Grave matter?

This is not going to sound like the question someone who has been Catholic for 15 years should have to ask, but here goes. I just went to confession today, and I do have a spiritual director but I only meet with her once a month. I just literally have no judgement right now about what is mortal or venial sin. Of course, I know if I murder someone, rob a bank, commit adultery, or worship in the temple of Baal, I need to go to confession. But many other things just aren’t so clear to me b/c they involve things that occur inwardly–in the mind. I was googling, “How often do priests go to confession?” and I saw a link that said, “Do priests go to confession? If so, to whom do they confess?” I had misread it though, thinking it said, “Do priests go to confession? If so, WHAT do they confess?” And I clicked on it kind of curiously and excitedly, thinking, “I wonder what they do confess? I wonder if they ever have sins of impurity to confess?” Well, I read the article, kind of hoping for some interesting “dirt”, and of course it didn’t have anything about what they confess, and then I read the words, “A priest is a man and therefore sinful and needful of penance.” And then I thought, “Of course they are” and I felt ashamed that I had been reading to find “dirt”. Even though there was nothing sinful in the article, I feel like my intentions were sinful. My logic tells me this is probably a venial sin because I wasn’t really thinking at the time how sinful it was (I mean, I wasn’t searching for porn or anything like that), but my scruples want to tell me I may have committed mortal sin. Is this even grave matter?

If you have problems with scrupulosity, you need to get a confessor (and that is different than getting a spiritual director) and stick with what they say, You need to ask them about the morality or lack thereof concerning issues; the internet is not the place to get that advice. We are not confessors, and we are not equipped to deal with the issue of the burden that scrupulosity creates. You need to follow a confessor’s advice absolutely because of the problem you have of discerning the character of acts. And if they suggest other counseling, you need to follow their advice.

This has helped me quite a lot.

I think that your situation may not even be a sin. If it is, it is probably venial.

As others have said…this is a matter for you to discuss with those who know you best, your confessor and your SD.

However - for the time being let’s just say that (IMHO) there is sin here but only slight - not serious and certainly not grave. It is nothing that would or should keep you from the sacraments.
The sin - as I see it - would relate to gossip. The desire to know something about another that is really none of your business.
We can all succumb to these kinds of temptations from time to time and while we should not desire to know such things about others - well - nobody’s perfect…:shrug:

And just to satisfy - to a degree - that curiosity - I think that it was Fulton Sheen who shared this.
He was at one point in his ministry assigned to hear the confessions of the nuns of a convent. He described it as like, “being stoned to death with pop-corn”. :smiley:
To some extent I think it might be the same for priests.


Thank you–that makes sense that it would fall under “gossip”. You have been most helpful. :slight_smile:

Thank you. I read Father Doyle often. I have a couple of other articles written by priests that I refer to often as well.

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