near occasion of sin

what exactly are near occasions of sin? and apparently it’s a sin to put yourself in this situation?

I get a lot of unwanted feelings and thoughts, however there is no desire to act on these thoughts and feelings or even entertain them. would it still be a near occasion of sin to be in situations that may cause these unwanted things? for example, if being around a particular person somemtimes causes feelings of anger but you would never actually say or do anything, or something similar for jealousy. or sexual arousal that is not really related, it just happens and you don’t even want it. anyways, I could go on but you get the point.

it’s hard to discern these things with my scruples. anytime I’ve brought it up in confession, I just get the response “don’t worry” whihch, isn’t actually that practical for a scrupulous person. but maybe I am misunderstanding what a near occasion of sin is supposed to be.

sometimes I really wish God had installed an off switch for my brain

(re-posting an older post of mine)

Occasions of sin…

There are all sorts of remote occasions of sin in life…all sorts of possible good things that one can do --where there is a possibility that some temptation and occasion of sin may come.

Normally we are* not* “obliged” to avoid “remote” occasions of sin.

We simply cannot avoid all such things nor are we usually obliged to do so. We would have to knock ourselves unconscious…

What then is a “near” occasion of mortal sin that we are to avoid especially?

It is not simply temptation (though let us seek to avoid temptations).

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 personal weakness.

Though there can at times be good reasons to be in them…ones confessor can guide one or those that cannot be avoided (involuntary) (necessary occasions…which one still tries to make more remote…)

Those are general principles one can apply. Ones confessor can guide one. In specifics.

(I will re-post a post I posted before - general remarks about “unwanted thoughts”)


All sorts of thoughts can happen to us out of the blue…(not sought etc)

The fact that a thought happened to one- does not mean per se there was any sin.

And for mortal sin one needs not only grave matter, full knowledge and deliberate (complete) consent…

Just cause a thought happened to you does not mean there was any sin. Let alone mortal sin.

Just calmly turn to something good…


For the next few moments --try real hard NOT to think of an Apple.

then scroll down.

What did you think of?

An apple.

Even though your will was against it (you did not want to think of an apple!)

Now back to unwanted thoughts…

The more you fear and try hard not to have them…the more they will likely come and bother you.

The best thing to do with such thoughts is not to fight them directly --not fear that they will come—simply do not consent and simply and calmly turn to something else…(or it may be best to keep doing the good thing one is doing…like they come out of the blue when your at work …keep working…keep praying …etc…calmly ignoring them…turning to something good…)

Ignore such unwanted thoughts like one would ignore a hissing goose or a barking dog. One does not stop to argue with a hissing goose or a barking dog does one? No one keeps on walking…

(as noted above the image there comes from a Carthusian Monk from centuries ago…)

Ignore such unwanted thoughts and do not fear them…just calmly turn to something good.

(I will re-post another older post of mine -general information regarding scruples…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). The same Priest who can thus know them and their difficulties and direct them.

Thus with their direction they can “dismiss scruples” (in the older language despise them) - “act against them”.

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.

Also counseling -(especially if one also has OCD) could be helpful depending on the case -but one would want to look for a counselor who can assist one in following the Churches Teachings - not go contrary to them (I have heard CA staff mention

Here is post from Jimmy Akin of CA that I saw in the Register and saved for those who struggle with such.

Bookcat has helped me with the unwanted thoughts. I would consider arguing with a hissing goose if I was bored.

you’re right about that. the more I try to not think ofit, the more they come. eventually they subside, for reasons unknown, after a certain amount of time

Bookcat has me thinking nonstop about apples. I also might argue with a hissing goose. Although, I recommend walking the other way if it is guarding a nest. They will attack.

Thankfully Bookcat does not like apples overly much.

Practically speaking, a near occasion of sin would be like a person who has an alcohol abuse problem hanging out in a bar; a person who has a porn problem visiting a porn site. Putting yourself in situations that you know can cause you to sin, or not removing yourself from these situations when you unwittingly find yourself in them, but allowing yourself to continue to be tempted.

Temptation is not a sin, that is something that should be made clear, esp. to people who are scrupulous, but putting yourself deliberately into tempting situations when it can be avoided or not removing yourself from them when it is possible can lead to sin. Those are occasions when sin is near–near occasions of sin. They are to be avoided as much as possible, but at times, they occur without warning, and one needs to resist the temptation.

sorry Carolyn, now I’m just more confused. any unwanted feelings or thoughts I have do not make me desire sin, let’s say I get angry or jealous of someone, the thoughts may come unwillingly, but I don’t want to dwell on them, or say or do anything mean. or if there is sexual arousal, i wouldn’t want to think or act on that either.

do i still have to avoid all these situations? sometimes i know that a certain situation may lead to bad feelings, but it doen’st always happen even if it’s the same person or the same situaiton

See my posts above…

Distinguish near occasion of mortal sin…from that which is not such.

Distinguish that which is a temptation or even a scruple.

Have a regular confessor to direct you.

We all have unwanted feelings and thoughts, and this is not sinful. If one dwells on the thought and nourishes it willingly, that is when things can become sinful. You can’t avoid everything because you MAY have unwanted thoughts. But if you know that a certain situation causes you to commit sin, that situation should be avoided. But just having unwanted thoughts which are not sought after and can be dismissed does not mean you have to avoid a situation.

Here is an example from posters on these forums: many people have posted that when they go up to receive Communion, or during Mass,blasphemous thoughts come into their heads, which they never sought or wanted. Does that mean they should avoid Mass or Communion? No. Saints have wrestled with this problem. If these things are not sought after and unwanted and are dismissed, no sin is involved, and the situation does not need to be avoided. Don’t confuse unwanted thoughts or desires or temptations with actual sinning. Sin is an act of thee will.

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