Unwnated thoughts


Hi everyone! I have OCD and I used to have unwanted impure thoughts, however, those have mostly ended since I started praying the Rosary daily. What I wanted to ask is, should I confess these thoughts? I know they were unwanted but it has been bugging me and I feel like sometimes there may have been times when I didn't push them out right away. However, I feel really scared about saying this and am afraid if the priest says anything about it to me. Also, what is the difference between impure and immodest thougts? Thanks for any help.


Hey congrats on your experience with the rosary.I too have experienced this as well.As far as confession my opinion is that if in doubt,just go.Some sins are hard to confess granted, but once youve done it,you will be able to do it again more easily.And chances are you probly will have to confess again on the same account sooner or later.


hi, i have been told that should you not fantasize them and turn away from them, then the answer is no. to turn away or say no! to them is a virtue not a sin. Now if you are fantasizing about the sin then most definitely you should confess.


[quote="DianaS, post:1, topic:179311"]
Hi everyone! I have OCD and I used to have unwanted impure thoughts, however, those have mostly ended since I started praying the Rosary daily. What I wanted to ask is, should I confess these thoughts? I know they were unwanted but it has been bugging me and I feel like sometimes there may have been times when I didn't push them out right away. However, I feel really scared about saying this and am afraid if the priest says anything about it to me. Also, what is the difference between impure and immodest thougts? Thanks for any help.


Thoughts can only be sinful if you welcome them, entertain them and have little or no regret about having them. If you did your best to avoid these bad thoughts and they still happen sometimes is no cause to believe that you've sinned.


I too have OCD and struggle with thoughts I don't want. I've been told to just turn my mind away as quickly as possible, and do not confess them. If you don't want them and they make you feel bad, then obviously you didn't want them or enjoy them. But ask your priest. God Bless you, I understand this struggle.


1) Thoughts are not sins. Sins are about actions. It is an action to purposely entertain sinful thoughts. It is a virtuous action to attempt to put those same thoughts out of your mind.

2) With OCD however, sometimes it is just as bad to fight the thoughts since that action make the symptoms worse. The rosary is a wonderful thing since it takes the ruminations and channels them to good use. A repetitive prayer of comfort like "Jesus loves me as I am" might help. Either way, you add to your virtue by using ways you know to circumvent the natural difficulty.

3) If all else fails, remember #1 and take it to a priest in confession anyway. His validation that you may not have sinned in the role of alter christus (sp) can be ruminated about also when the problem comes up again.

For what it is worth, those are my ideas.


I was baptised at the Easter vigil 2006. I was taught and I believed that the baptism would wash away all of my sins. I would be made new again.

However, despite knowing that. There were some things that did in my past that, although I knew the sins were washed away. They still seemed to bother me. So I asked the Priest during confession what he thought. .

I don’t remember the exact words, but it was something like, as we get closer to God we desire to rid ourselves of sinfulness. Although we may be forgiven in baptism those sins can still affect us and may be kind of a burden. It’s just the way humans are. Although you are forgiven sometimes you just feel better saying what you did and hearing that you are forgiven. So go ahead and mention them let them out so they lose their power over you.

So this kind of applies to your situation as well. You did not sin through your own desire, so like me in my situation, you are already forgiven. But like me, you may also be hanging on to those things. So just ask the priest if you can mention them, just to get them off your shoulders. I’m sure he wont mind and hearing the words of forgiveness will help to break the power those forgiven sins have over you.


For mortal sin -- one needs grave matter full knowledge and full consent.
Thoughts that come to you that you do not consent to (even if they are persistent and vivid) are not a sin. Rather since your will is actually against them --it is virtue.

With ocd -- there is even more reason why they are not sins.


A person with OCD is likely to have the temptation of scruples as well.

One is NOT obliged to confess any doubtful sin (not sure if it was mortal). Period. And for a person with scruples it is best not to normally --but one can always seek a clearification.

