Scrupulosity in terms of impure reading


I’m a young man who just recently made a firm commitment to turn away from the homosexual lifestyle. While I’ve never been in any romantic relationship with another man, I have struggled with holy purity just the same. The last few weeks of Lent and during Easter Week, I personally felt like I’ve made progress in terms of committing to prayer and avoiding sin. It hasn’t been easy. Like all of you, I’ve had big and small falls, many of which were failures in other aspects of my Christian life - charity towards my neighbor, love of comfort etc. I also began becoming overwhelmed by the disorders and defects I have apart from same-sex attraction. It’s true what they say. The more you find yourself getting closer to the light, the more you see the stains in your soul. This has unsettled me and made me a bit OCD, and I’ve made some efforts to combat this especially against venial sins.

Last Sunday, I got a message from a nameless guy (one of many I had cut off or limited communications with to avoid occasions of sin i.e. past gay acquaintances). I usually disregard such indecent messages but was spurred by curiosity after he mentioned a supposed tryst with him (which never happened that I am completely certain of, and thus the curiosity) which led me to visit an online forum we frequent (to try and see who the person texting me was). At the back of my head, I was thinking - no, I won’t be tempted by any of the vulgar and impure conversations in the thread, or I’ll just scroll by. When I started reading the forum, I scrolled past some the posts, or read it but didn’t really feel anything. It was more disdain actually because I saw my past self in their posts but after a couple of seconds in I started getting aroused by the posts. I was slow to just completely stop the reading but did so, maybe a minute in. I made an act of contrition immediately and resolved to confess it.

Throughout the day, I was bothered by that fault but believed it was only venial, since I didn’t intend to look for sexual pleasure. I knew, however, that I had put myself in danger, put myself in an occasion of sin. I still went to received Holy Communion for the next two days before I had my confession. I told the incident to the priest explaining I had put myself in the occasion, yielded to my curiosity, but truly believed it wasn’t deliberate on my part to be aroused or get pleasure from it. He didn’t ask me if I received Holy Communion.

However, I’m still bothered by it. Was it truly venial or was it a mortal sin? This incident has been a big roadblock to my prayers since it’s making my interior life dry. It keeps popping up in my head whenever I am trying to contemplate in my prayer and try to move forward, and thus find myself unable to have a fruitful prayer. I’m always second-guessing myself now, and asking if I am too scrupulous, or if this is pride, or if I should pray for me to be able to move on and forget it, or go to confession again. My spiritual director is out of town so I won’t be able to meet him about this matter.

Please advise and pray for me as well.

I wouldn’t second guess the Priest. He has probably been hearing confessions for a while. Isn’t he guided by the Holy Spirit also?

The title you gave your thread provides the answer to its question.

Whatever it was, it was. Ask for forgiveness, be done. You have even received sacramental absolution. God has moved on, you should too.

Your own awareness of OCD is helpful to pushing forward.

For the record, it seems a classic example of the sin of curiousity, which is generically venial.

Also, dry prayer is typically better prayer. It purifies the will… Talk to your director about that. We can’t drink milk forever…

We are bombarded by LGBTQ issues and many of these may be a temptation.

from the letter of James:

Ch. 1:12-15

12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

So, a temptation is not a sin, but can lead to a sin. In so many different situations, I have to learn to cope with temptation, and one way is to think and pray “LORD, I don’t need this, I need you, and you alone. I need you, LORD.”

You should also examine yourself spiritually, and learn how you can overcome temptations. Ideally, you can stop a temptation in its tracks, so to speak. Learn from yourself, how quickly you can move on to something else. When Jesus was tempted, He quoted scripture to dispel the temptation.

YOU are in control of temptation. It does not control you. Wherever you live, there’s plenty of work to be done, there is no end, get to work. Read a book. HAVE THESE THINGS READY for when you have to face a temptation.

In the Lord’s prayer, “Thy will be done” in one view is not a petition to God, it is a vow that we make before we dare to say “give us…(anything)” Recall your vows to the LORD. “Hallowed by Thy Name.” “Thy kingdom come.” “Thy will be done…” We are pledging ourselves to the Father. we are a kingdom of priests, and what we offer in sacrifice is ourselves. We must be ready to make that sacrifice (not in the meaning of depriving ourselves of anything, but in the sense of giving to God what is His.)

If you weren’t sure it was a mortal sin when you received, then you’ve no fault in receiving communion. Be at ease.

I’m not sure it was a mortal sin anyway, but that is best discussed with a priest, and the sacrament of confession can be helpful even in cases of venial sin, especially when it’s an issue we struggle with continually.

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