Can't remember what I was thinking--mortal sin?


Last night I had an impure dream. When I woke up I was upset but reminded myself that dreams are not sinful, because we do not have full consent of the will during dreams. I got up to go to the bathroom, then went back to bed. On my way back to my bed I thought to myself, “I’d kind of like to have another dream like that.” But then I thought, “No, that would be wrong.” When I got back into bed, I prayed, “Jesus, please don’t let me have another dream like that.” But after I prayed, I remember thinking one of two things, and I can’t remember which: I either thought, “Well, I still might have an impure dream, but if I do, it won’t be my fault and it won’t be sinful.” OR “I still might have an impure dream, and if I do, I will get to enjoy it without sin.” All day I’ve worried about which of those two things I thought. How can I not know what I thought? I don’t really know for sure if I had any more impure dreams after that–I may have. I remember waking up feeling so guilty. But then I’m scrupulous and I often feel guilty, even when I don’t sin. I try to go to confession once a month because if I go too often it aggravates my scruples. I just went to confession last week, so I don’t want to go to confession again unless I’ve committed mortal sin. How do I know if I’ve committed mortal sin?


Sounds like you are being scrupulous. It is unlikely your thoughts were sinful as you were in a post-sleep haze, which explains why you can barely remember. Relax and please talk to your spiritual advisor about your scruples.


This is a matter for your spiritual director.

I would also discuss with him your predilection for fancy fonts and colours. I find them more disturbing than just about anything you ask about in the content of your posts.


From the Catechism (#1857) we read:

For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.”

I think full knowledge and deliberate consent were absent in this instance. Be at peace.


Veronica, I myself do not find your choice of font and color disturbing, but the post by underacloud reminds me that some readers are more sensitive to fonts. Comic Sans in particular is controversial. Some people dislike it, though to my eye it looks quite pleasing.


To be fair to Veronica’s font choice, my comment was more meant to imply that what she often posts about as potential mortal sins are typically so benign that she should spend no more thought on them than on her font choices.

But…I still don’t like the font choice.

Veronica, I mean no offense, but I think you should stop asking such questions here and just stick with receiving spiritual direction from your spiritual director (hence the title).


All three conditions for mortal sin must be present at the same time for the sin to be mortal. There must be an actual knowing in the moment that what you are thinking about is sinful. A general sense of “I learned this in CCD” doesn’t cut it.

Once you realize that what you are thinking is wrong, then that is when the possibility for sin attaches. Before that, it cannot be sinful.

Again, all three must be present AT THE SAME TIME. If knowledge and grave matter are present, but not full consent, it isn’t a mortal sin. If gravity and consent, but not knowledge, it isn’t a mortal sin. You can have knowledge that something is wrong a minute before you commit an act, but when you commit the act itself be absent minded and not realize it. All three must be present in the actual moment of consent, not before, not after.


It’s an awful long time since I had one of those,…


Veronica, You have posted quite a few posts recently regarding your OCD and scrupulosity. I would encourage you to seek help both from your pastor/spiritual director and therapist.

Help for your issues cannot be found here on CAF. You need professional help with this flare up of scruples and OCD.

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