Possible Mortal Sin

My friend…read the last part of my original post again:

"Now, if you know something is sinful (and yes, looking at pornographic photos and masturbation are both intrinsically evil and sinful) and you choose to do it anyway, then it is very possible you have committed a mortal sin…but yet again, all 3 conditions must be present and only you and God know if that is the case. I suggest talking it over with your confessor and let them guide you properly. It is possibly you have scruples too. An explanation of what I am trying to say can be found here:
mission.liguori.org/newsletters/scrupulosity.htm "

Now, as a person who has suffered from scruples, the OP’s words struck me a person obsessive/compulsive in both their thoughts and actions regarding this particular sin(s) they are having a problem with…and everyone knows that scruples is a form of ocd…that is why I mentioned it is possible that they have scruples and recommended reading the information found on the website. That is why I suggested it…I do know for a fact though, that I am a nobody when it comes to offering sound advice…heck I have a hard enough time keeping myself in line LOL…and that is why it was a just a suggestion…but I do know the best thing they could do is speak with their confessor.


I agree. And I apologize if anything about my words or tone is making Dum Spiro Spero feel put down or attacked.

Does that work for marriage vows too? You can break them without sinning, as long as you didn’t intend to break them at the moment you made them?

Didn’t say it did. I said promising to do something and then breaking the promise was a sin, especially if that promise was made to God. What would it mean to make an act of contrition null and void anyway? It’s not actually a requirement of the Sacrament of Penance, although sometimes, especially if there is a long line, it might be part of your penance.

That is a tautology. I say that tempting anyone to commit a sin (yourself or anyone else) is a sin in and of itself. You say not. I agree that if nobody has sinned then nobody has sinned, but since we appear to disagree on the nature of sin, the statement is irrelevant.

The word asinine in the paragraph above was unnecessarily lacking in charity.

You said earlier: “a near ocassion of sin is not an actual sin” but you appear to have realized that it is an actual sin. If you’d said before that it was a venial sin, I wouldn’t have disagreed with you because, as I said, I’m not sure what the exact degree of sin would be, just that there would be some sin.

However, as other posters have pointed out, it is safer to confess venial sins, too. So I suggest the OP maybe not worry about whether it was a mortal sin or not, and just go to confession anyway. And because it helps us overcome sins to confess them (regardless of whether they are mortal) I would suggest the OP include in confession the fact of removing the filter and performing the searches, as well as looking at any inappropriate images. It can’t hurt. And then he can ask the priest in confession whether it was a mortal sin or not, which is the only way he is going to get the real answer to his question anyway.


I value your perspective as a person who is dealing with this problem. You clearly know more about it than I do. Again, I am sorry if I have been too harsh.

I think we all have good intentions. Sometimes we just get caught up in defending our ideas. It’s called human nature. :slight_smile:

And I apologize as well if I was harsh…and that is to everybody including revertjen…God Bless you all.

Unfortunately, it is all too easy to see bits of ourselves in other people when we don’t know them well. You see scruples in the post because you have suffered from them. I see someone trying to see how close he can get to the “fire” (of sin) and not get burned, because that is unfortunately the way my own sins creep up on me. Quite probably we are both wrong. The problem is, that if someone does not suffer from scrupulosity, they may be only too glad to think that they do, and avoid going to confession to the detriment of their souls. I have seen a lot of people on this forum tell people they were being scrupulous when I could see no evidence for it at all, and I think it would be safer if people were a bit more guarded about it.

But I agree that everyone means well and I have probably been too snarky. Apologies.


I heard a priest say it in an online homily. I don’t know where I ran across it.

I know that the Catechism distinguishes between the proximate and remote occasions of sin. The Catechism tells that only the proximate occasions of sin must be avoided. Furthermore it states that unavoidable near occasions don’t have to be avoided. DuH…

We know that thought and intention are equivalent to action from Jesus’ teachings of adultery and the Sermon on the Mount. Since we know that one who lusted after another man’s wife has already committed adultery, does the same train of thought tell us that a man who walks into a house of prostitution has already committed fornication by not avoiding the near occasion of sin? Does that alcoholic walking in a bar room only to “enjoy the ambiance” commit a sin before he starts drinking?

My guess is that the answer is yes. If we put ourselves into a situation where it is only through the grace of God that we can leave without a sinful act, we committed a sin.

I’m sorry, but that makes no sense to me. We count on God’s grace to avoid sin. So you’re now saying that if we count on His grace to avoid sin, we’ve sinned. Not Catholic teaching. Actually not any Christian teaching.

Huge misunderstanding. :confused:

Yes, we need God’s grace to avoid sin. Can we count on it? NO. Grace by its essence is not something which can be taken for granted. Grace is given as a gift from God.

We cannot embrace an occasion of sin counting on His grace to avoid an action. That is why consciously entering an occasion for sin is sinful.

I believe that isn’t what is meant. Of course without God’s grace we can’t avoid sin. But if the grace that He gives us in a particular instance is the grace to be able to avoid putting ourselves in tempting situations, and we refuse that grace, we may not also receive the grace to avoid temptation once we’re in the tempting situation. We certainly can’t say to Him, “No, I don’t want the grace to avoid going into the bar. Give me the grace to go into the bar and not drink instead!”

That paragraph made a lot more sense in my head, but hopefully the meaning struggles through.

Anyway, there is a difference between sanctifying grace, which is “a stable and supernatural disposition” and allows us to increase in virtue, and actual grace, which is something specific to the individual situation. We can never avoid sin without sanctifying grace, but we don’t need actual grace to avoid every individual sin we might commit. If we count on sanctifying grace to avoid sin, that includes developing the character to refuse to place ourselves in tempting situations. It is wrong to count on actual grace to keep from a particular instance of sin, if we could have avoided the situation. I’m not sure, but I think that would be presumption, a sort of, “I don’t have to try to avoid sinning, I’ll just count on God to stop me.”

You would depend on actual graces in situations where you couldn’t avoid the tempting situation, e.g. at the family wedding that has alcohol at it, if you are an alcoholic.


Orange93 says he doubts if he committed a mortal sin, its pretty clear he does recognize that he sinned.

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