One last question...


#1

First, I should state thatI know I am scrupulous, and I need to start discussing my problems with a priest. (In fact, I have already made plans to start discussing this stuff more in depth with my priest outside of confession. A first step, I guess…).

But in this particular case, I do not feel it would be appropriate. I need to discuss certain problems, and to go into the sufficient detail for the questions, as will become apparant, it would be much better if I remained anonymous (since it involves other people as well).

Basically, I live with my parents in Kentucky (both of which are Protestant Christians). To help out, I pay them about $85/week. They don’t require it of me, nor would they necessarily be mad at me if I didn’t pay it. However, for obvious reasons, I believe it the right thing to do since I do live with them (though I guess I could move out). Also, since my parents are raising my little nieces, my sister and brother-in-law in Illinois sends them $200 every month through the mail (I don’tknow if they claim it on taxes or not). And, sometimes, my father in his spare time at home works on computers that belong to other people from his workplace, which he gets paid for. He also sells stuff on ebay, and also to people from around where we live at times. And, of course, there are Christmas and birthday presents (usually money) my parents receive from family. (There might be other things I can’t remember at the moment…).

The problem is, my father does not report any of the above when he files his income tax returns. I don’t know enough about doing taxes to know whether or not this is required to be reported. (I have a hard enough time worrying about my own taxes). Perhaps it is simply me being scrupulous.

I asked a lady at H&R Block last February about the money I give them, and she said that what I gave didn’t need to be reported by him. However, I didn’t describe the other stuff to the person from H&R Block that he doesn’t report. That being the case, I’m afraid that if it is something that needs to be reported, I might be doing something wrong by continuing to give money to them. That is, I am afraid that, perhaps the money I give him would not need to be reported if it was by itself, but that when you include everything else above in addition to it, then perhaps that would require the money I give to be reported as well; I have absolutely no idea.

Also, there are other things that concern me, as far as what my father does concerning computers…For instance, when he only has 1 CD of certain computer software (for instance, Windows 98), he will use it on multiple computers in our household (despite what the liscence agreement states). Also, like I said above, he often works on other peoples computers, and when he does so he will often load software on those computers from the software CD’s he owns (though I don’t believe he charges them for that, I should add; I think he only charges them for his actual labor on their computers). And he’s also bought quite a few laptops off ebay, that would already have software on them such as Windows 98 (perhaps put on there illegally, as far as I know). Plus he also sells computers at times, (which would have software on there illegally.)

Anyway, the point of this post isn’t to detail my dad’s sins, of course. I love my dad, and he’s a very good person. The point is simply to ask a few questions about my responsibility in the matter…

  1. Would I be doing anything wrong by continuing to give my parents money, even if my father doesn’t report it on his income tax returns? (Of course, I don’t even know if the money I give him would be required to be reported; like I said, I’m clueless as far as that is concerned. I always figured before that (except for the gifts I mentioned above) it was simply “my fair share”. On the other hand, my parents don’t require it of me, either. But I certainly wish to continue giving them the money, as long as I am not doing anything wrong by doing so.

(continued in another post)


#2

(continued from previous post)

  1. My second question is this: I don’t know how much the amount would be if my father would be paying “restitution” for this. (Though that’s a moot point, since he will, apparantly, continue to be doing these things into the future). As far as I know, the amount might be more than he makes at his job. I doubt that, of course, but I always prepare for the worst-case scenario. That being the case, let’s assume it is the worst-case scenario anyway, would I be doing anything wrong by continuing to live with my parents, since my dad “owes” that money in “restitution” for that other stuff, even before he pays other bills? (i.e. rent, electricity, etc.). Or am I off base there? In any case, I wish to make sure it is all right for me to continue living with them. (I could move out, but at the moment I would prefer not to, for various reasons).

  2. If I did continue living with them, would it be all right for me to continue using stuff that isn’t necessary, such as the Internet, watching cable TV, etc.? Obviously, my dad pays the bills for that stuff, but since he “owes” restitution for that other stuff before Internet, cable, and so forth, I was simply wishing to make sure I was not doing anything wrong.

I should also point out that I might later think of other stuff that my dad doesn’t report on his taxes, or that he owes “restitution” for that I can’t think of at the moment. But I think you get the general picture. (Again, he’s a very good guy, but…)

In summary, I simply wish to know if it is all right to: 1) continue giving my parents the money I described above, 2) that it is all right for me to continue living with them, and 3) if I can still even use things that I don’t actually need, such as Internet and cable. This (along with my scrupulosity) has been driving me crazy today…Like I said, I would discuss it with my priest, but, for obvious reasons, I wish to discuss these particular questions where I (and my father) would be anonymous.

Thanks for any help you may provide (and thanks to everyone who answered my other questions!). Prayers would be deeply appreciated, especially when I do start talking to my priest on how to overcome my scrupulosity.


