I tried posting this before but it didn’t seem to go through. Sorry if there is a double post.
I’ll be making my very first confession this Saturday. Being a very scrupulous person, I am now in the process of re-writing my 20 page sin list for the second time to make sure that I get everything right, and that everything is organized and readable.
There is a huge temptation to put things that I’m not sure I did or things I am not sure are sinful JUST IN CASE.
Now I am wondering if this in itself is a sin. Is it?
Please, please, please help! I am feeling so overwhelmed.
Q: I’m having a difference of opinion with a friend who says that scrupulosity is a sin. I say it is not. What does the Catholic Church teach on this?
A: Genuine scrupulosity is not a free choice like preferring Snickers candy over Skittles. Scrupulosity is influenced by many factors beyond a person’s complete control. Although atheists can be scrupulous, we tend to describe their situation as seeking an impossible certainty or perfection.
We associate scrupulosity with a religious motivation, probably linked to a person’s mental image of God. If that is the case, there is some possibility of change once the individual realizes that no single mental image can represent God completely.
Someone whose scrupulosity is religiously related should seek the help necessary so that he or she can enjoy the inner freedom that flows from being made in God’s image and likeness (see Genesis 1:26).
We certainly need to reflect upon our decisions. Scrupulosity, however, is a continual agitation that maybe I could have made a better choice or perhaps God is angry with me over something that, in fact, a reasonable person would regard as not that important.
Under the heading “Scrupulosity” in the New Catholic Encyclopedia, Cyril James Harney, O.P., writes: "Deriving from the Latin scrupus, whose diminutive form scrupulus means a small sharp stone, scrupulosity signifies habitual and unreasonable hesitation, doubt, coupled with anxiety of mind, in connection with the making of moral judgments.
“The scrupulous person’s life journey has been aptly likened to that of a traveler whose pebble-filled shoes make every step painful and hesitant. Scruples render one incapable of making with finality the daily decisions of life.”
All the time and energy claimed by scrupulosity should be available for generously cooperating with God’s grace in a person’s life.
Basically get the list done to the best of your recollection of things you KNEW were a sin, the rest don’t worry about it. Once you are absolved, you are absolved. You will have a clean slate so to speak so go and sin no more.
absolved əbzɑ:lvd, æbzɑ:lvd]
1 absolved, clear, cleared, exculpated, exonerated, vindicated
freed from any question of guilt; “is absolved from all blame”; “was now clear of the charge of cowardice”; “his official honor is vindicated”