Near occasion to sin and scrupulosity

Hey everyone,

I have a problem regarding the near occasion to sin.

Basically, I was invited to go somewhere with some friends, and I said I could go. Now I’m worried that it could be a near occasion to sin. The event itself isn’t bad, in fact it’s at a Christian/Catholic friendly event. The problem is that I am scrupulous and get tempted towards sinful thoughts extremely easy, mostly because of ocd/scrupulosity. At things like this I’m usually not a strong as I could be at fighting temptations and could give in at least briefly, and so I don’t really want to go because of this. On the other hand, I don’t want to cancel on my friends if I’m just being over sensitive and scrupulous. This is causing me a good deal of anxiety, any advice appreciated. Would this be a near occasion to sin?

Thank you!

That depends upon what the event is. That said, you should seek the help of a priest for scrupulosity, as diverse opinions from random strangers on the internet will only serve to heighten/validate your anxiety. You’re in my prayers


Rules from a Redemptorist for those with a scrupulous conscience:

“If you have doubts about an obligation to act/not to act, proceed how you think is best and rest assured you do not have an obligation.”

Obligations on positive law do not bind the scrupulous conscience.

And listen, if you avoid religious events because you’re afraid you’ll look at someone or something lustfully, you’ll destroy yourself. Every single piece of feedback I’ve gotten from clergy tell me essentially that you cannot be so afraid of evil so as to box yourself inside.

That’s bad for your health.

If you are scrupulous and have OCD, it’s** so important for you to find one spiritual director.

In the meantime, go out with your friends. :thumbsup:

If it’s a Christian themed event, how bad could it be? :confused:

Something got lost in translation there for that is not quite the case per se.

I missed that part, sorry. Read too fast.


A* near occasion* for a mortal sin is some thing or person or place etc what generally leads (or likely or always) one to commit a particular mortal sin…or likely will cause one to commit the mortal sin in question (full knowledge, complete consent).

Such can be of a nature that it generally leads most to sin…or particular to a person.

It is not just a temptation per se. Often times one must be around certain temptations due to duty or the simply the society we live in.

And it is not a “remote occasion” where one could be perhaps tempted but generally one does not fall. Such are often in our society.

*A near occasion *for a mortal sin is some thing or person or place etc what generally leads (or likely or always) one to commit a particular mortal sin…or likely will cause one to commit the mortal sin in question (full knowledge, complete consent).

Thanks for the replies! I just asked a priest today, and he said to remain calm and that we need to stay away from things that lead us to sin. It was more of general answer though so I’m still not completely sure what to do. I feel like the reason why I would think bad thoughts there is primarily because i’m so worried about thinking them there. It’s not really the event itself it’s more that when I’m at places with a lot of people I get horrible thoughts. I’m the kind of person who gets bad thoughts sometimes most often when at church during Mass. I think that if I stayed home everything would be better and maybe that’s what I should do, but I don’t know.

Yes such is an ancient difficulty discussed in spiritual works (aside from any OCD …) for the “fear” yes is apt to be followed by such thoughts.

Now - try for a few moments to not think of an owl.

Then scroll down.

What did you think of?

An owl.

You need not just " a Priest" but a regular confessor who knows you (at least in confession) and your difficulties (scruples et al) and can then direct* you.*

He can even give you general principles to apply in your case -such is the age old approach in the Church to scruples.

A person without scruples – can have all sorts of thoughts happen to them without any sin. For they do not want them -do not consent.

A person with scruples or with OCD can have all sorts of thoughts happen to them - and especially in the case of OCD --without any sin. They do not want them. Do not consent to them.

If such happens to one - best to simply not consent --but not fight them so much “directly” not “fear them overly”-- but relax and turn to some good thing.

(from previous post of mine)

Regarding unwanted thoughts

While Jesus makes it clear that one can sin in ones thoughts…just because some lustful thought or other like thought happens does not mean that one has sinned…

What should we do with unwanted sexual thoughts or other “bad thoughts”? Those pesky temptations that can come …even though we are not seeking them or doing anything wrong to bring them etc…

What about mortal sin?

For a mortal sin one needs a grave matter …full knowledge AND deliberate consent!!!

Deliberate consent…full consent needs be given in order to commit a mortal sin.

A. If you do not want the thought…it the thought displeases you: such can be a sign actually that you did not give any consent or do not give full consent.

B. Even if you felt a temptation for the thought – and were drawn to it involuntarily —but rejected it and maybe even turned right to God : again a sign not full consent (if there was any).

C. A temptation can even be very strong or the thoughts very often – but this does NOT mean one has consented!

Remember --for it to be mortal there must be that deliberate consent! Complete consent

What to do? on the spiritual side–relax first of all and remember the above.

Next – know that the more one fears the thoughts the more likely they are to come… or said another way --the more a person stress about seeking to avoid the thoughts the more likely he will have a problem with them.

for example: for the next 10 seconds try NOT to think of an apple.

tick tock …

tick tock…

Ok what did you think of?

Most likely an apple.

So it is best to ignore them and just not consent and then turn your attention to some other good thing…for instance whatever good you are doing.

Simply do not consent and move on…

Another point – thoughts can just happen --they are the stuff with which we think…it is up to us to consent and take them further or not. And just because they return or almost “think themselves” does not mean per se that one has given ANY consent.

They can be annoying…but need cause no actual harm …

Now difficulties with thoughts can happen to anyone…and has for centuries…nothing new!..but I will note too that “some” have a condition known as OCD (I knew someone with this once…it was a painful experience)…and thus should seek further professional help to live a more peaceful life…(they can experience ego-distonic thoughts that feel like they force their way in -rather unwanted painful thoughts…)

Also some suffer from scrupulosity and ought to have a regular confessor.

(he can direct one in “acting against scruples”).

There is a story from the desert of the early Centuries of the Church where a younger hermit when to an older one with the problems of thoughts happening to him all the time…the older hermit told him to go outside open his cloak and catch the wind.

The younger hermit said such is not possible…

the older hermit replied --neither is it possible to stop all the thoughts that can come to you…your choice… is say yes or no.

(and best to say “no” – by turning to something else)

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