I have OCD/scrupulosity. I take meds and receive counseling for it. I looked at pictures on the Internet which were not pornographic. In them there were four skinny shirtless guys from the waist up. But the name of the photo collection was “Nudes” or something like that. Now, I had seen some of those pictures before and knew that the ones I’d seen were not pornographic.
But when I saw that this was the title of the collection, I started to worry that perhaps there might be pornographic images in the collection after all. This is one of my triggers; when I get the idea in my mind that there might be pornography, my anxiety kicks in and I feel I have to “check” and make sure that it is not pornography, or that certain people are not in it.
So I looked at the collection (there were 14 pictures, I think). And (just like I suspected), none of them were pornographic, they were all just waist-up pictures of the skinny guys without shirts. The title “Nudes” seems to have been intended as a joke. Anyway, now I am worried that I may have committed a mortal sin by putting myself in danger of possibly seeing pornography (even though it turned out to be nothing pornographic). Thoughts?
*Baltimore Catechism *shows that we are bound to avoid situations in which we always fall. First, you did not fall in mortal sin so this is not the case of a near occasion. The other kind we must avoid is voluntary occasion, and you have stated that you do not have full control with your psychological condition: voluntary applies to what you can avoid that is known to be sinful. You said the viewing was not sinful, so this is not voluntary occasion.
Q. 771. What do you mean by the near occasions of sin?
A. By the near occasions of sin I mean all the persons, places and things that may easily lead us into sin.
Q. 772. Why are we bound to avoid occasions of sin?
A. We are bound to avoid occasions of sin because Our Lord has said: “He who loves the danger will perish in it”; and as we are bound to avoid the loss of our souls, so we are bound to avoid the danger of their loss. The occasion is the cause of sin, and you cannot take away the evil without removing its cause.
Q. 773. Is a person who is determined to avoid the sin, but who is unwilling to give up its near occasion when it is possible to do so, rightly disposed for confession?
A. A person who is determined to avoid the sin, but who is unwilling to give up its near occasion when it is possible to do so, is not rightly disposed for confession, and he will not be absolved if he makes known to the priest the true state of his conscience.
Q. 774. How many kinds of occasions of sin are there?
A. There are four kinds of occasions of sin:
[INDENT]Near occasions, through which we always fall;
Remote occasions, through which we sometimes fall;
Voluntary occasions or those we can avoid; and
Involuntary occasions or those we cannot avoid.
A person who lives in a near and voluntary occasion of sin need not expect forgiveness while he continues in that state.
Q. 775. What persons, places and things are usually occasions of sin?
The persons who are occasions of sin are all those in whose company we sin, whether they be bad of themselves or bad only while in our company, in which case we also become occasions of sin for them;
The places are usually liquor saloons, low theaters, indecent dances, entertainments, amusements, exhibitions, and all immoral resorts of any kind, whether we sin in them or not;
The things are all bad books, indecent pictures, songs, jokes and the like, even when they are tolerated by public opinion and found in public places.
Yes I understand that version of the that older local Catechism used the term “always fall”. But I would not suggest that as the only measure of a near occasion of mortal sin.
Rather it is I think better to be put something like this:
A near occasion of mortal sin is such where one would generally falls into mortal sin -one generally commits a mortal sin (or even always!)–or is what is likely to cause one to commit a particular mortal sin now. Due to the nature of thing itself or ones particular weakness.
Though there can at times be good reasons to be in them…ones confessor can guide one (necessary occasions…which one still tries to make more remote…)
As to the other person I will post for them in a moment.
Discuss what happened with your regular confessor.
I will re-post another older post of mine (general information regarding scrupulosity)
A person struggles with scruples - what ought they do?
A person with scrupulosity --ought to have a “regular confessor” who can direct them --and even give them some general principles to follow -to apply (principles for them due to their particular scruples -they are usually not for those with a normal conscience).
Thus with their direction they can “dismiss scruples” (in the older language despise them) - “act against them” (agere contra).
For example he might direct a particular penitent with scruples: “unless your certain of having committed mortal sin - make an act of contrition and go to Holy Communion.”
The Confessor will know his particular penitent and his scruples and can direct him.
Scruples are to be dismissed ~ not argued with.
To borrow and image from a Carthusian from centuries ago: Scruples are like a barking dog or a hissing goose -one does not stop to argue with a barking dog or a hissing goose does one? No one keeps walking.
Such ‘obedience’ to a regular confessor who knows of ones scruples (except in what is manifest sin - such as if he told them it was ok to murder someone or something certain like that) is key. Such is the age old practice.
Here was a post from Jimmy Akin of CA that I saw in the Register and saved for those who struggle with such.