Is scrupulosity sinful?

I don’t see how could worrying about potentialy offending God be a sin, even in excess, but some say it is so I am asking is it.
From Wikipedia:
In 19th century Christian spiritual advisors in US and Britain is not only sin in itself, but also led to a sin, attacking virues of faith, hope and charity.

Scrupulosity is an illness. Your need spiritual help from your pastor for this situation.

going to confession and explaining your potential sins to your priest would be helpful. if he tells you that something is not sinful, put it out of your mind. not trusting God’s mercy is the sin. if you struggle with that, read more about it or ask to meet with your pastor and discuss it with him. God bless!

Scrupulosity is not necessarily an illness as you might just be taking yourself too seriously or you might just be extremely pious but not living your faith out yet in a way in which you can fully express your faith. I do agree with the other poster that if you are over-scrupulous you could do with seeing a priest, or a nun, as scrupulosity can turn into an illness if not kept in some kind of reasonable order. At the very least many scruples can take away from your sense of calm. I strongly advise praying the Rosary and asking Mary for help in overcoming scruples. Never a reason to panic. Nothing is impossible for God. :thumbsup::slight_smile:

Scrupulosity is often associated with OCD, but is also not an unusual part of growing in one’s faith, when someone is struck by the importance of avoidning offending God but has not yet gotten to a goid understanding of how to avoid offending God.

However, I recently read that those who *give in *to their scruples are thinking not about God but about themselves! Hence, scrupolous thoughts are a temptation and should be treated as such.

The problems you have posted about that I have read are all little things. Remember that venial sin does *not *remove grace from our soul, altho it does weaken our will. So you do not have to *fret *about these little things. Just pray an act of contrition and ask God to give you the grace and know-how to do His will the next time.

Other than that, treat these thoughts which cause you to fret about these events as distractions and temptations to focus on yourself rather than on God. And talk with your priest about all this–he will be able to better evaluate your current state of mind and will hopefully be able to offer good advice as to how to handle these issues.

Scruples can lead you to disengage from the world.

This disengagement can be sinful. You don’t serve, you don’t let your light shine. It also can cause you to unjustly judge people living normal lives since they don’t have scruples.

You need to get help regarding this.

Look at your recent posts.

Is it sin to pray while driving?
Is it a sin to talk too much?
Is saying something happened before Christ using the lords name in vain?
We can sin while dreaming?
Is using hot water sin?
Can I be sure I was absolved?

On and on.

You need professional help from your priest and maybe a counselor.

I think it’s a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

No, Scrupulosity is not a sin.

I can´t speak to it as a sin. I think it´s a mental health problem, an excess of concern, related to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

It causes many problems in these people´s lives, but I am unsure to what degree they are responsible.

They seem to have tremendous difficulty ever feeling at peace, will do things like go to confession excessively, fret and worry, confess the same sins again and again and again.

I think the Catechism may have been updated as knowledge of mental health progressed.

Scrupulosity can destroy your life. Talk to your priest as soon as possible. We have already advised you to do this in many of your threads. Why haven’t you done this?

I have struggled with scrupulosity before, and it was some of the most agonizing years of my life. Some speculate that it is what pushed Martin Luther over the edge. It’s not sinful, but it is a temptation, to a sort of inverted pride. It can lead to madness and even despair.

My rule of thumb for those struggling with scrupulosity: unless you would not hesitate to swear on a stack of Bibles that you sinned, beyond all doubt whatsoever, then you have not sinned. And do not confess anything that you doubt is a sin.

Praying for you :slight_smile:

I would argue that scrupulosity is the inability to assess moral affairs for oneself. I don’t think it is a sin of itself, but it is the opposite of having a “well formed conscience”. It could be said that it is having to much of a conscience, rather than poorly formed one, but I would disagree. A conscience must inform you of the moral dimension of your actions. If it is not doing so accurately then it is poorly formed.

