Mortal sin or no


Here’s the story. I’m 99% sure that I have pretty bad scrupulosity. I was received into the Church at the beginning of June and I haven’t received communion since, even though I’ve been to confession plenty.
So I went to confession on Wednesday with the intention of attending daily mass on Thursday, just so that I can receive at some point because I haven’t in so long and I’m starting to go a little bit crazy because I’m pretty sure I have ZERO ability to distinguish mortal from venial sin.
Anyways, turns out I was busy today, so I just figured I’ll just go to Friday daily mass. Who commits a mortal sin in one day, right?

So one of the things that I confessed with various troubles with my mother, in particular, being unable to accept when she has laid down the law. The biggest problem we have is that she will not allow me to ride my bike very far away from the house, no more than 1, maybe 2 miles away and only depending on the direction I’m going (1 mile into the suburbs, fine, 1 mile into the city, no). I’ve admittedly been pushing hard against this because I think it is a ridiculous rule, and that is something that I confessed on Wednesday.

Today, we were driving in the car right, and the topic turned to insomnia, which turned to the topic of how I need more exercise. I used to ride my bike a lot until she decided it was too dangerous for me to ride into the city. So I said “I would ride my bike more often, but you won’t let me leave a 2 mile radius” and she started defending herself with how running is better exercise anyways, and I started arguing about how I prefer biking because I want to get someplace instead of running in circles, but the point is totally defeated when I can hardly leave the neighborhood, ect.
I also mentioned something about riding along the river instead, and she said something about there being “bad sorts” hanging out by the river. And my sister said that she had never seen anyone on the trail but bikers, and my mom said “they are lurking”. So my sister started laughing about how ridiculous that sounded and I joined in because yes, it sounds ridiculous. But now I am feeling bad because it’s true, we were mocking her a little bit.
It was a brief dispute, but I am starting to feel worried because these are exactly the things that I JUST confessed on Wednesday. I honestly just can’t get the biking dispute out of my head. And I was so on the edge about going to confession at all because I wasn’t sure if I could actually resolve to resigning myself to these ridiculous overprotective rules without a fight. Eventually I decided I could, and I confessed, but now apparently I can’t.

Should I stay home from mass tomorrow and try to go to confession again on Saturday? Like I said, I am scrupulous, and I don’t know if these sins are minor or major. But this is also against the 5th commandment and it is a sin that I am struggling with so hard and I don’t know when or if I will get past it.


I keep thinking “Stay home just in case”. Just in case. Just in case. Because if I go I will probably end up convincing myself, at some point, that it was indeed mortal sin and that i just committed sacrilege in addition. I do so many things “just in case”. I’m fairly sure I am OCD and back before I was Catholic I would do so many ridiculous superstitious things “just in case” that it got to the point where I felt like the tiny details that COULD be anything were running my life. And now I’m Catholic and I keep doing things, once again “just in case”. And I don’t know when I’m ever going to be able to receive communion again because there is ALWAYS , mark my words there will always, always, always be SOMETHING that makes me feel like I have not only committed a mortal sin or two without even thinking twice about it, but I’m about to heap a huge whopping sacrilege right on top of it. And every time I go to confession I think “It will be fine I will beat out the thoughts” but I can’t, they are always there, always.

Most of you will say I need help from a spiritual director or confessor and I think it’s probably time to give up and admit that I do. I don’t know how to go about that, though. But I need to do something soon.


I wouldn’t recommend not going to Mass. Mass is the greatest form of prayer we have in our arsenal. It is a divinely instituted and perfect sacrifice to God performed by the priest on behalf of the Church. Your attendance is pleasing to God. Being in a state of sin doesn’t keep anybody from attending Mass; we are still encouraged to attend to reap the spiritual benefits of prayer and physical presence before the Blessed Sacrament. If you are truly worried about receiving the Eucharist because you believe you are in a state of mortal sin, however, stay in the pew and don’t receive Him. The modern practice of “everybody get up to receive the bread and wine,” places a stigma on staying in the pew, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. It is a display of humility on your part and is encouraged.

