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Hell and Scrupulousity


I have read a couple of books lately that assert that most people will go to hell. They quote “the road is wide…” verse. When I get in bed, all the things I said and sometimes did during the day come flooding back to me. I do have OCD but I am unable to separate what is a valid concern from what is not. I constantly worry about going to hell and there are lots of Catholic books that cite genuine references to support this.

I write all my sins down during the day so that I can get them confessed.

Can someone help?


I would suggest that you seek medical help, because this is probably a medical condition, as well as seek help from a traditional priest, if there is one in your area.


God is a loving father and we are simple children. How many small children do things so terrible that Daddy would throw them out? Yes, we can reject His love, commit mortal sin, but really, if you have a loving relationship with your God, do you really act in a deliberate manner in rejecting him and his love? Might need to seek some medical, or at least counseling help, and a solid trip to a good and understanding priest might be in order too as the above poster suggested.


Who can afford to be wrong about something and end up in Hell forever?


If you have scruples and OCD, you need to have your reading material pre approved by your spiritual director or pastor.


Ironically, worrying about hell is exactly what its overseer would like to see us doing! I realize that’s kind of like someone telling you not to fear horses because they sense fear . . . hence making us afraid of them. But there you have it.

Read The Great Divorce, by C.S. Lewis. (He’s non-Catholic, so I’m sure I’ll get flamed - no pun intended - for recommending this book). It’s a fascinating read with the conclusion that the door to hell is locked from the inside; souls are there because they want to be there.

Bishop Barron is rather unpopular among the trad Catholics, but here’s his take on this burning (couldn’t resist - sorry) question.

If I may ask, are you currently in therapy for the OCD?


God is not some ogre, hiding behind the bushes, just waiting for you to mess up so he can fry your butt. Seek out a good spiritual director, make a retreat, seek spiritual counseling, your spiritual OCD is inhibiting your love and appreciation of your Heavenly Father. Abba, or dad, as Jesus called Him.


Therapy has not worked.


It will when you find the right therapist. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, (or one of its many offshoots), is evidence-based and extremely effective with OCD. Ask me how I know . . . (ahem!) Keep asking around, (your priest may even have referral), and pray to find the right set-up. I’ll pray for you, too.


Thank you to everyone for their thoughts.


Thank you for praying for me. Every day is a struggle!


You may also be going through a dark night of the soul. It is my experience that those always precede a major and beautiful spiritual awakening. Hang in there!


Thanks! There is always an element of truth in compulsions and obsessions.


OCD can often, though not always, be treated successfully with drugs. The worries and compulsions just disappear. This indicates that there is a biological basis, not a spiritual basis to the condition. If you are a Catholic you will know that there are no drugs available to treat spiritual problems. You say that therapy has not worked. In my view you should get medical advice and a referral to a clinical psychologist who is able to refer you back to a prescribing doctor if they find that you could be treated in that way. I’m not giving medical advice here - I’m suggesting you get it from someone trained in the science of all this.


Work with a priest / spiritual director.
Keep building your prayer life. Speak to God as God, but also as your closest and kindest friend in the world. Trust in him.
Stay active in your life. Push your comfort zones. Practice virtue, especially humility and charity. Receive the sacraments.
Read the writings & lives of the saints. Early saints are great, but more modern saints as well, including 20th century saints. Cover a broad area and don’t isolate yourself into a certain category. If you’re a guy, make it a special point to read female saints like St Catherine, St Therese, St Faustina, etc. Don’t box yourself in with saints that are the easiest to relate to.

It’s not abnormal for a person to go through a phase where they have a lot of fear. It will go away in time as your love for God grows and you trust in him gets deeper. Love conquers fear.


Well, another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t “accidentally” end up in Hell; you place yourself there.


Remember that sin must be voluntary. And as long as there is not too little or no diligence shown to be aware of what is a mortal sin, then the mortal sin should also be known to be grave before it occurs, and sufficiently reflected upon too, such that it is a personal choice.


1735 Imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors.


Stop reading scary books.


Why is Bishop Barron unpopular among traditional Catholics? Sorry I don’t know, so i’m curious. I watch him on EWTN and I like him.


I do, too.

He gets called a universalist because he’s open to the possibility that hell is empty.

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