Point of Uncertainty About the Fourth Commandment


Hello everyone again.

May I ask at what stage people think it becomes a grave matter not to honour your father and mother? And what dishonouring them may be?

I broke a strict rule they laid down to help limit my scrupulosity, and although they said that they did not consider breaking it sinful after I had done it, I feel like it was quite a act of betrayal.

More worryingly, I think, that night I became enormously distressed with various problems, having negligently disobeyed my father over another piece of guidance (I forgot to carry it out/ran out of time, but did not intend to disobey him - I could have been more careful). This distress kept my parents up and worried them enormously.

Acting like this was deeply unfair, and more so considering that my mum was taking me on holiday for a couple of days the next day, hence the need for sleep.

The evening prayer which followed this incident was very helpful, and I feel like much of my scupulosity is now in remission; the next day I had a much clearer view of God’s love, and the stupidity of many of my fears. But I am concerned that this act of disobedience, and perhaps disrespect, could have been a mortal sin.

Many thanks for your patience.


Your parents said you didn’t sin against them, so I think you’re fine. I’ll say a prayer for you tonight.

God Bless:)


Scrupulosity is a terrible affliction. You know how much your parents love you. How much more does your Father in Heaven love you. I know rationality is little defense against scruples, but always be open to His love as your first protection. Enjoy the holiday. No mortal sin rest assured. As was wisely pointed out previously, your parents found no fault.Love yourself just a bit, you deserve it.


You need to discuss matters of conscience with your priest or spiritual director.

Peace be with you.


Yes, you shouldn’t be so disturbed over trifles. At most some may be venial sins. Nothing
is a sin if the act or thought is something committed without sufficient reflection. And nothing is a mortal sin unless serious matter is involved. It may be difficult to determine serious matter in this regard, so you should always resolve to obey your parents, if the command is justified. Your parents cannot ask you to violate God’s law. And they should not be placing huge demands on you, considering your delicate state. And they can never determine the state of your conscience, only you know that.

But nothing you have said sounds like serious matter to me.



I echo this and add that venting about these concerns online will have the dual effect of further disquieting your conscience and flooding you with a variety of opinions, in some cases contradictory.



Thank you all very much. That is enormously helpful. I will be speaking to my confessor next week, when I return to university.

If you ever do get the chance, visit Amiens cathedral. It is spectacular (Chartres and Beauvais are also great).

God bless you all!

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