Was this a mortal sin?

So, just as a bit of a warning, this topic is very embarrasing and not would you normally find on the forums: just a warning…also, you’ll see why this is hard to confess to a priest

I have severe hemorrhoids. but that isnt the possible sin lol, although it seems to be a frequent punishment in the OT. Often times, the itching and burning gets so intense that I cant not be distracted, and I have to deal with it. I’ve been using PrepH, but sometimes I just have to scratch (I told you this wasnt going to be pleasant…)

and so, when I do give in to the temptation to ‘appease’ my itch, I sometimes find that I cant keep from scratching, the feeling is so relieving. And so it seems to take on a sort of “I cant wait to get rid of this itch, it is going to feel sooo good” thing, and once I start scratching I keep at it for a while.

Well, with thinking about mortal sin, I have begun thinking that this is a disordered action. I’m not doing in a sexual way or anything like that, but it is the sort of giving into the temptation of the flesh and appeasing it, and taking some disordered happiness (that sometimes feels almost sexual, or at least i start accusing myself that it does).

and so, I confessed this to a priest once and he really had nothing to say. He didnt say whether or not it was mortal. I told him that I felt the drive to appease the temptation and then the feeling of relief that almost bordered on ecstatic was what I thought was grave (if u have had severe hemorrhoids, u may understand this.

on another note:
I am very concerned that I am starting to become overly scrupulous, to the point that I always think of sins before communion and reasons to not receive, even though they arent mortal (i try to tell myself that they are, especially in the example above)

i know this is a ton of info and that is actually very gross, it is embarassing for me and I appreciate any help that you can give. thanks to all.

Not to worry. Scratching an itch is neither a sin nor disordered. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with “giving in to the temptation of the flesh,” as you call it, when that involves (1) drinking an ice-cold glass of water after a hot afternoon mowing the lawn, (2) eating a slice of pie after you’ve been ravenously waiting for it to cool for the last hour, (3) going to the bathroom after you’ve been holding it in way too long, (4) finally scratching an itch that’s been driving you mad, etc. All of those are things that cause us to go “Ahhhhhh!”, but none of them is a sin. Some people are called to ascetic lives (e.g., they would eschew the slice of pie), and sometimes we all forgo pleasures like these as a matter of penitence, but there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with any of them.

It’s a bad idea, though, to deliberately confuse yourself about what constitutes mortal sin. Mortal sin is a severe matter, and it’s not healthy to cultivate an erroneous set of beliefs around it.

It’s not a mortal sin, as you are taking action to relieve a medical condition that necessitates scratching to relieve the discomfort.

However, if you have a need to scratch that often or that much, to the point that you are getting undue pleasure out of the relief, then I think it’s high time you make an apppointment with your doctor. You need to get your medical condition taken care of.

If you have any doubts about my answer that you are not committing a sin, then your next step should be to remove the cause of the sin. In this case, go to the doctor to get rid of the hemorroids and you will no longer have occasion to sin.

You are allowed to relieve your own suffering. There is no sin in that. Be careful you don’t get so vigorous you harm yourself, though. (You have a doctor watching this condition, I trust. There are serious internal conditions that can be mistaken for or can co-exist silently with hemorrhoids.)

Thanks everyone, I’ve gone to a doctor before but I’m planning to go back next week to get a serious consultation. Unfortunately, this is a condition that has been distracting for quite a while, and I havent sought the treatment that I should have as quickly as i should have. thanks again

ps. I have sometimes heard that “when in doubt, confess and dont receive communion.”
but for something like this, or any other “what if this is mortal” idea comes around, is it better to just go to confession? I feel like this can be an abuse of such a wonderful sacrament, like saying, “well, Im not sure if I need to take this medication, but im going to take it anyway just to make sure.” not to delineate the sacrament to a “pill” but i think you know that i mean. again, thanks.

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