What are beginnings of scrupulosity?


#1

I dealt with scrupulosity about two years ago and I’m trying to write about a character with similar experiences, but I can’t remember what ideas and misunderstandings led to my first scrupulous practices? Do you know of any examples? Thanks!


#2

I am still a newbie in the Catholic faith, so if someone could explain to me what scrupulosity realy was it would be great!


#3

It means to do things by the book, and to worry if they are not.

I guess it could start by an aggravation of what is perceived as a double standard. A perfectionist is scrupulous.

I think in regards to Catholicism, it can get out of hand. An example would be judging others and questioning their piety, which is something I struggle with.

Another example would be a Catholic who attends daily Mass, and worries if he/she has let God down by missing a weekday Mass.

St Alphonsus is the Patron Saint of the Scrupulous.


#4

Scrupulosity usually seems to involve distressing emotions and stressing about small details regarding any perceived fault or sin or failure. When as a child St Therese became scrupulous, she got upset over every litle fault or perceived failure, and then got upset over the fact that she’d been upset. Such folks may go to Confession with their sins but come away still obsessing about anything they forgot, or if they’d confessed properly, if the sins were really forgiven.


#5

Thank you! I think I may see a little of that in myself, but that is partly due to my background. Perhaps one day I will start a thread with my conversion story.


#6

Scrupulosity is very serious, and we should be careful about throwing the term around too loosely. It is essentially an obsessive compulsive disorder focusing on the area of one’s spiritual life. The scrupulous person typically either sees something as a sin which is objectively not a sin, or magnifies the gravity of a sin of objectively light matter until it seems in his estimation to be mortally sinful. Often a scrupulous person is obsessed about trying to confess his sins in exact detail, and when one small detail is inadvertently omitted, he feels that his confession was bad and ineffective, and therefore he feels the need to go to confession again and re-confess the sin in greater detail.

In our lax world, often people are accused of being scrupulous who are in fact faithful. To seek to fulfill all of God’s commandments even in their smallest details is not scrupulosity, it is fidelity, and shows a person’s great love for God.


#7

Fr. Boyd, I agree with you that scrupulosity seems “over-diagnosed”. In fact, to use a felicitous turn of phrase there seems to be a outbreak of “scrupulosity scrupulosity” – i.e. finding scrupulosity everywhere.

Why do you think that is, in your opinion? Even among faithful catholics scrupulosity seems to be a a kind of bug-a-boo – it seems to be diagnosed at the first hint. Or am I off base?

Interested in your thoughts on this matter, thanks.

VC


#8

Conversely, in our lax world, people want to excuse behavior as being scrupulous instead of treating it as being more serious. This is why getting a good confessor/spiritual director to help one discern how to deal with their particular situation is recommended.


#9

I think it might be because if someone knows he is doing something wrong, and someone else is indicating that it is wrong, it is easier to dismiss the other person if he can be labeled as having a disorder such as scrupulosity. The unjust person can continue doing what he wants, and merely feels sorry for that poor, scrupulous person who is so rigid.


#10

[quote=I_Believe]It means to do things by the book, and to worry if they are not.

… A perfectionist is scrupulous.
[/quote]

I think that being scruplous and being a perfectionist are linked and both are linked to our basic personalities which we can modify but not totally change.

Then there’s the influence of the family we were brought up in and the personalities of our parents - which one we were closer to, which one we spent time with.

Also did our parents see our inevitable childhood naughtiness as this or did they see it is sinful, willful and warn of the consequences, including the eternal ones, of our behaviour.

All these influence whether we remain with a healthy “I want to do my best” to a feeling we are nothing if we do not do things perfectly. Almost to 100% = good, 99% and below bad.

The scrupulous goes along paths the non-scruplous does not go along

eg I went to mass, but I didn’t concentrate all the time, did I therefore not fulfil my obligation?

eg was my confession valid - did I miss any sins, am I really repentent. should I go and confess again to make sure?


#11

A scrupulous person focuses their attention on their unworthiness in the eyes of God.

However, they fail to understand that God loves us, irrespective of our worth.

Also, people who focus on their own unworthiness, focus even more on the unworthiness of others.

Such persons should really learn about Divine Mercy. St Faustina’s dairy would be a good place to start.