One is not obliged to confess any venial sin (though it can be good to do so).

Even a person who does not have ocd or scruples is not obliged in either case. A person who does not have ocd or scruples --it can be recommended to do so especially if they are lax in their conscience or not informed well so they may be informed by the priest as to what is sin and what is not etc.

but in your case – it would seem to me that you may not want to confess them unless you are certain that they were mortal. if you do…it can make things worse…scuplewise. but if you do --also you should say that they are doubtful.

But you may intend all the sins of your life in the end with saying ‘and all the sins of my life’.

If a thought comes into ones mind out of the blue and a person may hesitate but does not give full consent – this is venial sin perhaps. Same if they person gives ‘half consent’ etc.

(regarding lust (disordered sexual desire etc) and modesty --which protects chastity --see the Catechism on this)

Also note that if you try too much to get rid of the thoughts directly --it can make them worse. best thing to do is ignore them and go on to something else.

ignore them like a barking dog.

Feel free to email me privately if you like and i can be of help.


Thanks for all your replies! I’m still a little unsure about whether I should mention this in confession. The problem is that I’m really shy so it’s hard for me to ask the priest for advice, etc. I’m also unsure it there were times when I willed some bad thoughts. If I don’t remember correctly, should I just not say anything about it? Again, thanks for all your replies.


I have had obsessive compulsive disorder for most of my life, and I was terribly scrupulous at one time. Through time my mind was able to adjust, and I really have no problem anymore. The best advice I can give is to try to break the cycle of obsession, anxiety, compulsion, repeat. The best way to do this is to acknowledge the cold hard truth – you are NOT responsible for any of your intrusive thoughts in any way shape or form.

I still get them all of the time, but I have learned to ignore them – I am confident you will be able to do so in time.

Peace and salvation.


Again, thank you for your responses. I just have a few more questions. I want to make a good confession. If I didn’t confess something last time in confession because I didn’t think it was a mortal sin, and I confess it now, do I have to say I omitted it last time? I think it’s venial but I’m not sure so I don’t know what to do. And also, I’m really, really shy and sometimes this causes me to appear rude to people; like when I sometimes don’t say hi to someone I know or ignore someone because of my shyness. Would this be a sin? I don’t want to do this and I try to avoid it but sometimes I feel like I hurt people because of my shyness.


Unwanted thoughts are what the Fathers call logismoi. We are all assaulted by them daily. The Fathers lay out five stages of logismoi.


*]Assault - the logismoi first attacks a person’s mind
*] Interaction - a person opens up a dialogue with the logismoi
*] Consent - a person consents to do what the logismoi urges him to do
*] Defeat - a person becomes hostage to the logismoi and finds it more difficult to resist
*] Passion or Obsession - the logismoi becomes an entrenched reality within the nous of a person

This from the Mountain of Silence.

“The holy elders,” Father Maximos claimed, “identify five stages in the development of a logismos. Of course, I am speaking of a logismos that goes contrary to God’s laws. The first is the assault stage, when the logismos first attacks our mind.”

“Let me give you an example. A thought enters our mind in the form of a suggestion urging us, let us say, to steal. It is as if this logismos knocks at the door of our mind and tells us: ‘Look at this pile of money. Nobody is looking. Take it.’

“When such a logismos strikes, no matter how sinful it may be, it does not render us accountable,” Father Maximos explained. “The quality of our spiritual state is not evaluated on the basis of these assaults. In simple language we commit no sin. The holy elders throughout the ages were relentlessly tempted and assaulted by similar and even worse logismoi.

“The second stage according to the holy elders is what they called interaction. It implies opening up of a dialog, an actual exchange with the logismos. When a logismos urges you, for example, to steal that pile of money, you begin to wonder, ‘Should I or should I not? What’s going to happen if I steal it? What’s going to happen if I don’t steal it?’ This is risky and dangerous. However, even at this stage there is no accountability on the part of the individual, no sin committed as yet. The person can indeed examine such a logismos and consider several options without being accountable. But if the person is weak by temperament, then defeat may be the most likely outcome of that exposure to the logismos.”

