As I understand Catholic moral theology, we are obliged to avoid the near occasions of sin. But what I don’t understand is how we are supposed to KNOW if we have sinned by not avoiding the near occasions of sin.
Mortal sin requires among other factors, deliberate consent, which seems to mean that in order to be guilty of such a sin you would have to intend to commit the sin of putting yourself in a near occasion of sin (even if for some reason you do not end up committing the sin involved in the situation).
From my understanding I’ve taken near occasion of sin to mean situations where you go in thinking that you will ultimately end up sinning but proceed to enter these occasions anyway pretty much knowing that you will likely stumble (Like the classic example of the alcoholic, who goes to hang out at the bar, maybe not intending to drink at first, but knowing in his heart that if he goes there he is probably going to wind up drunk).
There just seems to be a lot of gray area that makes me uncomfortable. I’ll often think about such situations before and during, and then consider whether they are near occasions of sin or not. I usually think that they aren’t in the moment, but if the temptation turns out to be greater than I expected, even when I don’t sin, I still get discouraged because I feel uncertain as to whether I’ve sinned by not avoiding these occasions of high temptation (even when I didn’t consider them NEAR occasions of sin at the time and prior).
Ultimately what seems like the most reasonable explanation I can give myself is that in order for not avoiding the near occasion of sin to be a true mortal sin, I would have to knowingly and deliberately put myself in a situation where I expected myself to succumb to temptation and wind up committing a mortal sin (hence near occasion of sin). Does this sound about right?
If so, it would seem feeling uncertain indicates you didn’t commit this sin because it seems to demonstrate a lack of full knowledge and deliberate consent, even if these come out of a simple error in judgement as a opposed to a moral fault.