I did it AGAIN! Mortal or venial?

Just yesterday I was worried about driving to confession in another town while feeling a little bit tired. I had taken a prescription tranquilizer the night before but had waited 9 hours before driving. I thought I was okay but worried about it even as I pulled out of the garage. Last night I started a new medication (an anti-depressant–Cymalta. I had been on it briefly before), and I thought I felt okay to drive today. I wasn’t sleepy–but I felt just a little bit “funny” in my head. Slightly floaty–I don’t know how to describe it. I thought I drove okay—maybe came to a stop a little quickly two or three times. But after I got home I did start to feel sleepy and my head started to tingle. I thought back to years ago when I was on anti-depressants and had two car accidents in 6 months’ time. Now I feel it was foolish of me to drive today–what if I couldn’t even make a good decision about driving b/c I was in a little bit of a “fog”? I’m about ready to quit this med already. Would you say I’ve sinned mortally or venially in driving today?

Veronica, your numerous posts thinking every little thing you do is a sin points to scrupulous tendencies. PLEASE get professional help, starting with your pastor.

You should talk with your doctor or pharmacist to ask about side effects with this drug. There are some drugs where they recommend that you don’t drive and if this is one, then don’t drive while taking it. If this drug doesn’t have those kind of side effects then your driving problems may be related to something else.

This doesn’t strike me so much as something sinful but as a matter of prudence.

[size=]I just looked this up on the net. I probably read it before when I tried to take it a few months ago, but I had thrown the literature away.

[size=]“Cymbalta may cause sleepiness and dizziness. Until you know how Cymbalta affects you, you shouldn’t drive a car or operate hazardous machinery”[/size]

I thought I felt okay enough to drive–not sleepy or dizzy–just a little “floaty”. So would you say this was venial this time and possibly mortal if I do it again?[/size]

No, I’d say you need to talk to your priest about being scrupulous. Some things are neither venial nor mortal sins. Please get a spiritual advisor, it will help you.


 There must be 3 conditions present for a sin to be mortal.

 1.  The sin must be a grave (very serious) matter.
 2.  You must be fully aware that the sin is mortal.

 3.  You must give your full consent to committing the sin even though you know 
      the sin is mortal.

ALL 3 of these conditions must be present for the sin to be mortal . If only one or two of these conditions are met, I was taught that the sin is not mortal.

God is not trying to ‘catch’ you on a technicality. He is a God of love and mercy.

Wishing you peace.

Not realizing your medication is affecting your driving abilities is not a sin. It’s just a mistake.

I agree. At the time, you thought what you were doing was ok. Now you’ve been given a reason to reconsider. This isn’t a sin - it’s an understandable mistake. And gladly, it’s one that you can rectify in the future.

I agree with the others who have talked about scrupulosity.

If the drug interferes with your ability to drive, then don’t drive while taking it. Cultivate virtues like wisdom and prudence rather than focusing on whether it’s sinful.

Good point. I’m so worried about committing mortal sin and going to Hell that it prevents me from growing further spiritually. I have prayed the Novena to the Holy Spirit twice in the past, asking for the Gifts of the Spirit. How else can I develop wisdom and prudence? I seem to be able to counsel OTHERS in what they should do a lot of the time, but I seem to be blind where my own dilemmas are concerned.

Go to a priest and ask for spiritual guidance. Tell him you are scrupulous and need direction.

Taken from a very reputable book from the 19th century called The Way of Interior Peace by Fr. Lehen, pg. 99:

“To a mortal sin belong three points: 1st. Weighty matter; – a jesting lie, for example or a vain, self-conceited thought, is not sufficient for a mortal sin. 2d. Full knowledge of the evil; that is, the deliberate consciousness that what one does is a mortal sin. This excludes all cases in which the sin proceeds from surprise, or in which the soul is not full master of her powers; as, for example, in half-slumber, and the like. 3d. Full consent of the will to that which the understanding knows to be mortal sin. As long as the consent remains imperfect, or we are conscious of a certain hesitancy, a deferring, or a reproach of conscience in consequence of our neglect in combating the temptation, the sin is only venial.”

I hope this helps.

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.