Divulging your own sins on a public forum is immodest

@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!

1 Like

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.

3 Likes

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.

5 Likes

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?

6 Likes

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.

6 Likes

If somebody is looking for confirmation and ratification of their refusal to hear God’s Word and the teachings of the magisterium of His Church, CAF is not the place to find that. People who are willfully persisting in a clearly sinful lifestyle are frantic and desperate to find some way — any way — to feel good about themselves, and no longer to have to fear hell and damnation. Perhaps not every single one of them, but many of them, know, deep down, that they are wrong, and they will react, sometimes violently (on a verbal level, I would hope not a physical one), when they are finally “backed into a corner” and convicted of their sin by something that somebody else leads them to see.

I do not discuss my sin problems, spirituality, or prayer life, with anyone, unless I have a need to do so — teaching purposes, or bearing witness to things that need bearing witness. I will not discuss what my one “hard commandment” is — I’d come across as a horrible person (and maybe I am) — but I will say that it is not the sixth or the ninth, it has absolutely nothing to do with sex. Similarly, I do not go around talking about how many rosaries I have said, how often I go to confession, and so on. Some would say “that’s nowhere near enough, that’s where your sin problem comes from”, while others would say “you’re just a religious nut, spend that time doing something useful instead”. Can’t please everybody, no use even to try. I walk with the Lord, and He walks with me, and He’s the one I ultimately have to answer to, bottom line.

The only time I discuss such matters, is when there is a need to, to teach others and help them towards virtue. Case in point: my wife and I sinfully used NFP for a number of years, for selfish reasons. It didn’t happen overnight. It just became easy and comfortable. I can’t speak for my wife (we are divorced and she has moved on to an illicit and invalid union, while I remain single), but I finally reached the point where I could excuse this no longer. So I went to confession and laid things bare.

I only tell this story because, in recent years, there has been a tendency among even some faithful, orthodox Catholics, seemingly to leapfrog right over the teachings of three Popes regarding the use of NFP, and to use it for whatever reasons an illicitly contracepting couple would use NFP, including selfish ones, or merely “we just don’t want children”, either for a time, or permanently. The reasoning seems to be “we are using NFP, which is not immoral, so we’re OK — we will accept a child if that happens, but we’d prefer not”. That is precisely what my wife and I told ourselves for many years. The Popes have said “grave” or “serious” reasons, and some will say “just” reasons — a slippery slope to “any reason at all”? I have an inquiry out to the CDF in Rome (what used to be called the Holy Office, in fact, their street address in Vatican City is “Sant’Uffizio”) regarding this, but given the coronavirus crisis, an answer may be many months in coming, possibly never.

1 Like

Dr. Gregory Popcak is a Catholic counselor whose team treats anxiety/OCD/scrupulosity.

Now what?

If we knew who these people were in real life, I could see your argument as I do agree that people share far too much private information about themselves, even with absolute strangers. I don’t understand it when they are sharing it with all of their identifiable information open for everyone to see (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, etc.) Not only is it crass, it puts others in the situation where they may struggle with similar sinful behavior, loss of respect for you or any family members you’re disclosing private information about.

However, in a forum where we’re all writing under pseudonyms and hopefully not divulging any personally identifying information, I can’t see why it’s a problem to talk amongst other faithful as both a source of comfort in knowing you’re not alone or as a needed wake up call that encourages someone to get help.

Now when people use these forums to feed their tenancy towards scrupulosity, I think it does then become a problem and quickly declines into attention seeking as well as a desire to appear more pious than others for endlessly worrying about small things that most people would know aren’t problems if they are listening to God. That could then lead others down the path into scrupulosity which makes it hard – almost impossible – to have a loving, personal relationship with God.

^^ perfect explanation of what scrupulosity is not !!

These people carry a heavy cross when afflicted by scrupulosity and do not need to be denigrated for it. They are listening to God with all their heart, mind and soul and are striving not to offend God by even venial sins - something some people dismiss as not to be concerned overly about.

They have great difficulty in discerning what is grave matter - whether that is due to a lack of knowledge (new convert or a revert after many decades away from the faith who has forgotten everything they once knew to those who didn’t practice the faith after First Communion, come from nonpracticing families etc.) , not understanding or simply due to the fear & anxiety. But fear and anxiety often stems from what is unknown, not clearly understood and once the knowledge and understanding is obtained the scrupulosity vanishes or diminishes. For those who suffer from OCD, it may not.

4 Likes

I agree in the last year or two I have noticed a lot of people with scrupulosity and intrusive thoughts or those seeking excuses to sin posting these types of “is it a sin?” threads.

There’s enough masturbation and fornication threads on here ranging from modes of self abuse or fornication.

Not everything can or should be solved over the internet sometimes it’s better to consult a priest or a medical physician.

Sorry I’m not following you here?

Dr. Gregory Popcak states, from clinical practice and psychological studies studies that 1 in 5, or 20%, (32 million in the US alone), suffer from some form of anxiety (i.e. OCD, scruples). IME, this affects the young inordinately. Could it just be that scruples are called out…

…because it really is scruples? I mean some open 2-3 threads over the same thing - but that is not necessary to “suspect” scruples. We call scruples (I do) as I have 31 years of dealing with mental health patient/consumers and 7 years of moderating a cancer forum. I’m not just making things up, or trying to limit or shut communication down.

Although there are many who post due to not being well catechized - and I try to separate them out - I find that more frequently online than elsewhere, it really is scruples.

Amen.
Sadly, the hush hush aspect can actually cause the victim to believe he or she is guilty of sin in the crime which was perpetrated on him or her.

At the same time, however, abuse victims will get grossed out at having to share any details of the sin/crime committed against them, because some individuals find the gory details titillating. It truly is a living hell on earth. Shivers…

Interesting.
How about the Christian example( including one own self) in the disclosure," I am a sinner, we are all sinners." My experience is that there isn’t enough opportunity in life to remind ones own self and others of this repetitive Gospel truth.
Isn’t it a recognition born of humility? Isn’t it a recognition of necessity, that it be repeated and understood. A recognition that we seem to need it reminded repetitively?

I don’t think it is immodest. This forum is pretty much anonymous. Sometimes people need an objective opinion. That this is a forum that is pretty much anonymous then I recommend weighing the balance.

Scrupulosity is a manifestation of a mental disorder called OCD.

And instances of divulging sins publicly to a group or assembly were commonly practiced among the earlier Christian disciples and it continues to happens today in some settings. There is also the privacy in the Sacrament in Confession. The Church can walk and chew bubblegum at the same time.

People coming here with their problems is one of the main reasons this apostolate exists in the first place.

Well I think you bring up good points, and please don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t pointing the finger at you btw. If we legitimately think they are scrupulous I agree surely.

I just think it does cut both ways. It can be difficult to calibrate ones conscience even when you know the teachings. I don’t see that as necessarily being scrupulous though. People ask questions all over on forums, isn’t one of the beatitudes to council the doubtful?

I’ve asked questions about real life scenarios where nuance was a major factor. Things aren’t just black and white always. I got a load of accusation and screw you. Isn’t discernment a large part of living faith…

Great perspective, thank you for sharing.

Just for clarity I don’t intend to dig on priests, I think most are really working hard at it. It’s just that this is a specialized arena with mental disease.

Glad your getting the help though, :+1:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.