And in terms with your relationship with your mother:
You are not required to agree with everything she says. However, God has commanded each of us to honor our mother and father, paralleling the love and obedience we owe to the Trinity, to the Church, and to the Virgin Mary.
Fighting is the outward sign of disobedience to your mother. But what is happening inside? Are you perhaps not taking fully into account the deep, motherly love she has for you? Are you trusting too much in your own judgement to understand why she is setting the rules she is?
You certainly have the right to discuss with her the biking situation. But if her decision is a just one that does not lead you to sin, you owe her obedience out of humility.

Recall that Christ loves obedience because it is born out of love. Satan’s first temptation is usually pride, because pride is selfish and ultimately leads to disobedience.


Absolutely. Many people fall into the dangerous trap of viewing the Christian faith as something practiced in solitude. They believe that they can fight temptation and achieve sanctity alone, as if they were a spiritual lone-ranger.
But God instituted the Church because He knows that we, as humans, need the help of other people to get by. We need the familial help of our spiritual fathers, brothers, and sisters to be set back on track. Nobody has the ability to fight alone, not even saints. If they believe they can, they have been misled by the devil.

I would definitely recommend getting a confessor and a spiritual director. In fact, your spiritual director can be your confessor. It would save you the trouble of having to relate everything twice.
Just go to the weekly confession that is likely at your parish. And if there isn’t one, find a priest that you trust and simply ask if he can take on the role. He shouldn’t refuse you; that is his job as a priest.


You must not skip mass because you cannot receive communion. It is not always easy to determine gravity, so a priest could help you do that.

Notice below from the Catechism, that the Fourth Commandment is about respect for parental authority (2197, 2199), and includes speech (2198), and that the parents have duties (2199). Ask yourself if your mother was wrong in fulfilling her duty to protect you, and if she did not have authority over you? Even if she was wrong in fulfilling her duty towards you, it would still be unacceptable to object disrespectfully. The issue may be grave or not depending on what is being demanded.

It rage occurs and you willfully choose vengeful thoughts or actions, it also involves the Fifth Commandment. Those could be grave or not grave.

If there is a disagreement, then it should only be expressed respectfully. If obedience is due, and what is demanded is not immoral, it should be done if morally possible. Obedience expresses humility and love. Contempt is willful disrespect for lawful authority, and stubbornness is willful determination not to yield to lawful authority.2197 The fourth commandment opens the second table of the Decalogue. It shows us the order of charity. God has willed that, after him, we should honor our parents to whom we owe life and who have handed on to us the knowledge of God. We are obliged to honor and respect all those whom God, for our good, has vested with his authority.

2198 This commandment is expressed in positive terms of duties to be fulfilled. It introduces the subsequent commandments which are concerned with particular respect for life, marriage, earthly goods, and speech. It constitutes one of the foundations of the social doctrine of the Church.

2199 The fourth commandment is addressed expressly to children in their relationship to their father and mother, because this relationship is the most universal. It likewise concerns the ties of kinship between members of the extended family. It requires honor, affection, and gratitude toward elders and ancestors. Finally, it extends to the duties of pupils to teachers, employees to employers, subordinates to leaders, citizens to their country, and to those who administer or govern it.

This commandment includes and presupposes the duties of parents, instructors, teachers, leaders, magistrates, those who govern, all who exercise authority over others or over a community of persons.


Sounds like scrupulosity, to me.

I think you need a support group and/or a good spiritual director.

You’re missing out on so much Grace by not receiving the Eucharist as often as you can.


Receiving communion actually strengthens us to avoid mortal sin so receiving it regularly is the greatest gift on Earth.


Also, your mom may not be so ridiculous as you think, so try and trust her judgement a bit more. She really does have much more experience than you in life. She knows and understands things that you may not. Especially if you’re a female, it is indeed more dangerous for you to be in certain places, and it sounds like you’re less than 18, too. These dangers are not imaginary. There indeed are some bad people out there in the city- perhaps not many, but some of those few are indeed very bad people.

You need to talk about this scrupulosity of yours to a priest. Tell him what you have told us. It’s important.

God Bless You!!


