Divulging your own sins on a public forum is immodest

If a forum is open to public viewing then divulging your own personal sin on that forum is immodest behavior. I don’t mean asking questions about sin in general, or even asking about a specific sin. What I mean is that saying “I did X. Is X a sin? What kind of sin?” And so on. The more detailed, the more immodest. Sins are personal and private, between you and God, or a confessor. They are not for public consumption. There may even be a call for modesty when in a confessional…details not required.

There countless threads about immodesty in how people dress. But there are rarely any threads about immodesty in revealing too much personal information about ourselves.

A few people are choosing to air their dirty laundry (I could call it indulging their appetite) publicly instead of showing a healthy discretion of what they are revealing. I don’t think the fact that anonymity is involved in most forums matters. Being immodest while being anonymous is still being immodest.

Some quotations from the Catechism about modesty and temperance:

Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden.

Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love.

It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet.

Everywhere, however, modesty exists as an intuition of the spiritual dignity proper to man.

Purity of heart requires the modesty which is patience, decency, and discretion. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person.

Purity requires modesty , an integral part of temperance

Temperance is the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods. It ensures the will’s mastery over instincts and keeps desires within the limits of what is honorable. The temperate person directs the sensitive appetites toward what is good and maintains a healthy discretion: “Do not follow your inclination and strength, walking according to the desires of your heart.” Temperance is often praised in the Old Testament: “Do not follow your base desires, but restrain your appetites.” In the New Testament it is called “moderation” or “sobriety.”

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I understand the point you are trying to make. But the discussion of whether something is a sin or not and whether it is grave matter or not is helpful to a lot of people.

It’s how we learn. “I did such and such, and asked Father and he told me it is a sin”.

Some things obviously by the threads that are posted and by some of the replies - people don’t realize they are sins at all. A lot of people haven’t been properly catechized and so are seeking information, guidance on how to judge the gravity of a sin (and not all these come from scrupulous people, but from ignorance or a new Catholic).

And some people are simply thinking that if all ‘facts’ are laid out it will be easier for ‘us’ to judge the situation and advise accordingly. In these cases their intention is not immodesty in revealing those details, and for all we know they may be editing out other more specific details anyway.

If it bothers you so much - just don’t read those threads, no one is forcing you to read them after all, so just scroll past …

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MORAL CONSCIENCE

[1776] "Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. . . . For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. . . . His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths."47

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A lot of people seem to think it’s okay to be “unfiltered” on the anonymous Internet.

I really wish all questions about “I did X. Is X a mortal sin?” or worse yet, “I did X. Is it okay to do X because blablabla” when X is clearly a sin in the eyes of the Church, would be immediately closed and the OPs told to go to confession and talk to a priest about it.

I know some such threads are started by scrupulous posters who are bothered by their thinking disorder, and others are started by very young people who are trying to figure out if they can receive Communion at Mass in the morning so they don’t have to tell their mom and dad why they aren’t going up to receive because they can’t find a priest in time before Mass, or they’re shy about talking to a priest, etc.

But there seem to be quite a few by adults who are looking for people to tell them their sins are okay, and those adults often get mad and start hurling insults when told no, it’s not okay, it’s a sin.
And there are a few threads that seem to me to be fake/ troll threads.

Overall, it’s not a productive topic.

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Most of the people that do that are new and likely won’t read that.

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Original sin, causing concupiscence, leading many to scrupulosity.

We see a much higher percentage of the scrupulous here online. Oftentimes, they have been told by family, loved ones, priest etc. to stop and/or seek counseling. However, it is far easier, quicker and less costly to air one’s laundry online anonymously.

I see this in cancer forums where those who suffer from untreated anxiety/OCD etc. are “terrified” that they may have cancer. Probably 95% of them do not.

The second epidemic today is anxiety.

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I also think some of it is intentional for the ‘shock value’, although thinking you are going to shock people who refer to themselves as sinners is kinda funny.

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@1Lord1Faith Thank you for this guide. The information is a Godsend for me and I need to really take the time to learn this and take it into myself and make it my way of living.

I really appreciate the time you took to research this and explain it so well.

This is deeply edifying to me, full of new terms and concepts for me to quietly reflect upon.

Thank you, Sister.

Yeah, they come on here pretty much to post about their sins and for the most part never stay around to have other, better discussions.

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In your opinion. Popular opinion within certain social cliques doesn’t equal what is right.

