Scruples; help please!

I need some advice.
I struggle with scrupulosity, although it has been a lot better lately and I know how to handle it now for the most part.
Lately, every time I go to mass, I worry that the priest or someone else at mass has done something incorrectly, thereby invalidating the Eucharist. EVERY single mass, my mind hooks on to some little thing, that may or may not be allowed (I really don’t know the specific things that are and aren’t allowed at mass), and makes me worry that Jesus isn’t truly present. Then I worry that I shouldn’t receive Him, because I’m doubting, even though I keep telling myself that He IS present, and trying to believe, and I do still receive Him, because I know that this is scruples, but I don’t know what to do about it.
Also, when I see Jesus in the Eucharist, it seems so impossible that what looks like a piece of bread is really Christ, Jesus, that I doubt unintentionally. I pray often “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief”, but it feels like He isn’t answering me, or is saying “no”.

I’d suggest you meet with your spiritual director to discuss your scruples. If you don’t have a director yet, please get one.

My advice is to seek the counsel of a priest or Catholic counselor for your scrupulosity.

I do talk to a priest, but he’s been away, so I haven’t been able to talk to him for a while. I should make another appointment though, so thanks for reminding me.

You should not worry too much about whether things are done at Mass that are invalid or illicit. There are only a small number of things that affect the validity of the confection of the Eucharist. The entire minutiae do not have a bearing on the validity.

Even if something were done wrong at the Mass that made the Eucharist invalid you would not be culpable. In the extremely unlikely event that you received bread instead of our Lord’s body you wouldn’t have done something wrong.

It’s futile to worry over whether that wafer of unleavened bread is truly Christ and not just bread. It really is a great mystery that is probably beyond human comprehension. The trouble is in the western Catholic Church we often become bogged down with the why’s, wherefore’s and how’s of everything. In many respects the Eastern Christians handle this much better - they accept it’s a great mystery and don’t become overly concerned as to how God brings this about.

If you’re really struggling with these issues and other aspects of scrupulosity it would bode well for you to make contact with and seek the advice of a spiritual director. Your pastor should be able to help you arrange this.

Thank you. I think that God is speaking to me through your post. I feel much calmer now, and less stressed, after reading it. I will make an appointment with my spiritual director. Please pray for me. I’ll pray for you as well.

I hope this suggestion is helpful to you.

I would suggest that you not read any of the threads in the Liturgy and Sacraments section of Catholic Answers Forums that have to do with the Mass.

Often people ask questions about various Mass practices, and debates begin about whether or not the practice is an abuse or not, or whether it invalidates the Mass or not. It can be very stressful for those of us who don’t suffer from scruples. I can’t imagine how someone who is troubled by scruples would deal with this stress.

I think that someone who suffers from scruples should stay away from discussions that might cast doubt in their minds about the Mass.

Again, I hope this is a good suggestion. And I agree with others who say to seek help and support from your priest.

Yes, this is a good idea. Not only about the mass, but about things that I know are likely to aggravate my scruples in general. Thank you. please pray for me.

The really good thing is that you truly do know the truth. You truly know that the Mass is valid. You truly do know that you can receive the Eucharist.

It is the OCD working your mind in the habit that goes over and over and over. Its a true disorder, so it is not really your own thoughts - but the disordered thoughts going over and over and over.

You know that God understands all of our disorders.

You know that your priest and your bishop make certain that the Mass is valid.

You can meet with a therapist who can help you learn how to think differently - how to allow your regular mind to work and push aside those OCD /scrupulous thoughts. Speak with your doctor about finding help to free yourself.

Your priest can help as well.

May God give you peace. May God lead you to someone who can help you replace the OCD thoughts that disrupt your peace.

Thank you for your post. It’s encouraging. Yes, that is the truly good thing. I didn’t use to know the truth, but use to accept the scrupulous thoughts, because I didn’t know how to handle it. But now I’ve had counseling (much of it online, from people posting on CAF), although I’ve been to professionals as well, and I still go to them, for counseling. All of my progress is due to God though. Without His help, I would’ve just kept spiraling downward, and likely would’ve committed suicide, but instead He’s picked me up countless times, and shown me His love, and helped me get through this. Without His grace and His love and His help, I don’t know where I’d be.


  1. Do not repeat prayers, no matter how badly they may have been prayed, even if the prayers were given to you as a penance during the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession).
  1. Do not repeat the confession of sins that have already been confessed and which have never been re-committed.
  1. If you doubt the earnestness of your sorrow in Confession, consider the sorrow as having been adequate.
  1. If you are doubtful as to whether a past action committed was sinful, mention it simply to your confessor.
  1. If you are worrying that maybe you never confessed a certain sin from your past, consider it confessed. If you know for a fact that you have never confessed that sin, then confess it simply. The Holy Spirit does not torment us with doubts and/or guilt; rather, He always brings peace as He awakens our conscience to our sins.
    (cf. 2 Corinthians 7:10-11: “Indeed, sorrow for God’s sake produces a repentance without regrets, leading to salvation, whereas worldly sorrow brings death. Just look at the fruit of this sorrow which stems from God. What a measure of holy zeal it has brought you.”)
  1. Examine your conscience for no longer than three minutes each day, and for no longer than about ten minutes before you go to Confession.
  1. If you have prayed at the time of temptation, you can be sure you did not commit a mortal sin.
  1. If you have a history of scrupulosity, and you have made a General Confession at some time in your past, do not make another General Confession. Once a month is a good norm for the frequency of a regular Confession.
  1. If possible, go to Confession to the same confessor-priest.

10.Most importantly, cultivate a humble heart by complete obedience to the direction of your confessor. Be patient with yourself. Love is the goal of all our lives. It is important to remember that scrupulosity usually (and, quite often, ultimately) stems from one’s personal pride or arrogance, as though the scrupulous person holds this personal opinion: “I have a higher norm than most normal people.”

Fr. Wade L. J. Menezes, CPM The Fathers of Mercy


Scrupulosity is about the self. You seem also to have a problem with the actions of others. It involves doubt and doubt is one of the main weapons of the evil one. Thus, there is a spiritual component to this. Time for a discussion with your Priest-Confessor, I would think.

It is beautiful to read how God has helped you in working through so much turmoil.

What a blessing. I know you will continue to improve.

May God continue to hold you when you feel these tendency.

Keep trusting - as a person walking in the dark knows right where to step in their room if they get up at night. God is just like that. Even when you feel those thoughts, you know right were God is and you can keep letting the thoughts pass by.

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