Also keep in mind that, although it is sacrilege to receive Holy Communion while in a state of mortal sin, it is also discouraged to avoid receiving the Blessed Sacrament simply because we believe we are unworthy. Recall that one of the prayers we say before we receive the Blessed Sacrament is “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

There is a fine line between scrupulosity and a saintly desire for complete holiness. Ask yourself this question: is the knowledge of your sinfulness drawing you to draw closer to God, or is it making you hesitant to approach Him out of guilt? Does knowledge of your sinfulness lead you to pray more, or does it cause you to avoid prayer and signs of devotion until your Confession?

One is based on love of God, the other is based on self-condemnation. There’s nothing wrong with holding yourself accountable for all that you do, including your venial sins. What matters is the spirit you do it in.


Ugh. That’s the curse of always thinking “just in case”. Because it is always better to do something ‘discouraged’ than to commit sacrilege. And when OCD kicks in, you will ALWAYS go the safe route. Every time. No matter what.
I don’t want to go the “safe route”, I want to receive communion, but the fear of committing sacrilege overwhelms everything and prevents me from receiving if I think there is anything at all that could mean I am not in a state of grace.

And no, it doesn’t draw me closer to God. It draws me closer to making some very, very bad decisions that are exceptionally far from God and the Church and all that is holy. For example joining a Protestant church has crossed my mind. The only thing is, I understand that it’s not the Church’s fault, it’s clearly my fault. I just don’t seem to have any control over the situation because believe me when I say nothing works


Rememeber that There is no obligation to confess doubtful sins. The Pope Pius X catechism asks:

*]If a person is not sure of having committed a sin, must he confess it?
The answer is:

*]If a person is not sure of having committed a sin, he is not obliged to confess it; but if he wishes to, he must add that he is not sure of having committed it.

The rule is “conscious of grave sin” or “aware of a serious sin”:
CIC Can. 960 Individual and integral confession and absolution constitute the sole ordinary means by which a member of the faithful who is conscious of grave sin is reconciled with God and with the Church. Physical or moral impossibility alone excuses from such confession, in which case reconciliation may be attained by other means also.

CCEO Can. 720.1. Individual and integral confession and absolution constitute the ordinary way by which the Christian faithful who is aware of a serious sin is reconciled with God and the Church; only physical or moral impossibility excuses one from confession of this type, in which case reconciliation can take place in other ways.


I used to have that same problem myself. What helped me was hearing a seminarian say that Christianity is about a process of constant conversion.
While sin is obviously offensive to God, and while, especially as a recent convert or revert, our desire to please God can cause us to grow incredibly frustrated with ourselves, we need to remember that spirituality is a process of growth, and God knows that we will make mistakes. That is why He is so willing to offer us mercy.
Keep in mind that the Scriptures tell us that even the just man sins seven times a day. (Pr 24:16) If we were perfect here on Earth, we would be living in partial unity with God even in this physical existence. We would transcend physical laws and could maybe even fly or bilocate, which some of the saints did (very few, though.)

Pope Francis, when asked who he thought he was, stated that he was a sinner seeking the mercy of God.

Don’t beat yourself up. If God can forgive you, you should forgive yourself too.


Thank you for the responses.

Unfortunately, I don’t know if I’m ever going to receive communion without confession directly before mass. This is a mental block that I have experienced many, many times before, and it doesn’t simply go away. It feels so stupid. I should be able to tell myself the truth and believe it, right? But it’s just not so easy. Even if I know, 100% certain in my head and in my heart, that I am writing down a list of venial sins…I have to go to confession. I have to.

Fortunately, I feel that I am generally ok when I have confession right beforehand. And that is an option for me, most weeks. I will make appointments, or travel to other parishes, or attend the Saturday vigil right after scheduled confession. And if I do so, I can hopefully receive communion every week.

I’ll keep my eye out for who I think I can trust as a regular confessor, and maybe this problem can not be not only treated, but cured. But I think in the meantime, I will keep a close distance between confession and communion and avoid the whole situation.

Thank you all again.


The faithful do confess doubtful sins, not because they are obliged to, but because it gives them peace of mind. However, those which are doubtful are already generally included. Integral confession does not require confession of doubtful sins.


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