Sin during dreams


I noticed that last night I had a dream where I committed mortal sins during the dream. Do I need to confess these? Thanks and God Bless.


Short answer: no. Dreams are out of our control.


No, you do not need to confess these. You did not willfully choose to do these things. We have no control over our dreams. I personally have very gluttonous dreams when I am dieting and wake up feeling guilty. LOL. But, dream food have no calories justas dream sins have no repercussions. It's not real.


“No, you do not need to confess these. You did not willfully choose to do these things. We have no control over our dreams. I personally have very gluttonous dreams when I am dieting and wake up feeling guilty. LOL. But, dream food have no calories just as dream sins have no repercussions. It’s not real.” QUOTE by WHITEACRE GIRL

Your reply is spot on,though why I have requoted you Whiteacre is because of your other good observation about the link between real life and our activities and the dream or subconsious state.There is a whole science of dream analysis,I know that this can be taken to extremes but there is some fact between what we REMEMBER in our dreams and our general mental health and even unhealed hurts or guilt.For instance it is a well known fact that opiate addicts or alcholics wake up to horrible nightmares about spiders,snakes and vivid pictures of vile things.Women who have had abortions too have a pattern of dreams as Ann Lastman in her book Reedeeming Grief writes about So if there is a pattern or regularity in the theme of our dreams there may be an oportunity to look into our lives or past hurts and feelings.We usually dream about what we love(or hate)!But you are correct about dreams and mortal sins-in a sense what the person starting this thread would have better said that the subject matter in the dreams were of a serious moral nature that if they were acted out in reality, it would have been a mortal sin;but a person in a dream state does not have full knowledge or full consent.Another point is that great saints have had dreams that turned out to be a reality-there are many stories in the Bible confirming this.It also follows that just because we may have had estatic spiritual dreams at times, does not necessarily mean they were from God and therefore saintly!.


If it were a sin, it would be venial at worst I would think, because of reduced capacity.

Some say one can't sin while asleep. But, it depends on your culpability in the will. You should be aware of what your conscience tells you.

You may confess it for peace of mind. On the other hand, there is the potential for scrupulousity. I think, if it there trouble in the conscience over it, or upset, or if it were impurity -- confessing it for peace of mind is harmless and can even beneficial even over the objections of a confessor, normally.

Many will say that when asleep there is no direct culpability, because you did not will what occurred. However, sleep does not necessarily 'turn off' our will and rationality entirely, people have varying levels of awareness, for example, in dreams.

If you are, for example, partially asleep, or have partial awareness, there is the potential of some small part of the will being culpable.

In addition, in cases of impurity in dreams for example, the monks always see it as a bad sign that these occur, and note that they can be overcome.

If your daytime will against sin is poor, your resolve not true and complete, then what will your sleeping will be?

What occurred could be due to something you are morally culpable for earlier, that then led to your dream.

Just as, for example, someone who gets drunk, is no longer in control, and yet is responsible for the damage done while out of control. What we eat and drink can affect us, what we watch and so forth.

Books of penitence include such notes as:

Irish Penitential of Finian of Clonard, 6th century

"he who intentionally becomes polluted in sleep shall get up and sing seven psalms and live on bread and water for that day; but if he does not do this he shall sing thirty psalms."

Excerpts from a Book of David, early 6th Century

"he who is willingly pollutted during sleep shall arise and sing nine psalms in order kneeling. On the following day he shall live on bread and water or he shall sing thirty psalms."

"He who desires to sin during sleep, or is unintentionally polluted, fifteen psalms; he who sins and is not polluted twenty four."

Pope St. Gregory the Great also has some writings about dreams and penitence.

St. Augustine's Ninth Question. — Whether after an illusion, such as is wont to happen in a dream, any man may receive the Body of our Lord, or if he be a priest, celebrate the Divine Mysteries?

Pope St. Gregory the Great answers. — The Testament of the Old Law, as has been said already in the article above, calls such a man polluted, and allows him not to enter into the church till the evening, after being washed with water. Which, nevertheless, a spiritual people, taking in another sense, will understand in the same manner as above; because he is imposed upon as it were in a dream, who, being tempted with uncleanness, is defiled by real representations in thought, and he is to be washed with water, that he may cleanse away the sins of thought with tears; and unless the fire of temptation depart before, may know himself to be in a manner guilty until the evening. But a distinction is very necessary in that illusion, and one must carefully consider what causes it to arise in the mind of the person sleeping; for sometimes it proceeds from excess of eating or drinking; sometimes from the superfluity or infirmity of nature, and sometimes from the thoughts. And when it happens either through superfluity or infirmity of nature, such an illusion is not to be feared at all, because it is to be lamented, that the mind of the person, who knew nothing of it, suffers the same, rather than that he occasioned it.

But when the appetite of gluttony commits excess in food, and thereupon the receptacles of the humours are oppressed, the mind thence contracts some guilt; yet not so much as to hinder the receiving of the Holy Mystery, or celebrating Mass, when a holy day requires it, or necessity obliges the Mystery to be shown forth, because there is no other priest in the place; for if there be others who can perform the ministry, the illusion proceeding from over-eating ought not to exclude a man from receiving the sacred Mystery; but I am of opinion he ought humbly to abstain from offering the sacrifice of the Mystery, but not from receiving it, unless the mind of the person sleeping has been disturbed with some foul imagination. For there are some, who for the most part so suffer the illusion, that their mind, even during the sleep of the body, is not defiled with filthy thoughts. In which case, one thing is evident, that the mind is guilty, not being acquitted even in its own judgement; for though it does not remember to have seen anything whilst the body was sleeping, yet it calls to mind that, when the body was awake, it fell into gluttony. But if the illusion of the sleeper proceeds from evil thoughts when he was awake, then its guilt is manifest to the mind; for the man perceives from what root that defilement sprang, because what he had consciously thought of, that he afterwards unconsciously endured. But it is to be considered, whether that thought was no more than a suggestion, or proceeded to delight, or, what is worse, consented to sin. For all sin is committed in three ways, viz., by suggestion, by delight, and by consent. Suggestion comes from the Devil, delight from the flesh, and consent from the spirit.

. . . when the evil spirit suggests a sin to the mind, if there ensue no delight in the sin, the sin is in no way committed; but when the flesh begins to take delight in it, then sin begins to arise. But if it deliberately consents, then the sin is known to be full-grown. The seed, therefore, of sin is in the suggestion, the nourishment of it in delight, its maturity in the consent. And it often happens that what the evil spirit sows in the thought, in that the flesh begins to find delight, and yet the soul does not consent to that delight. . . etc.


I agree pretty much with what others have said. However I would like to add one thing.

While dreams may not be sinful in and of themselves, they may be able to point out to us areas that we need to work on. In our journey we want to become not only pure in our actions but in our thoughts and intentions as well. Sinning in your dreams may be showing you an area where you still harbor an “affection for sin”.

Just something to consider.



There is confirmation from Saint Thomas Aquinas.

I answer that

‘‘First, in itself; and thus it has not the character of a sin. For every sin depends on the judgment of reason, since even the first movement of the sensuality has nothing sinful in it, except in so far as it can be suppressed by reason; wherefore in the absence of reason’s judgment, there is no sin in it. Now during sleep reason has not a free judgment.’’


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