Private confession in the Sacrament is practiced and provided in canon law to make it better and safer for a penitent, but people also have the option to speak of sins in other settings, albeit there is a time and a place for everything. When we say that it is absolutely necessary for sins to be said in private, we give sin a lot of power that it doesn’t deserve. The abuse scandal would have been less severe if there wasn’t a Puritanical and cowardly urge to be hush hush about everything.

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Remember too that the internet provides a fair degree of anonymity.

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In the book of James is says to confess our sins to one another!

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Maybe its not either/or, black or white here?

@edward_george1 Is moral conscious the same meaning as a moral compass?

Also, maybe there are some whose lives will be saved by going onto social media when they feel so isolated and alone right now, in paritcular with the pandemic, and dont have access to a priest or spiritual director or confessor.

But this is not the place…yet it could be…

Its hard to know what to think here, but I love the OP’s post. despite other thoughts that seem very relevant as well.

I should take this to the Lord in prayer over time. May His spirit fill me with Truth, Amen.

@1Lord1Faith As brides of Christ, we shouldn’t be discussing our marital problems with our spouse, who is Jesus, because we are in an intimate relationship with Him. Did I get this part correct?

It should be between my spouse and myself…

Yet there is some comfort here, at CAF with discussing concerns…

But we need to treat our marital relationship with Christ with dignity…

Perhaps it’s all about decorum and discretion

I’m very tired right now, so not the best time to think this out yet

Needing to hide in His wounds…Jesus, I trust in you!

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Most of the people who do this are probably scrupulous and the last thing they need is counseling from a bunch of strangers on the internet. @edward_george1 is quite consistent in the advice he gives in situations like this, and I think we should all take a lesson from him.

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My understanding of these threads that discuss personal sins is that they are either 1) from a young person or a new Catholic who dreads the embarrassment of having a conversation one on one with someone in authority about what they’ve done and 2) from the scrupulous who are never ever totally sure that what they’ve done is sinful and are being tortured about it by their disorder. There are, of course, troll threads and threads wherein the person seeks to justify themselves, as other posters have said. But I find that the former two cases are more common. As a scrupulous person (I’m talking OCD scrupulosity, not just a tender conscience), I’ve posted such threads in a pit of despair.

On the one hand, I see the OP’s point. We should be careful who we divulge our private lives to. There’s a need for prudence and, yes, modesty. Thank you for making that point.

On the other hand, we should be charitable in making a judgment as to why someone is divulging their sins (or perceived sins) on a public forum. For OCD scrupulous people (of which there are many on CAF), they are in a vicious cycle of obsessions (bad thoughts of various kinds and condemning thoughts that they are in mortal sin) and compulsions, which posting on CAF “Is such and such a sin?” with lots of detail is. Their confessing, need to tell, and reassurance seeking are all meant to get rid of the debilitating anxiety, guilt, and horror that they feel over their obsessions. Telling such people that their behavior is immodest and thus sinful will only serve to feed their scrupulosity and push them further into the despair that comes with the condition, a despair that could eventually lead them away from the Church.

I guess what I’m saying is that we need to be understanding and kind when it comes to threads about personal sin. We never know what the person who’s posting is going through. As CRV said, if these posts bother you, scroll past.

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Well, on one hand, some people are sincerely looking for guidance and clarification, so I wouldn’t discount that entirely.

But I get your point. More often than not, people post WAY too much about their personal lives and get very specific about their sins on these forums. I’ve read things here that I wish I hadn’t.

I think this cuts both ways though tbh. I’ve seen a lot of-
You posted this. Your Scrupulous! Thread flagged and closed! Sometimes I feel like it’s over zealous the hall monitors tbh.

Not all questions related to sin are scrupulous. And let’s be honest. Psychology/psychiatry have their place surely. But I’ve heard some of the worst and most anti catholic remarks from psychologists. Further some priests aren’t very understanding of scruples even if the person had it. So where does someone go to get good information?

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To your point, I haven’t run into many confessors that are well-equipped to handle scrupulosity in some of its most virulent forms. Tender conscience, yes, but OCD? Those of us with the disorder are often left to our own devices, which is why I think so many scrupulous people post on CAF. There are also very few really good OCD counselors and not all insurance will cover it. My father is paying a pretty penny to get me the help that I need, and thank goodness my therapist respects the Catholic faith and is willing to learn more about it. There are many people who have scrupulosity who are left isolated and imprisoned by their emotional disorder.

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