Difficult situation with my dad may have led me into mortal sin...Help!


First of all, let me start by saying that I’m 31 years old, and I live on my own. Ever since my mom died back in January, my dad has been doing some things, that I’d rather not discuss here because I don’t want to hurt him any further, that are very offensive and upsetting to me. He has also been being controling towards me, even when I’m not with him.

The other day, in the truck, on the way back from the doctor, he started talking about the dental work he wants me to have done, which I can’t afford, because I’m on a fixed income, and my lousy government insurance won’t cover it. I disobeyed him when he told me to smile, so that he could see one of the bad teeth, because I knew he was going to start on me again, and I was ashamed of the bad tooth. He basicly said that no matter what, that I’m getting this dental work done, and I’m paying for it. I tried to explain to him again that I couldn’t afford it, and he just said that he didn’t want to talk about it any more, and turned the truck’s stereo up really loud. This made me angry, and I started trying to find the switch to turn it down so I could talk to him.

Being a new Catholic, who is still learning, I’m not sure if what I did falls under mortal sin or not, even though it falls under the fourth commandment. If I have committed mortal sin, it may be at least a week until I can see my regular confessor, and I feel incapable of perfect contrition because of fear of Hell. I’m worried that I’m damned to Hell until I can see my confessor, and if that’s the case, I’m worried that there’s no point of even praying. My plans for tomorrow’s Mass are to go to Mass in shame, and to not receive Communion, unless I’m absolutely sure I’m not in mortal sin. Being scrupulous, and having OCD, this is even harder for me. What should I do?


As an adult, your duty is to respect and honor your parents. You do not have to obey them. No fourth commandment issue in the scenario you described.


no worries man that’s not a sin what you did its not like you cussed him out or dishonored him after all in the Bible it tells parents to not provoke their children and after all your an adult just pray to God in Heaven to guide you and I’ll will pray for y’all’s relationship to improve


your father does not seem controlling at least not based on what you have said here, but concerned about your health. A bad tooth can become a medical emergency very easily and very quickly. If you don't seem to be taking care of your health he might very well feel the need to speak up. that being said, ignoring his advice might be imprudent but not a mortal sin, If you had slugged him or cursed him, yes that might be.


Just say “Dad, I am trying to balance everything on a limited budget. And I can’t do everything at once. I will get to it. Everything in its time. Thank you for your concern, but I am being frugal, like you and Mom taught me. You and Mom taught me well. I miss her…”

You goal is more than just good relations with Dad…you need to keep that relationship solid so you can help him (indirectly, quietly, charitably, unnoticeably) turn from whatever he’s doing that is not good.

The devil wants tension in the relationship here…so it (that loving son-father relationship) can’t be a help to him over there. Know what I mean?

Don’t let the devil get you to take your eyes off your primary job…which is your father’s soul.

The devil wants you to focus on teeth and tension…but you’re wise and more patient. You’re focused on being a good child of your mother and father and of God.


Josh, I don't see that you have sinned at all, let alone committed a mortal sin. Yeah, your OCD and scrupulosity may be getting in the way of your ability to discern sin. No reason for you to avoid Holy Communion; in fact, you should not miss the Eucharist without good reason. Also, you should not stop praying if you commit mortal sin(s), you should try your best to make a perfect Act of Contrition and continue your prayer routine. Why? Because when you do get to Confession, at the moment you are absolved, you receive all of the merits and graces you would have received from your prayers had you been in a state of grace. You need those, so never stop praying thinking it's useless because you are going to Hell anyway. That's the devil talking, and leading you into despair. Just tell ol' Beelzebub to depart, in the Name of Jesus. Pray for the grace to make an Act of Perfect Contrition.

Two other points; a) Your dad may be too toxic for you to be around, with your OCD you don't need to be around someone controlling. It may be in your best interest and mental health, to limit your contact with him. You are an autonomous independent adult, you don't owe him obedience, just respect and care of him if he is incapable of caring for himself. b) Medicare and Medicaid don't have dental coverage, but you might find low-cost alternatives. Perhaps you have a college/university with a dental school? You can get very low cost dental care there from the students. Student work is supervised by instructors. Your other option is to locate a non-profit dental clinic in your area. They are income-based, but if you get Medicaid, you automatically qualify. Many have affordable payment plans to help with expenses. If you develop a tooth infection, you could end up with serious complications. Been there, done that. My last extraction was a molar that became so infected that my ear and sinuses were infected as well. I had to take antibiotics for a week before I could get it extracted. I had saved up the $120 it cost to have it pulled. And that was a discount from the oral surgeon, he only charged for a simple extraction, even though mine ended up requiring additional work. The dentist only charged me $15 for an exam and x-rays, because he helps the poor and uninsured/under-insured. I've since moved, and am in an area where there are several non-profit clinics. I located them all online, do a search and see what you can find, or contact your area social services and/or health department for referrals.

What should you do? Go to Mass Sunday and receive Jesus! Give your fears to Him. And do discuss this with your confessor when you next see him, and do whatever he advises you to do. You can never go wrong obeying your confessor.


for a sin to be mortal it must meet 3 criteria
1. it must be of serious nature
2. the person must know it's of serious nature
3. the person must freely choose it anyway

here's what the catechism says about adult children and obedience:

2217 As long as a child lives at home with his parents, the child should obey his parents in all that they ask of him when it is for his good or that of the family. "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord."22 Children should also obey the reasonable directions of their teachers and all to whom their parents have entrusted them. But if a child is convinced in conscience that it would be morally wrong to obey a particular order, he must not do so.

As they grow up, children should continue to respect their parents. They should anticipate their wishes, willingly seek their advice, and accept their just admonitions. Obedience toward parents ceases with the emancipation of the children; not so respect, which is always owed to them. This respect has its roots in the fear of God, one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

you're not required to obey your father. that you may have failed to seek his advice and accept his just admonition is not mortally sinful. it may even be that you're not even culpable of venial sin-- it may have simply been a fault.

don't refrain from receiving Eucharist over this.


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