Confession is intended, among other things of course, to help form our conscience rather than lead us to scrupulosity. Unfortunately, there seems to be a culture - as least from what I have experienced - of treating scrupulosity as the affliction of the highly devout, and therefore as more of a sign that someone is a good catholic (or a good moral agent) rather than a bad one. I have often heard how many saints were known to suffer from scrupulosity, or heard expressions such as “the more you confess, the more you confess”. However, if you find that such spiritual practices lead you scrupulosity, then such practices are more spiritually damaging than anything else.

For some people, confession has the unfortunate effect of making their conscience something external to themselves. This is because they rely on something (someone) external to pass judgment on their actions and internal states, and on their own moral judgments. Consequently, their own ability to reason morally is weakened, rather than reinforced.

but sins of omission and thought are so vaguely described in the catechism, how does one know for sure whether they have sinned or not without bringing it to confession? and if you don’t, the worry just weighs you down.

Mark Lowery wrote this wonderful article on CA about scrupulosity. It is worth the read for anyone dealing with scrupulosity. The link is below. God Bless!

wow, thank you. that’s not what i was thinking at all. i was just thinking it was a very careful watchfulness and lookout for sin. not offenses against greater and greater persons, and disbelief in God’s grace and mercy. doesn’t really seem to fit the definition.

I thought the same thing, the second I read the title of this thread. IMHO, scrupulosity is not a sin but a treatable psychological disorder than can be helped by medication.

I agree that that is a problem. But the problem doesn’t end there. Usually the spiritual guidance received during confession, or elsewhere, is too specific to the particular sin or simply too passive. It does not equip the Catholic to make competent moral judgments - within reason of course, I don’t want to say that we can judge ourselves as an alternative to practicing the faith. But it is clearly a prevalent problem, because scrupulosity seems to be a prevalent problem in the Church. And I would put it down to a failing on the part of the clergy to instil Catholics with a coherent idea of morality and the ability to act as autonomous moral agents. The faith is supposed to provide the criteria for making moral judgments; but , if we wish to preserve free will, the application of that criteria must be the task of the individual. That is what is really wrong about scrupulosity - it is a crisis of the free will.

A few notes:

  1. I would not say scrupulosity is a prevalent problem in the Church.
  2. Those who do struggle with such need actually to have a “regular confessor” they need that direct guidance. Only in time will they be able from such be able more and more to make judgments in the areas of their scruples. The regular confessor is key. Such is the age old practice.
  3. Scrupulosity can be varied in kind and degree and cause and is not something that simply is a lack of moral formation (though that can play a role). Not a failure on the part of the Clergy per se. Yes the Faith yes provides criteria - and a person with a well formed conscience according to the Teachings of the Church -is yes to make good judgments. But that is not the key problem for many of those with scrupulosity.

When I say prevalent I don’t mean it affects the majority. But it has been frequent throughout the Church’s history and has affected a number of saints. It is also a very common topic in these forums, and it is often mentioned in homilies and conversations among Catholics. I would say it has a considerable presence in the life of the Church. Maybe prevalent is not the word, but it is certainly a genuine and relatively common issue.

Confession will only be of use if the confessor addresses it adequately. It is conceivable, and does actually happen, that regular confession entrenches the issue. Or even worse, the previously scrupulous person could end up focusing exclusively the ritual aspects of the sacraments that their spiritual ones.(“I am good because I go to regular confession” rather than “I am good because I apply the moral lessons of my faith, grounded on instruction and which my reason ratifies, to the world”. After all, regular confession can also be a form of spiritual self-indulgence; it is easy to see how a person with a damaged free will and poorly formed conscience could swing from one extreme to the other).

If scrupulosity is not the lack of moral formation - or rather, the grasping of the moral principles imparted - what is it that causes it?

Yes sure. And yes common in the forums (I answers such questions often) But I would not call it prevalent in Church in the 21st Century.

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