of remote occasions of sin in life…all sorts of possible good things that one can do --where there is a possibility that some temptation and occasion of sin may come.

Normally we are not “obliged” to avoid “remote” occasions of sin.

We simply cannot avoid all such things nor are we usually obliged to do so. We would have to knock ourselves unconscious…

What then is a “near” occasion of mortal sin that we are to avoid especially?

It is not simply temptation (though let us seek to avoid temptations).

A *near occasion of mortal sin *is such where one would generally falls into mortal sin -one generally commits a mortal sin (or even always!)–or is what is likely to cause one to commit a particular mortal sin now. Due to the nature of thing itself or ones particular personal weakness.

Though there can at times be good reasons to be in them…ones confessor can guide one or those that cannot be avoided (involuntary) (necessary occasions…which one still tries to make more remote…)

Those are general principles one can apply. Ones confessor can guide one. In specifics.

So can it be sinful to put oneself into a near occasion of mortal sin? Or remain in one? Yes. (it may be* venial sin* to do so or mortal or yes even not a sin depending on the reasons and particular danger…talk with your confessor about this…and those with scruples should not scruple about this but follow ones regular confessors direction).

A clear example of when such could be a (committed) mortal sin can be -(with full knowledge and deliberate consent) when I am morally certain that if I put myself into circumstance Y that I will commit mortal sin Z. And I do so with that needed knowledge and consent for a mortal sin.

Ones confessor can advise…

What if the “occasion of sin” is your stalker, who keeps following you, won’t leave you alone, and buys you flowers and gifts.

I would say, call the cops.

One has know thyself and really examine their past sins and the whos, whats and wheres that may have contributed to such.

**Baltimore Catechism No. 3 - Lesson 18

Q. 770. What do you mean by a firm purpose of sinning no more?**

A. By a firm purpose of sinning no more I mean a fixed resolve not only to avoid all mortal sin, but also its near occasions.

Q. 771. What do you mean by the near occasions of sin?

A. By the near occasions of sin I mean all the persons, places and things that may easily lead us into sin.

Q. 772. Why are we bound to avoid occasions of sin?

A. We are bound to avoid occasions of sin because Our Lord has said: “He who loves the danger will perish in it”; and as we are bound to avoid the loss of our souls, so we are bound to avoid the danger of their loss. The occasion is the cause of sin, and you cannot take away the evil without removing its cause.
Q. 773. Is a person who is determined to avoid the sin, but who is unwilling to give up its near occasion when it is possible to do so, rightly disposed for confession?**

A. A person who is determined to avoid the sin, but who is unwilling to give up its near occasion when it is possible to do so, is not rightly disposed for confession, and he will not be absolved if he makes known to the priest the true state of his conscience.
Q. 774. How many kinds of occasions of sin are there?**

A. There are four kinds of occasions of sin:

Near occasions, through which we always fall;
Remote occasions, through which we sometimes fall;
Voluntary occasions or those we can avoid; and
Involuntary occasions or those we cannot avoid.

A person who lives in a near and voluntary occasion of sin need not expect forgiveness while he continues in that state.

Q. 775. What persons, places and things are usually occasions of sin?


*]The persons who are occasions of sin are all those in whose company we sin, whether they be bad of themselves or bad only while in our company, in which case we also become occasions of sin for them;
*]The places are usually liquor saloons, low theaters, indecent dances, entertainments, amusements, exhibitions, and all immoral resorts of any kind, whether we sin in them or not;
*]The things are all bad books, indecent pictures, songs, jokes and the like, even when they are tolerated by public opinion and found in public places.

Part of the Sacrament of Penance is repentance. When you repent of your sins, you are saying you will do your best to avoid repeating them again. In other words, you are agreeing to change your life as needed to not commit those sins again. When it comes to reoccurring mortal sins or addictions to sin, there is usually a pattern you can come to recognize with the sin. By analyzing the pattern, you can see what decisions led to the later mortal sin. It is those earlier decisions that you must then change.

For the example of the alcoholic, he would have to look at how often he gets drunk at the bar. If he gets drunk 75% of the time, it’s pretty clear that going to the bar would be a near occasion of sin. He definitely needs to avoid the bar. However, if he’s got a few drinking buddies always inviting him to the bar, just having those friends could be a near occasion of sin since they lead him to sin. In that case, he has to get rid of those bad influences. What if instead he sees the bar on the way home from work and decides then to have a drink? Then the change he needs to make is drive home on a different route that doesn’t pass that bar (or any others).

Whether staunchly convincing himself he won’t touch a drink is a near occasion would depend on if it has actually worked in the past. If he has tried that technique before yet still ended up drinking, he has learned that technique is ineffective. He may use the technique, but he is still putting himself in a near occasion and incurs sin. I think God would definitely have mercy on this man if this was his first attempt at avoiding drinking. It’s an innocent enough thing to try at first, but once he knows it doesn’t work, he has no excuse for continually using a bad technique. God requires that we do our best. When something doesn’t work, we discard it and try something else.

The actual changes a person needs to make will depend on the particular sin, so a big part of avoiding mortal sin is analyzing in detail the whole situation after a mortal sin is committed. By slowly making changes, the little things that later lead to mortal sin are avoided. Then the person never gets to the point of committing the mortal sin. It’s not something that happens overnight, but it can definitely be done with practice. Addictions may take a very long time to conquer, but with time even the worst behavior can be corrected.

Even after conquering it, that sin will still be a weakness for that person, so they should continue maintaining all the changes they made the rest of their life. The biggest reason people relapse with alcohol and other drugs is because they stopped living the changes and using the techniques they learned. These things have to be done for life. The good thing is that even when relapse does occur, the fact that the person conquered it once shows they can conquer it again. No one can expect to be immune to sin on earth though. We will always be battling it until we are perfected in purgatory.

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