Smell and Sin


The last rite refers to sin committed with a sense of smell:

" and by His most tender mercy may the Lord forgive you all the evil you have done through the sense of smell"

What sins can be committed with a sense of smell?



None that sound pleasant… or remotely normal…


Gluttony, for one. Ask anyone who has suffered a diminution or loss of the sense of smell, and they will tell you they don’t WANT to eat, because food 'doesn’t taste good".


How about using inhalants?

Or using your sense of smell to find and use marijuana?

My take on this in the last rites is that sin can be committed through any faculty of the body. If the recipient of the Anointing of the Sick (Extreme Unction) is being prepared spiritually for the heavenly journey, I would think the anointing would somehow purify the senses for having been used throughout life for mortal sin.

I remember being hospitalized for a hernia and the kindly old associate pastor anointed me in the same way.



Apart from a particular sexual sin, i really can’t think of anything else.


It is quite easy to “follow your nose” into sin!

If it were not, the fragrance industry would not be what it is.

The centennial image (smellage??) of the “scented woman” as a leader into temptation demonstrates the vitality of this almost-forgotten human sense in our carnal appetites.

And because our nose is the only human sense wired directly into the mind, even our weak human nose can generate a huge psychological reaction. Most of what we see or hear is forgotten (because there’s so much input); but a smell that makes it up our weak noses to the mind unleashes a cascade of thought associations, which can include temptation.

Add to the fact that we can turn our eyes or head, can plug our ears, but unless we are suffering from head congestion or anosmia, we cannot avoid smelling as long as we breathe!



Thanks for the input.

Can anyone relate this directly to scripture?

closed #8

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