#3

(continued from previous post)

  1. My second question is this: I don’t know how much the amount would be if my father would be paying “restitution” for this. (Though that’s a moot point, since he will, apparantly, continue to be doing these things into the future). As far as I know, the amount might be more than he makes at his job. I doubt that, of course, but I always prepare for the worst-case scenario. That being the case, let’s assume it is the worst-case scenario anyway, would I be doing anything wrong by continuing to live with my parents, since my dad “owes” that money in “restitution” for that other stuff, even before he pays other bills? (i.e. rent, electricity, etc.). Or am I off base there? In any case, I wish to make sure it is all right for me to continue living with them. (I could move out, but at the moment I would prefer not to, for various reasons).

  2. If I am allowed to continue living with them, would it be all right for me to continue using stuff that isn’t absolutely necessary, such as the Internet, watching cable TV, etc.? Obviously, my dad pays the bills for stuff such as Internet and cable and so forthf, but since he “owes” restitution for that other stuff described above before that for Internet, cable, and so forth, I was simply wishing to make sure I was not doing anything wrong.

I should also point out that I might later think of other stuff that my dad doesn’t report on his taxes, or that he owes “restitution” for that I can’t think of at the moment. But I think you get the general picture. (Again, he’s a very good guy, but…)

In summary, I simply wish to know if it is all right to: 1) continue giving my parents the money I described above, 2) that it is all right for me to continue living with them, and 3) if I am allowed to continue living with them, can I still use things that I don’t absoutely need, such as Internet and cable.

These questions (along with my scrupulosity) has been driving me crazy today…Like I said, I would discuss it with my priest, but, for obvious reasons, I wish to discuss these particular questions where I (and my father) would be anonymous.

Thanks for any help you may provide (and thanks to everyone who answered my other questions which I asked before!). Also, prayers would be deeply appreciated, especially when I do start talking to my priest on how to overcome my scrupulosity. Thanks.


#4

You are not responsible for your father, his business affairs, or any restitution he may or may not “owe” on account of how he conducts his business.

Therefore…

Yes, you may continue to live with your parents.

Yes, you should continue to contribute your fair share of expenses.

Yes, you may use things that are not strictly necessary while you live with them.

If you wish, you may indeed discuss this in general terms with your priest. You could ask if you have any responsibility for your father’s business affairs. There is no need to go into detail.

So, when are you going to see the priest about your scrupulosity? Realize that you must trust and obey him, NO MATTER WHAT he tells you to do. Even if it’s too easy. Even if you think it’s wrong. You must do what he tells you, no more and no less. I will pray for you.

Betsy


#5

You may THINK you know the whole story but you most likely don’t. MYOB.


#6

Bingo!


  1. Your payment is an act of charity and can be continued.

  2. Your living with them is not material to the perceived offense.

  3. Yes, you may use that stuff because you using them are not material to the perceived offense.

Without going into great detail as it would be for another thread there is even a question about the morality of income tax in this country. Don’t overwork yourself. Being scrupulous is equal to having a broken moral compass and your ability to judge gravity of actions is hindered. It would be a good practice for your soul to not concern yourself with the moral judgments of others at this time. Work to solve your scrupulosity and then you will be able to see with greater clarity and balance.


#7

Thank-you for your answers (and your prayers)! That was greatly bothering me…

I don’t think I’m misperceiving it…(I asked my father about it, and he has admitted to such…). I expressed my concerns about it to my father, and he said that I shouldn’t worry about it, since even if what he was doing is wrong, it doesn’t concern me… But I was wanting to make sure I wasn’t doing anything wrong myself…

Does everything I was told above still apply, even under the “worst case” scenario?

So, when are you going to see the priest about your scrupulosity? Realize that you must trust and obey him, NO MATTER WHAT he tells you to do. Even if it’s too easy. Even if you think it’s wrong. You must do what he tells you, no more and no less. I will pray for you.

Thank-you for your prayers! I don’t know when I will actually see him, but I did email him yesterday with some questions and received a reply anyway…

Without going into great detail as it would be for another thread there is even a question about the morality of income tax in this country

Yes, but I realize that one has to follow this law nonetheless, which is what was concerning me…

Anyway, I will try to take your advice. I try not to judge my father (who is a very good towards me). But then I get concerned that I am doing something wrong (as if perhaps I am “cooperating” or something), and then get scared that I am sinning gravely…


#8

Yes. It is not your affair. You are not cooperating in any sin.

Now, why not turn your attention to a loving preparation for Christmas. Give of yourself somehow instead of looking for sins (yours and others’) - OK??

Betsy


#9

Athanasius,

There will always be ‘one last question’ if you don’t completely stop thinking about ALL of these sorts of things. Right now.

