Confession and Scrupulosity


#1

I went to Confession today and, as is common, I come out of Confession feeling unforgiven, like I somehow botched it up and invalidated it. Several concerns from today:

  1. I forget things that I meant to Confess, but remembered later. Some of them were even written on my ‘sin list’ I’ve started using, but I guess didn’t see them (it gets kind of packed as I keep adding things I remember or days go by).
  2. I always worry that I don’t go into enough detail or go into misleading detail or lie or something.
  3. I used the term ‘cybersex’ to to primarily describe the sin I used to call ‘sexual role-playing games’. I did this so that if I have to discuss an RPG issue that is not sexual (i.e. see this thread: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=382467), I have less chance of being misunderstood (after all, it sounds odd if I start talking about sexual and non-sexual RPGs).
  4. I listen to Priest’s advice on what to mention and not mention (i.e. in terms of, for example w/ the cybersex/sexual RPG issue, there is no need to go into detail on the age of the participant, which is always 16+) and what things are sins and what things are not (i.e. I have been told by at least one Priest and one orthodox Catholic layperson that, in non-sexual RPGs, playing important characters, including clergy, is not sinful or, on another more real life note, that desiring validation/respect/love from people/groups of people I view as important such as Sorority girls *, clergy, etc. is not a sin either), but then when I willfully don’t mention these issues, a part of me worries I have invalidated the Confession (it’s almost like I worry that by withholding things that are either only venial sins, not even sins at all or are details that are unnecessary, that I invalidate the Confession).

Sometimes, it’s like I worry then when I died, God will find a technicality I missed so He can send me to Hell.

EDIT: I received Communion after Confession (at my parish, Confessions are heard before Daily Mass on M-F) and then I worry that, if my Confession was invalid, not only did I commit the sin of invalidating the Confession, but also receiving Communion unworthily.

EDIT 2: Another thing is that, once I finish the Confession and the Priest starts pronouncing Absolution, it’s like my mind runs a mile-a-minute to try and find more sins to Confess. If I do find something more to confess, I am afraid to interrupt the Priest, but when I don’t, I then worry I withheld something.

EDIT 3: Also, today, I worried I lied to the Priest. When the Priest was assigning a Penance, he asked if I prayed the Rosary and I told him that it is tough for me to pray it since I get distracted and get intrusive thoughts and this is true and I used to pray it with difficulty, but I somehow worry that I lied to the Priest and that I’m even lying now.*


#2

#3

It is obvious from your post that you have an honest intention to make the best confession you can. As the previous poster said, try and not to be so focused on the technical aspect of it. Next time you can mention that you forgot a few things and ask God for forgivness.

In my experience what matters is going to confession with an open heart, being genuinely sorry for the sins, honestly trying not to sin again and being grateful for God’s love and forgivness. Sometimes I feel like I don’t really deserve to be forgiven even after I make a valid confession and change my ways. Perhaps that is a sin in itself - not trusting God and putting the sin above his love and mercy. I don’t want to scare you with this and add another thing to your list but it is something worth having in mind. :thumbsup:


#4

But I still worry though. I mean, I feel like I forgot too much or didn’t go into enough detail or was misleading or did not have the right intentions or something. In some ways, I can’t always place my finger on it, but it still worries me.

I also worry that I will now commit a mortal sin or something. It’s like I’m on eggshells even after a valid Confession. For example, I ate too much last night (granted, it was my one meal of the day…I have an odd diet, okay?), did I commit a mortal sin? A lustful or otherwise inappropriate thought crossed my mind. Also, did I let my overactive imagination enter into the sinful realm through delectatio morosa? See what I mean?

EDIT: Somehow, I worry that I have a botched up Confession somewhere in the past? The parish I started at let me make Confessions before I was Catholic and I worry I had a string of invalid Confession. The first time I made a Confession awhile back (before I started RCIA), I was actually still Episcopalian, but the Catholic Priest allowed it and when he asked me when my last Confession was, he sort of let me count the last Confession to an Episcopal Priest (obviously, now I know their Sacraments are invalid), and I never Confessed from before that period until my official ‘First Confession’ as part of RCIA and, when I did that Confession, I basically covered everything that occurred before the period of the Confession I made the first time to the Catholic Priest and everything since my most recent Confession.

I worried I may have invalidated everything because wouldn’t the intervening Confessions between my actual first Confession to a Catholic Priest (Pre-RCIA and I only included everything since an invalid Episcopal Confession, not back to my Baptism) be invalid?


#5

It sounds valid to me. The events before the confession required for your reception do sound dodgy but since your reception was valid I would not worry about it anymore. You could explain this to a priest and ask for further clarification in order to put your mind at rest. Also, I see that you have been recently received. Trust me, it will become easier once you relax into being Catholic. Everybody sins so you won’t be able to avoid it completely but being aware of how easy it is can be a good lesson in humility. We sin - we ask God for forgivness - we try to mend our ways - we go on in life. (It has taken me a few years to get the hang of confession so I understand the confusion and fear :o )
You could address these concerns during confession as well. The priest will be more than happy to help you and give answers to your questions. But seriously, I think you’re doing really well. I suggest you pray for a bit before you go in and ask God to help you.


#6

Should I listen to what the Priest says? I mean if he says not to go into such-and-such a detail (i.e. the age of the other person in that cybersex stuff, always 16+ though), then should I refrain from giving such details at future Confession? If the Priest says certain things are not sinful, then should I refrain from Confessing them again?


#7

Check out Fr. Serpa’s answer to the question about scruples on this website.


#8

Yes, you should do exactly what your priest tells you. First, because obedience is the sure path to peace and virtue. Second, because the priest has the experience and the authority to tell you what is sinful and what is not. And third, because your priests have all heard this from you so many times they know exactly what you’re talking about.

Two questions for you:

Why is it that you do not have a regular confessor to deal with this crippling scrupulosity?

Are you trying more to give up the cybersex type sins or to become an expert at confessing them? Do you have a firm purpose of amendment?

Betsy


closed #9

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