Jim


#12

I am stupid and ignorant in many ways, have done no outside research, and have not been diagnosed with scrupulosity although it may be possible that I have a serious undiagnosed case, :blush: who knows :eek: , but from my readings on this forum and the readings of the saints, here is my best (and hopefully humorous not offensive) initial shot at helping to resolve the issue. :slight_smile:

Scrupulosity is related to pride. (1) A scrupulous person focuses on the sins that they themselves have chosen out and not the sins preached out strongly in the church. A bit like how Annias and Saphias gave their property to the Church and lied about it, and St. Paul (?) pointed out:* this was yours in the first place, you didn’t HAVE to give it. No one told you to do so. * So the sins that the scrupulous wonder about can seem strange or excessive to others: rather than struggling with poverty, chastity, obedience, humility, charity, faith, true love of Jesus and Mary and the Church, suffering, and sacrifice they seem to have serious struggles with things that seem strange or unrelated to sin tor others, like they are going out of their way to do good deeds in unknown and strange paths for the Church or trying to be holy and self-sacrificing above their level while neglecting what is really important. (2) Scrupulous people - instead of seeking out the best counsel possible and the sacraments and praying heavily and then trusting in God for direction - seem to desire direction but then ignore it. Others may wonder if their search for spiritual direction is a way to make themselves look holy instead of a genuine search and why they care whether others think they are holy or not. They also seem to struggle to take an interest in others - they hardly hear or analyze the direction that they receive whether from the saints or mere mortals and have little to no interest in deeply considering and analyzing the issues of others. Scrupulous people may have a very strong view of themselves as the highest judge of morality.

A person who loves God tries to be 100% perfect. St. Mary Faustina says, #112, “There is nothing little in the spiritual life.” saint-faustina.com/Diary/DMIMS3.shtml They are humble and think of others as better than themselves, so they welcome any advice that they receive in bettering themself and are constantly seeing the ways in which they fall short of the ideals given to them by those superior. They also depend on the mercy of God and his grace completely so they soon forget about even their most grievous sins if the Church tells them to forget about these sins and go on with happiness, knowing that they are miserable and worth spiritually less than toads, but happy that the ABUNDANTLY LOVING AND MERCIFUL LORD, SAVIOR, SPOUSE has loved them so much to raise them up in their misery and looked at the blood of the LORD instead of their own sins so that they can be in extremely close union with him forevermore. Mother Teresa, St. Louis Mary de Montfort, St. Mary Faustina, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, St. Therese of Liseux, and St. Francis of Assisi all saw themselves as wretches unworthy of God, the end result is that they achieved saintliness by grace and merit. Quite possibly, their Merit would probably not have been so great if their Humility had not been so powerful. Maybe humility is the most important virtue in the church. NOTE: St. Louis Mary de Montfort even writes in True Devotion to Mary montfort.org.uk/Writings/TrueDev.html
saintlouisdemontfort.com/consecration.cfm to basically spend a week knowing of one’s own wretchedness before performing an act of consecration.

In summary, scrupulosity versus humility in my possibly misguided and judgmental opinion. The humble person is failing a class and is not too smart, goes to the teaching assistant and professor for help. Takes their advice to heart and diligently applies it to herself, seeking all legitimate sources of help and eventually passes by dint of effort and pain. The scrupulous person is failing a class and is not too smart, buys books from Amazon.com to help with class that end up leading her down the wrong path, goes to teaching assistant and professor but is too stung by the fact that they unconsciously look down on her for going to extra help that she doesn’t take any notes and gains nothing from the many meetings, cries self to sleep every night over struggles in class, exerts a lot of pain, fails class. In next class, when same problem repeats, thinks that she has no hope of passing the class because of scrupulosity diagnosis, chooses not to join a support group because of preference to go it alone, quits trying.

*Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. *

Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse.

For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world! For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world! For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!
Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

*Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. *


#13

But that’s how it is. A single fly ruins the ointment. If any action fails to be perfectly good, either in intent, means, or ends, then it is evil, not good. Only God is Good, and only God is perfect. It is reasonable then to conclude that only what is perfect is good.

There is only one Truth, and deviation from it instantly becomes lie. It matters not to what the extent of the Lie, it is a lie, it is an un-Truth, it is abhorrent.


#14

[quote=Dtmccameron]But that’s how it is. A single fly ruins the ointment. If any action fails to be perfectly good, either in intent, means, or ends, then it is evil, not good. Only God is Good, and only God is perfect. It is reasonable then to conclude that only what is perfect is good.

There is only one Truth, and deviation from it instantly becomes lie. It matters not to what the extent of the Lie, it is a lie, it is an un-Truth, it is abhorrent.
[/quote]

Isn’t this what leads to either scruplousity or despair?

Nothing we can do is good enough - one wrong word to someone, one mistake in a piece of work, one thought of not doing someone we should do - and we are evil.

In another post someone asked about believing in hell - living believing that only the perfect is good and knowing I can never perfect is my vision of hell.


#15

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