Hi there, so I am suffering from scrupulosity. I have read before that basically if you think something is a bigger sin than it objectively and u give full consent etc than u are guilty of mortal sin, however, how does that apply to those with scruples who see the tiniest things as grave sins?? Thankyou very much and God Bless
It’s more a matter of what the Church and/or the Bible says is mortal sin. Something like telling a quick lie, with not thought of it in advance, to get out of a difficult situation wouldn’t be a mortal sin. Like, if you meet someone you know while out shopping and this person starts to really start talking, and you don’t have time to stand there and listen to their whole speel, you say something to get away from them. You might not want to say to their face that they are being rude. But make up some excuse in order to go on to what you are trying to do. If you say something like, “I have to hurry, I have a doctor’s appointment in half an hour.” That wouldn’t be a mortal sin. At least, if not really thought out ahead of time. But if you go out and kill a bunch of people, then that would be a mortal sin. But if you’re still unsure, talk with your priest. He may be able to give you to help discern between what is mortal sin and what is venial sin.
Compendium issued by Pope Benedict XVI
- When does one commit a mortal sin?
One commits a mortal sin when there are simultaneously present: grave matter, full knowledge, and deliberate consent. This sin destroys charity in us, deprives us of sanctifying grace, and, if unrepented, leads us to the eternal death of hell. It can be forgiven in the ordinary way by means of the sacraments of Baptism and of Penance or Reconciliation.
- When does one commit a venial sin?
One commits a venial sin, which is essentially different from a mortal sin, when the matter involved is less serious or, even if it is grave, when full knowledge or complete consent are absent. Venial sin does not break the covenant with God but it weakens charity and manifests a disordered affection for created goods. It impedes the progress of a soul in the exercise of the virtues and in the practice of moral good. It merits temporal punishment which purifies.
Some important aspects in working to overcome scruples
A** regular confessor (best if they have some background in such…but do not wait) whom one can trust (indeed entrust yourself to for the time being!). He can give not only direction in general etc but note certain general principles for one to follow under his direction or confirm them for you that you can follow. Obedience …is important here…it is the age old remedy
Of course one seeks a confessor who is faithful to the Church… if something is clearly wrong…like he tells you to murder his secretary…or tells you to use contraception…well that will be clear …and one should change confessors (and perhaps tell the Bishop) …but one should not change due to scruples… (it is said classically the person with a difficulty with scrupulosity would follow the judgment of the regular confessor who has taken responsibility for them – except in the case of manifest sin)
Perhaps some studies in (orthodox) Catholic Theology such as what is in the Catechism or Compendium (I say perhaps cause some need to not read etc for a while…but simply follow their confessor…depends on the scruples etc)
Frequenting the Sacraments (within reason…confession every day…is prob. not a good idea unless one really falls into mortal sin…)
A classic quote:* Contra scruplos agendum est, et fixo operis pede certandum*
(Act contrary to scruples and with a firm foot overcome them)
Such is referring to overcoming ones scruples with a “firm foot”. Learning to act against them under the guidance of your confessor. Dismissing them. Not arguing with them.
In a way one needs be “scrupulous” about attending to ones scruples…
Intercession of Our Lady and the Saints
Acts of Faith, Hope and Love
Thinking more on the love of God and true life in Christ…living in the reality of the joy (even when not something felt) of being a Christian…
…keeping in mind that Jesus is the Good Shepherd who loves you
Even if you think a ‘little sin’ is a ‘big sin’ and do it deliberately, because your opinion about the sin is actually wrong in the first place, the gravity of your act is not what you think it is and it is not mortal since you did not possess the full and correct knowledge of your act in the first place. That means the criteria by which sin is mortal are not met.
It doesn’t mean you’ll feel better about it, since you will need to address your scruples, but it does mean that you’re not going to hell simply because you said a rude word when you stubbed your toe…