Near Occasions

Hi CAF members,

Just how “near” and how “unnecessary” does an occasion of sin have to be, in order to require confession? Recently, I thoroughly read about the specific sexual content featured in a TV show. Reading about it started to bother me with images in my mind. I paused but chose to finish reading because, even though they bothered me, I do not usually consent to them. I don’t think I ended up fully consenting. Was it mortally sinful, then, to subject myself to words that I know will put images in my mind but only rarely or even sometimes lead to full consent? I didn’t absolutely have to keep reading, but I wanted to know if the content was that bad and frequent enough to avoid the show altogether. Was this a good enough reason to be in a near occasion (if it was near)?

I wanted to dismiss this as scruples, but it has been bothering me since last night. Also, while I think I’m scrupulous, no one has explicitly labeled me as one. The closest “diagnosis” I got was a confessor saying that I was bordering on scrupulosity. I also wonder if it should’ve been worth asking a nearby friend for a ride to confession today.

If you are concerned about it
, take it to a good priest and ask him for guidance

You should probably discuss this with your confessor. “This” being whether or not you are indeed scrupulous and whether or not your continued reading was a sinful near occasion of sin. I only say this because you don’t seem to be able to judge this on your own and we, simple viewers of your post, cannot judge from our perspective, either.

Since you are unable to judge whether or not it is even sinful at all, do not worry about being in a state of mortal sin as you have not met the three requirements of (1) grave matter (2) full knowledge and (3) full consent of the will.

What a choice;
keep watching smut and consider you suffer from scruples
or stop watching smut.

Thanks for the replies; I’ll try to meet a priest asap. Mary, which criteria did I fail to meet? Full knowledge? I did briefly consider if I should stop reading, but I chose to continue anyway. Of course, I realize that I may still be asking a question only a spiritual director can answer.

Er, I don’t think you read my post carefully enough, though looking back I should have specified that imdb was where I went to read about exactly what the show contained to see if it was safe to watch. My eyes only saw words, no images. What I struggle with is if even doing that constituted a sinful near occasion because the words brought images to my mind, though I didn’t intend them or fully consent to them.

It seems, and I dare not say I am close to certain - but it seems you have to pass through your understanding of moral choices, to more authoritative teaching.

You seem determined to avoid the consequence of your sins, henceforth to eternity you will battle with your self-will to choose the good.

I recommend you frequently read the bible among your other exercises (day and night, daily- as it says in Ps 1 and taught by S. Athanasius) This exercise will lead to prosperity in your moral life, for it is the “door” (Jn 10 and taught by S. John Chrysostom) to the Father.

Skyching,

You did not meet any of the criteria: (1) it was not grave matter, just a near occasion of sin or venial in nature, (2) although you considered stopping reading it doesn’t seem you were sure of yourself and (3) you yourself say you did not fully consent.

Be at peace.

Thank you, but my confessor said otherwise. He told me that the presence of images in the mind does make it a near occasion, even if one is confident that no consent to them will occur, and that it should be brought to confession because I consented to continue reading, i.e. remain in the occasion, even though I did not fully consent to lust.

Oh, definitely bring this to confession. I did not say otherwise, but did your confessor identify this as mortal sin?

Can you continue watching smut, when images are formed in your mind?

Not directly, but when I said something like “I guess this a mortal sin”, he did not object. I said that because I read that voluntary and unnecessary near occasions of grave sins are themselves grave sins, though not the same as the sin that was occasioned.

Can you continue watching smut, when images are formed in your mind?

I am confused by your use of “watch”; it makes it sound like I looked at physical images, which is not what I did, or else I would not have made this thread. “Reading” and “watching” are not synonymous, and what I was reading was not something like 50 Shades but a content warning, like the ones that parents read to see if a movie is appropriate for their children, but it seems my mind is too sensitive now to read even those… :frowning:

How can that be a near occasion. Your confessor is wrong. I urge you to see a priest about scrupulosity. You sound like me

Skyching,

Don’t pay attention to what Idolatry is writing. He/She is a new member to the forums and is not being helpful to you.

John of Woking’s comment doesn’t make sense in that he says your confessor is wrong - see a priest. Presumably your confessor IS a priest :shrug: .

Trust your confessor, he knows you better than we do. I still don’t see how what you did consisted of Mortal Sin but you need to discuss this, in detail, with your priest confessor.

Be at peace.

What a choice;
keep watching smut and consider you suffer from scruples
or stop watching smut.

Äre you recommending to keep watching smut?

It’s hard to tell if he/she paid attention to what I wrote.

John of Woking’s comment doesn’t make sense in that he says your confessor is wrong - see a priest. Presumably your confessor IS a priest :shrug: .

To be fair, maybe John thought what I read was only brief. No, the content warning went over what happens in every sexual scene.

Trust your confessor, he knows you better than we do.

Well, I recently began attending a Catholic university, so the priests here do not know me that well, though this priest has seen me in confession thrice. However, he’s not the only one who’s heard my confessions, and I don’t have a regular confessor. I did meet another priest for spiritual direction but only once, and he’s the one I will see because he’s the designated spiritual director for my apartment community.

I still don’t see how what you did consisted of Mortal Sin but you need to discuss this, in detail, with your priest confessor.

What I read lately on other threads here and their sources, including the Baltimore Catechism and Catholic Encyclopedia, suggest that voluntary, unnecessary, and near occasions can be themselves mortally sinful. This means I’ll have a lot of questions for the priest, including

[LIST=1]
*]Do I have to avoid morally neutral and even good images and activities that will probably “trigger” bad thoughts?
*]Couldn’t avoidance actually make things worse, making my mind more sensitive? A Catholic psychologist hosted by Catholic Answers Live talked about “exposure therapy” as a way to rehabilitate criminals.
*]If I don’t know if something is a near occasion, is it ok to proceed anyway and see what happens?
[/LIST]

Be at peace.

Thank you again. Peace be with you too.

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