Quantifying sins of thought


How are sexual sins of though quantified?

The way I see it is that one could say "I have entertained impure fantasies on ONE occasion", but this could be multiple fantasies about multiple people. Or one could say "I have entertained impure fantasies about x amount of people."

So should we quantify the occasions on which we have willfully entertained impure fantasies or the people we have had impure fantasies about? I think the latter might be dangerous as one has to trawl through one's memory and think about all the filth one has imagined.
I know we can't be dead precise in Confession, "63 times exactly Father", but I'd be grateful for any advice.
Many thanks.


I think it's up to you how you count them, and your confessor would likely correct you if needed, or may ask for clarification, and you can use that to guide you in future.

Personally, I would count the number of occasions; however, I would usually count each separate "fantasy" as an occasion, even if they were consecutive (and regardless of the number of people in the fantasy), because there is usually another choice--however brief--that's made to begin each new "fantasy." It's a separate thought and separate choice, in my mind.

If in doubt, ask your confessor, but I agree that the "number" doesn't need to be exact. If you aren't sure of the number, you can say something like, "a few times this month," or, "many times over the past few days," etc. If your confessor needs more specifics, he will ask.

If you really feel a need to be more specific about the kind of sin (for example, if you struggle with one kind of impure thought more than another), you could separate the impure thoughts involving multiple people as one kind of sin, and those involving just one as another kind. And again, if your confessor needs more (or less) detail than that, he will let you know.



When I confess entertaining impure thoughts I have never been asked the number of times. As a male I know that there are different degrees from a quick thought to a drawn out fantasy and everything in between. I think that it is more important to acknowledge that these thoughts take place and then to treat each one with discipline and integrity. The priest will ask you if he feels that it is necessary but I think that unless you have a particular fantasy then being general is all that is needed.


"Father, I have entertained impure thoughts on 10 occasions. Oops, make that 11 occasions. Darn, now it's 12. Let's hurry this up, OK Father?"


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