Ten commandments for the Scrupulous

I suffer from scrupulosity, and have been finding that the Scrupulous Anonymous website has been useful in helping me. The “Ten Commandments for the Scrupulous” have been helping me a great deal. I found commandments 8 and 9 particularly useful:

**8. You shall believe and act accordingly, so that whenever you are in doubt as to whether or not you are obliged to do or not to do something, you can take it for certain that you are not obligated.

  1. If, before you perform or omit an act, you are doubtful whether or not it is sinful for you, you shall assume as certain that it is not sinful and shall proceed to act without any dread of sin whatever.**

Some of the ten commandments for the scrupulous clearly are referring to the sacrament of reconciliation and to the confession of sins, whereas others do not appear to be just referring to this. However, something has confused me. On the same website there is a different page with the title “Ten Commandments for the Scrupulous (Revised)”. On this page the following is stated:
“The original “Ten Commandments for the Scrupulous” (1968) by Father Donald Miller, C.Ss.R., are intended specifically for the celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation, and as such, provide essential and practical advice for the members of Scrupulous Anonymous. At the same time, however, because they are specific to the sacrament of reconciliation, they are not commandments particularly useful when the sacrament is not the main concern or focus.
It might be useful to offer a new set of commandments that might be helpful in the day-to-day struggle with scrupulosity. I do not expect that these new commandments are anything more than just a small contribution and perhaps a helpful tool for some of our readers. It is in this spirit that I offer these new commandments.”

The ten new commandments are then listed.

I am now confused as to whether I can follow the original ten commandments in areas other than the celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation. It seems strange to me that commandments such as numbers 8 and 9 may only be allowed to be followed during the celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation. I would like to hear other peoples’ thoughts on this.

Oh my, the stuff on that website sounds just like what I’m concerned about myself… Am I scrupulous? I can’t be:P I’m not Catholic:( (YET!)

Hi Bhaoirluin

Yes, you can use both the original and the revised lists. In all likelihood Fr. Miller composed the original list with only a vague understanding of OCD. He was dealing with a specific problem which involved OCD combined attempts to repent sins. So the same people attempted to repent the same sins endless, while never feeling absolved. Now we know more about OCD so the revised list should be more helpful as it is not confined to the repenting of sins but hopefully it will help you with everyday life.

btw did you know the opposite of Scrupulous is Presumption ? Scrupulous people will not trust god and thus attempt to box him in good with their deeds and thus attempt to control the relationship. Presumption is those who so trust god to overcome their personal faults so much they feel no need to correct these faults. Presumption people attempt to control the relationship by making god entirely responsible for outcome. So one side needs to trust more while the other side needs to accept more responsibility.

One should note that Scruples does not simply = ocd. though this can be the case with those who have OCD and it can be related otherwise

A person with scruples may follow the rules or principles given for those with scruples …some of which deal directly with Confession others deal other things as well.

Especially the principle of finding a good confessor to help them.

also one should seek to inform themselves as to what is what.

for instance by reading the moral section of the Catechism (unless that would be a problem for the person…)

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