Have I committed sacrilege? Please help!


I have struggled with severe OCD since I was very young. I’ve never told anybody about it before, and every night I have to go through this whole routine of horrible compulsions. They’re not anything seriously crazy, but they’re not nice…

Now, there are lots of holy images in my room, and usually when I’m doing the compulsions I stay by them because I’m afraid. But I realized that that’s not good either, and now I’m so afraid that I’m sinning every night by doing the compulsions right in front of them!! :,(

I tried to confess to a few priests that I thought I was offending holy pictures because of the compulsions, and they usually tell me I don’t have to elaborate on any of it, or I can “elaborate if I feel it’s necessary”… I never do. But the priest I confessed to last weekend kept asking and asking about it, and I tried to keep it very general and avoid getting into details. But even while I was in confession I felt so horrible about it, since I wasn’t telling him anything besides “I offended/ did compulsions in front of holy pictures”, or even why I thought I was being offensive to them! Does that even count as confessing?? :frowning:

These compulsions are irrational and embarrassing and not something I would tell anybody, ever. Except for God, when I pray for them to stop or tell Him how sorry I am. It’s bad enough to have this interfering with my life, but now what if it’s actually a sin and is offending God?? :frowning: I hate this more than anything, but I feel helpless and can’t stop without probably getting put on some serious meds. I feel so horrible, and now I’m even afraid to pray because I feel like I’ve committed some very serious sin(s??). Please help- even just a bit of advice would mean the world to me!!


Mortal sin requires consent, OCD makes it so you can’t consent. So no not a mortal sin. Even without know any details. (sacrilege would fit the gravity portion, full knowledge … you’re here asking so thats out)

On terms of venial (which is forgive in mass/prayer) I don’t see how a convulsion action would offend God through “harming” the images? When you say OCD I think the tv show Monk, and nothing he does could be considered sacrilege. Here is a list of what sacrilege means: newadvent.org/cathen/13321a.htm

From what you have said you fit none of these.


Dear Kat,
Please relax in the love of God. He desires the best for you.
I know how hard that is because I have had some OCD behavior in my past. There are medications for that so you might be well advised to discuss it with your doctor.
Images are just like photos, they have no feelings, they are just to remind us of our loved ones or holy people we can ask to intercede for us. You can ask the saints represented by your images to pray for you, and I’m confident they will.
What helped me a lot was to repeat certain scriptures whenever I was tempted to fear or do OCD activities. My favorite is 2 Timothy 1:7:" For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
Please ask for help from appropriate people – a good confessor, your doctor. OCD is a recognized illness and there are therapies and meds to help with it.
I don’t think you have sinned unless you’re masturbating, and God can help you overcome any sins as long as you continue confessing them. “Greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world.”


Try not to become obsessed with your failings,because the obsession can overcome you,
And get in the way of the gifts you have as a human being,with which your future lies,


OCD is a very difficult burden in people’s lives but treatment with a professional can be very helpful. You are trying to live good life dealing with this alone and I feel that your issues will only escalate if you do not share your problem with someone who can help you pursue treatment. If you are afraid of taking medication I want you to know that solving this issue may not require prescription drugs, but that has to be determined after seeng a professional. I will pray for you to be able to seek help and be healed.


OCD is an illness, not a sin. Being ill in front of religious pictures or statues is not a sin. Your confessor probably didn’t understand what you were trying to confess.

Talk to a physician and professional counselor about this. I can understand your fear of meds and their side effects but there is no reason to fear talking about alternatives.


Relax, God loves you, I myself have OCD, you are not alone, we have to remember that God is a God of order, not disorder. God made you out of love, out of order, peace and tranquility. Pray to Him, He wants to hear from you, you are His child, He is your loving and compassionate Father. He wants you to tell Him about all your worries and fears, He cares for you, He wants you to be with Him forever.:):thumbsup: Whenever you feel over anxious or scared etc., ask the Holy Spirit for guidance and peace. Keep praying to the Holy Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit to comfort you. If you get a counselor or psychiatrist, make sure they are familiar and accepting of the Catholic faith.


It sounds like you are suffering from a scrupulous conscience, and OCD can and does only make it worse.

What you need to do is find one priest (a spiritual director) to talk to.

Keep in mind that temptations cannot be sins.

I’m sure they are embarrassing to you, but guess what? It’s the job of priests to understand and know what sin is, even the embarrassing, bizarre ones that people sometimes feel like it’s only them who commit such sins.

As far the specific sins you mentioned, well, you’re not the only one who’s ever had that problem. It’s important to realize that.

Also, please read the following:



Thank you all for your answers. I still feel really guilty, but I guess I’m not seriously sinning since the OCD isn’t something I can control. Which means it can’t be mortal… I hope?? :o


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