The third stage in the progression of a logismos is the stage of consent as we would say. You consent to commit what the logismos urges you to do, in this particular case, to steal money. You have made a decision. That’s when guilt and accountability start to emerge. It is the beginning of sin. Jesus was referring to this stage when he proclaimed that if you covet a woman in your mind you have already committed adultery in your heart. The moment this decision is allowed to take root in your heart, then you are well on the way to actually committing the act in the outer world.”

“In the event that a person is unable to free himself from the previous stage, then there is defeat. He becomes hostage to the logismos. The moment the person succumbs, the next time around the logismos returns with greater force. It is much more difficult to resist then. And so it is with the next time and the time after that. The holy elders called it the stage of captivity. That’s when the person can no longer retreat and proceeds along with this act which now becomes a habit that is repeated time and again.”

“Finally, the holy elders identify the end stage in the evolution of a logismos as that of a passion or obsession. The logismos has become an entrenched reality within the consciousness of the person, within the nous. The person becomes a captive of obsessive logismoi, leading to ongoing destructive acts to oneself and to others, such as in the case of a compulsive gambler. The holy elders have warned us that when we become dominated by such passions it is like giving the key or our heart to Satan so that he can get in and out any time he wishes. We see a lot of our brothers and sisters struggling desperately to overcome their obsessive passions and addictions but without much success. They are fully aware that what they do is self-destructive. They are capable of reasoning with clarity of mind, but their heart is captive. They cannot eject from themselves that negative energy that possesses and controls them.”

If you reject a thought, no matter how terrible that thought may be, you commit no sin. Of course if you have a question in your mind you should speak to your priest.

Yours in Christ


Unwanted thoughts are temptations, not sins. You do not need to confess these since you said they were unwanted. :) Take care that you don't become scrupulous.


I think that in many cases fear of hell may be at the core of OCD. People may fear that they may go to hell for a “technicality” or are unworthy to receive communion so they worry and obsess about thoughts. Then they may think about these thoughts to go over them and see how bad they really were and then all of a sudden they worry that they had these thoughts again because they were “reviewing” them. Jesus came to set the captives free. Take your freedom and go! :slight_smile:


You are not responsible for the unwanted OCD thoughts anymore than you would be responsible for the unwanted pain of a physical illness. If you were physically ill and felt pain you would not feel guilty for suffering physical pain, so do not feel guilty for suffering mental pain.

My advice is to find a psychologist who specializes in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This form of therapy is especially effective for treating OCD.


At what point exactly is a thought a sin?

When you get the thought, accept the thought and then act on the thought?


You would only need to confess mortal sins…that is those things that are grave matter with full knowledge and complete consent. If these thoughts were not completely consented too…they could never be mortal sins…and thus do not need to be confessed…as well as you can intend them ‘as to any sins that may have been there’ when you say “and all the sins of my life” at the end of your confession.


[quote="dnar, post:17, topic:179311"]
At what point exactly is a thought a sin?

When you get the thought, accept the thought and then act on the thought?


if you deliberately start thinking the thought... say a lustful thought or other sinful thought....then it is sinful...


if some thought is 'coming to you' ....one can sin if one consents to it. Or one can sin if one entertains it....

if you act further on the thought...it becomes more sinful....then you have sinned in thought and action...

mortal sin is only if there is grave matter (say lustful thoughts) and full knowledge and complete consent....

venial sin can be if there is partial consent....etc


That I think is a good description.

'The evil thought that proceeds from looks, though it should be rejected, never fails to leave a stain upon the soul. Brother Roger, a Franciscan of singular purity, being once asked why he was so reserved in his intercourse with women, replied, that when men avoid the occasions of sin, God preserves them; but when they expose themselves to danger, they are justly abandoned by the Lord, and easily fall into some grievous transgressions.'

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

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