It seems as though I’ve been posting on CAF a lot lately, but I have a question that some more experienced Catholics may be able to help me with. I went to Confession a week ago and the priest told me to only come once a month. If I commit a mortal sin before three weeks from now, am I committing a sin by disobeying the priest and going to Confession?
FYI: I suffer from (at least a mild case of) scrupulosity, and have been told this by two preists, so I would only confess if I was SURE (as sure as 2+2=4) the sin was mortal.
We should try and live our whole lives without ever committing mortal sin. It is a total disaster if it happens. We cannot go on hurting others so badly by mortal sin.
If you do fall into it (as defined by the Church) then I recommend that you go to a priest immediately. I noticed on your profile that you were a member of the OCD/Scrupulosity Group. Open people with OCD think they are in mortal sin when it is only veniel. A mortal sin must have grave matter as is defined by the catechism.
You are never obligated, under pain of mortal sin, to obey your confessor. But all the usual conditions of mortal sin always apply, so if an act is an objective mortal sin, it remains an objective mortal sin, regardless of what your confessor also told you.
If you know, with moral certitude, that you committed an actual mortal sin, then you are obliged by the teachings of the Church (regardless of what any priest or confessor or anyone else has told you) and obliged by your need for salvation, to repent from that sin (preferably by an act of perfect contrition) and to go to confession at your next opportunity. So for example, if you commit a mortal sin on Monday, and Confession in your parish is on Saturday, you should repent and say an act of perfect contrition, and then go to confession on Saturday.
If you do not have moral certitude that you have committed an actual mortal sin (fulfilling all three conditions), but you have sinned to some extent, then say an act of contrition and go to confession at your usual time (once a month, as you said).
Often the problem of scruples is caused by ignorance. A person devoutly wishes to avoid sin, but does not know how to evaluate an act to know if it is an objective mortal sin, or an actual mortal sin, or is merely venial. He therefore worries that he might have committed an actual mortal sin, and does not know how to make a determination with moral certitude. A contributing cause may also be a lack of humility, since the person who suffers from scruples tends not to trust other persons’ judgment as to what is or is not grave matter.
The person who suffers from scruples often substitutes doubt (usually self-doubt) for moral certitude. You should not consider that you have committed actual mortal sin based on a doubt, but only based on whatever knowledge you have of the knowingly chosen act in question, the teachings of the Church on morality, and reason.
The teachings of the Catholic Faith are found in Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, and all the documents of the Magisterium. The Catechism is a useful tool, but we must not ignore Tradition, ignore Scripture, and ignore all the teachings of the Magisterium, except the Catechism. This attempt to base the Faith solely on the Catechism, rejecting any idea, any terminology, any theology, not found therein, is contrary to the true Catholic Faith.
I find this tendency in many Catholics to attempt to base the Faith solely on the Catechism very disturbing. What did these persons believe before 1994 when the Catechism was published? If Jesus intended the entire Faith to be based solely on the Catechism, why did He give us Tradition, Scripture, and the many teachings of the Magisterium? Or why did He wait until 1994 to give us the Catechism, if it is to be the sole basis for our Faith?
Use the Catechism as one useful resource to understand the Faith. Do not attempt to find every answer to every question in that book.
It is not even possible to write down the whole Catholic Faith, no matter how many books are written, for if we were to try, “the world itself, I suppose, would not be able to contain the books that would be written.”
Yes if you are sure you have committed a mortal sin…by all means go to confession.
sounds like he was giving you advice…(not something regarding any kind of obedience)
remember …one has a RIGHT to go to confession…so if you are really conscious of a mortal sin…by all means go to confession…but certainly stand firm against your scruples.
If the priest is your chosen regular confessor…talk with him again…I am sure he will be fine with this…even if he did give you that general advice…(regarding venial sins and fears)
and if he is not your confessor…as it seems from your post… decide on a good confessor and try to stick with him if you can.
I am not sure personally if I would say only once a month…more often is reasonable even for those with scruples…but perhaps not more than once a week unless one has moral sins that one is sure of…
but then again your actual regular confessor will know you or get to know you…and can recommend a pattern…but do not ask him right off the bat perhaps …just go when you think it is good…every week…or 2 or three…(outside real mortal sins being committed)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is in the words of the Apostolic Consitution that issued it a “sure norm” …so fear not sticking with the Catechism and using the language and distinctions of the the Cathechism…that is what it is for!
1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent."131
1862 One commits venial sin when, in a less serious matter, he does not observe the standard prescribed by the moral law, or when he disobeys the moral law in a grave matter, but without full knowledge or without complete consent.
I am not “sola Catechism”. However you cannot go and have sin revised according to Ron Conte. The teachings on mortal sin are very explicit in the Catechism and one should not be so liberal as to say that the Catechism provides one suggestion and that personal interpretaion can suffice as well. I have met many Catholics who twist the Scripture and Tradition to meet their own expectations. This should be avoided even more than just adhering to the CCC. Give me some reference to your double definition of mortal sin and I will stand corrected… teachccd