Impure Thought vs Desire


I came across this, and am confused. Here is the link:

."'With thoughts impure pleasure is the object of the will, it is what is enjoyed, the pleasure itself. With impure desires, the object of the will is the doing of an evil action"

To my understanding, impure thoughts are just taking pleasure in the sin, and impure desires are actually WANTING to commit the sin?


Oh, and would “lust” count as impure desire?


I think you are on the right track, but I would love to see more responses on this, as it’s an interesting question.

This offers a bit more discussion on the issue:

If I’m understanding correctly, a voluntary impure thought would be where you willfully allow a thought into your mind so that you can enjoy that thought and the pleasure the thought brings you. An impure desire would be to actually will to move beyond that thought and go do that thing.

An example might be if a man sees a woman and finds her attractive, so he willfully imagines what it would be like to have relations with her. However, he doesn’t actually want to do this – he just wants the pleasure the idea gives him. Given the opportunity to do this, he would say no, but he likes enjoying the idea. This would be an impure thought, if I understand correctly.

An example of impure desire would be if the man were to think, “Wow, I’d really like to have relations with her.” He actually wants to do that thing. He might decide that there is no way to make it happen or that the consequences would be too great, but his desire is to commit the sin.

Now, if the man, upon first seeing this woman, has a thought pop into his head but upon recognizing the impurity of the thought rejects it and does his best to push the thought out of his head, he has not committed a sin at all, because he has not willfully engaged in the thought.

Of course, it’s not hard to see that a voluntary impure thought could quickly lead to an impure desire.

Normally I try to post a response unless I’m sure I’m right. I’m posting here even though I might be off track so that I can be corrected if I’m wrong.


In a scenario where you think of something impure and take pleasure in it - perhaps imagine that a part of you would like to do it but know for sure that you would never ever consider doing it - would this be an impure thought or an impure desire.



This sounds like it may be a gray area, in which you aren’t sure whether you had an actual desire to do this thing. But remember, both impure thoughts and impure desires are to be rejected. And sin, whether venial or mortal, is to be rejected.

Still, God isn’t out to get you. If you are struggling to be chaste in your thoughts but accidentally slip up sometimes, the Lord knows this. The commission of a mortal sin requires grave matter, our full knowledge and deliberate consent. Thoughts sometimes emerge without our consent, and it may take us a moment to recognize the impurity of a given thought. So do your best, trust in Jesus, and if you think you probably crossed a line, receive the gift that is Confession.


The two links at the bottom of this post may be helpful, too:


what level of detail is required in confession for impure desires. I understand for example that if the object of impure desires is married this has to be mentioned. Is it necessary to confess details of what the impure desires actually were?


You only sin if you purposely entertain impure thoughts. With impure desires, our sinful nature is prone to desire sinful thoughts/behaviors. We will have desires and thoughts that are bad, but as long as we don’t give consent to them, then we have not sinned. Sin only occurs if you want to think the impure thoughts or want to act on the impure desires, not simply just because they are there.


Personally, I just say what the sin was and usually don’t offer more details unless the priest asks. For example, I mights say, “Since my last Confession, I have allowed myself to entertain lustful thoughts on three occassions.”

Usually the priests find that sufficient. Once in a while I will offer more detail if I am trying to determine the gravity of the sin.


Regarding my previous comment, examples of details that might be worth noting might include whether you or the person for.whom you were lusting are married, as this could make the matter even more serious.


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