You are not responsible for anyone else’s wrong-doing - you have to lead a normal life and forget about all the questions you asked above - they are scrupulous.

Having questions is part of scrupulousity - ignore them, forget about them untill you can speak to your priest about it all. Any ‘one last question’ you may ever have does not need to be answered - like I said before, the answer is: forget about it, banish the thought, it is scrupulous.

You can and must ask your priest about all these things, do not keep anything from him - it is no good if a patient hides his wound from the doctor. Just tell him what you said here - that you think it might not be appropriate to talk about it - and he will let you know what it is appropriate to tell him.

Leave it all for when you talk with your priest. You need to get help ONLY from him (and God, in prayer) and not from us.

We are all happy to help you, but DO NOT POST ANY MORE QUESTIONS (and you will not need to post any more questions, if you stop thinking of questions in your mind.) - talk to your priest about it ALL. If you want to overcome scrupulousity, you cannot be taking advice from multiple people, this just worsens the situation.

Like Betsy said:

Realize that you must trust and obey him, NO MATTER WHAT he tells you to do. Even if it’s too easy. Even if you think it’s wrong. You must do what he tells you, no more and no less.

God bless
(from one who has been through it all before)


#10

Just had one quick follow-up question…again, I do not wish to ask my priest, because due to referring to my father’s behaviour, I wish to remain anonymous. (Though I have been asking my priest concerning other questions I have. )

Anyway, as I stated above, I give about $85/week to my parents ($40 for groceries, $30 for gas, and $15 to pay for shed rent). Again, my parents wouldn’t be mad at me if I didn’t pay it, but I wish to. After all, I do live with them. I also give them money at Christmas and on their birthdays.

However, I was thinking today, naturally that frees up money for them to buy other things they normally wouldn’t. Like I said above, my dad buys a lot of computer stuff. He buys computers with software already on it that was put on there illegally I believe. He also ends up selling computers he has bought before, and it has illegal software on it, whether he himself put it on, or whether he bought it that way.

And he also buys other things he shouldn’t.

Now would I be required to stop giving them money since the money I give them frees up money they otherwise would spend on groceries, gas, and so forth for computer stuff like I described above? As far as I know, that money (perhaps all of it?) I give them “indirectly” helps my father do that more than he normally would; I don’t know.

On the other hand, I don’t wish to stop giving my parents the money (despite the fact they would not be mad at me if I didn’t). Besides the fact that I want to help out with my expenses, it also seems only right that I should. I am living with them, after all. I believe I should share in helping out with the bills, even if they wouldn’t be mad if I didn’t. And I want to give them the money

My main problem, I guess, is that I’m afraid that I might be responsible and committing sin by continuing to give them money under the above circumstances.

Am I simply being scrupulous? I sure hope so…


#11

YES YOU ARE BEING SCRUPULOUS!

Repeat to yourself 500 times ‘I am not my father’s keeper, he is an adult, I am not responsible for what he does with his computer …’

Then repeat 500 times ‘I will not ask a single solitary question about any sin or perceived sin except to my one confessor, who I will trust implicitly’

Got it?


#12

You could hand the money to your mother.


#13

what your adult parents and other relatives do or don’t do about their money, income, taxes etc. is none of your business. put it out of your head and concentrate on your own spiritual well-being. If, as you say, you have a tendency to scrupulosity, find one priest, confess only with him, do not priest shop, and avoid the temptation to discuss your spiritual struggles with outsiders, especially in such detail, especially on an anonymous internet forum. It is extremely hazardous to your spiritual health. That is class spiritual direction. And never, never give personal details about the presumed sins or failings of others in any forum anytime, anyplace, as that can lead to the sin of detraction. We are all quite busy enough attending to our own spiritual welfare to worry about that of others.


#14

Athanasius, what you have here is a case of the principle of double effect. You commit a good act, giving your parents money to cover the expense of having you live with them. This act has the unintended side effect of freeing up money for your father to do whatever it is that you are worried about. Because you are doing a good act for a good purpose, and the bad consequence is unintended, there is not a moral problem for you. You commit no sin.

This is similar to the situation where a woman’s doctor prescribes birth control pills for a purely medical reason. She takes the pills to cure her ailment, and there is an unintended side effect of preventing pregnancy. The woman is permitted to do this and commits no sin.

OK, now, about these scrupulous questions. You have been given good advice by two previous posters. **Ask these questions of your priest in confession. ** I know you said you wanted to preserve your father’s anonymity. You could phrase the question in a general way, like this: If I give someone money to cover expenses that they incur on my behalf, and they do something evil with the money, am I at fault?

I daresay the exercise of putting your very detailed questions into a clear, concise form will be good for you as well. Perhaps you will begin to think more clearly about things.

Betsy


closed #15

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