What exactly is deliberate consent? Am I in mortal sin?


#1

Hi,
I’m having trouble understanding what exactly full consent is. Please keep in mind I struggle with scrupulosity. I struggle greatly with impure thoughts and I really do feel like I deliberately think them, but I don’t want them whatsoever. When I tell myself I don’t want them and having them gives me great displeasure, I feel like I’m just trying to tell myself I don’t have full consent so I won’t be in the state of mortal sin. I really do feel like I need to go to confession, but the last priest I went to(this was a little over a week ago) told me not to come back for a month, because he doesn’t want to enable my condition as I continue to work on it. What do I do? Also, I was watching a completely innocent, PG rated film last night, but the main actress did a film with a sex scene(nothing shown), and when I see her in movies the thoughts linger in my head. I say a prayer to get rid of them and I genuinely did not want them. Is this mortally sinful?
One more question: Did I receive the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin after thinking these thoughts I believed to be deliberate, but I did not want them at all?
God Bless,
Amanda


#2

If the priest told you not to come back for a month then follow his advice. Speak to him next month about your concerns then.


#3

[quote="Amandylinee, post:1, topic:330457"]
Hi,
I'm having trouble understanding what exactly full consent is. Please keep in mind I struggle with scrupulosity. I struggle greatly with impure thoughts and I really do feel like I deliberately think them, but I don't want them whatsoever. When I tell myself I don't want them and having them gives me great displeasure, I feel like I'm just trying to tell myself I don't have full consent so I won't be in the state of mortal sin. I really do feel like I need to go to confession, but the last priest I went to(this was a little over a week ago) told me not to come back for a month, because he doesn't want to enable my condition as I continue to work on it. What do I do? Also, I was watching a completely innocent, PG rated film last night, but the main actress did a film with a sex scene(nothing shown), and when I see her in movies the thoughts linger in my head. I say a prayer to get rid of them and I genuinely did not want them. Is this mortally sinful?
One more question: Did I receive the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin after thinking these thoughts I believed to be deliberate, but I did not want them at all?
God Bless,
Amanda

[/quote]

I don't think Amanda you are not going through what most if not all of us eventually go through. I see by your words you tend to be upset too much on trying to be perfect before the Lord. If anything this is where your struggle gives to you this impression that you need to be perfect all the time. Try not to think this way. God loves the more when we are imperfect meaning we will go to Him the more to learn the more about ourselves. He is not disturbed about our many venial sins. Think about how much the Lord wants to give Himself to you while you are still in your venial state. Your problems are not sins (mortal) at all but interpreting what these thoughts to be sin. Let me say that this is not the correct way of looking at your situation. You are experiencing temptation not sin. You are interpreting this temptation to be sin. Unless you have committed any actions (this is what confirms sin if you allow the thoughts to be exercised into some action) then I wouldn't worry too much about if you have given consent because of what you said there was certainly no consent at all. Please understand that what you are going through is what we all go through. You seem to think you are not the only one who goes through temptations. Think about this. It is good that you experienced this temptation. The Lord has given you this special gift to recognize what temptation is. That Amanda is a great gift. Not all people can recognize what temptation is. Many people do not even think at all what to resist. You on the other hand have been given this gift.

What you need is not to worry but attached yourself to someone who is more spiritually than you and to be guided by their words and comfort. You need a mentor and not necessarily a Confessor although a Confessor can also act as your mentor if the priest has the time for you. Anyone can be a mentor for you so the best thing for you to do is go out and search for one. Pray to God and He will point out one to you. In the meanwhile why don't you pick out a saint you can read and digest on. I usually ask people to seek out St. Maria Faustina and her Diary to be excellent reading. Her book will be an excellent antidote for you to digest on since this saint had to go through the many experiences you go through now. She was often troubled in her mind about this "sinning too much" when her Lord Jesus would often tell her that this was not the case. Read her story and learn from her. And seek out a mentor as well.


#4

[quote="Amandylinee, post:1, topic:330457"]
Hi,
I'm having trouble understanding what exactly full consent is. Please keep in mind I struggle with scrupulosity. I struggle greatly with impure thoughts and I really do feel like I deliberately think them, but I don't want them whatsoever. When I tell myself I don't want them and having them gives me great displeasure, I feel like I'm just trying to tell myself I don't have full consent so I won't be in the state of mortal sin. I really do feel like I need to go to confession, but the last priest I went to(this was a little over a week ago) told me not to come back for a month, because he doesn't want to enable my condition as I continue to work on it. What do I do? Also, I was watching a completely innocent, PG rated film last night, but the main actress did a film with a sex scene(nothing shown), and when I see her in movies the thoughts linger in my head. I say a prayer to get rid of them and I genuinely did not want them. Is this mortally sinful?
One more question: Did I receive the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin after thinking these thoughts I believed to be deliberate, but I did not want them at all?
God Bless,
Amanda

[/quote]

"Deliberate" means that you consciously decide to do it. The thoughts you describe appear to be the opposite of deliberate, as you neither intended to start thinking them, nor intended to prolong them, and did intend that they go away. That they don't immediately go away is just normal.

God knows that we are human and does not require superhuman control of our thoughts from us. If I understand what you are saying, the perfection you seek is not only not required, but also not possible for the vast majority of us.

I recommend the following resources:
mission.liguori.org/newsletters/scrupulosity.htm
mission.liguori.org/newsletters/scrupulosity2.htm

These sites contain a (non-binding but highly recommended) set of rules for scrupulous poeple. From the first:

  1. You shall not consider yourself guilty of bad thoughts, desires, or feelings, unless you can honestly swear before the all-truthful God that you remember clearly and certainly consenting to them.

This is a very important commandment. The whole area of impure thoughts and desires causes scrupulous people much anxiety. Unfortunately, scrupulous persons often believe that the very appearance of thoughts or desires in their thoughts or imagination means that they have committed a sin. This is most certainly not the case. In fact, it is humanly impossible for us to have absolute control over our interior faculties. Such thoughts and images are going to happen, whether we like them or not.

Because we simply do not have absolute control over our interior faculties, the emphasis of the commandment is on clear and certain consent. Only a free consent, that is clear and certain, constitutes a sin. You can not accidentally or involuntarily be guilty of sin.

Short version: do what your priest says.


#5

Since you mention scrupulosity -- it is very important for you to have a "regular confessor" who can know your difficulties and direct you. And even give you principles for you to follow in them. Such is the age old practice in the Church.

It does not have to say be the last Priest you saw -- but pick a regular confessor who knows your difficulty with scruples --who can even take a kind of responsibility for you.


#6

[quote="chimo, post:3, topic:330457"]

What you need is not to worry but attached yourself to someone who is more spiritually than you and to be guided by their words and comfort. You need a mentor and not necessarily a Confessor although a Confessor can also act as your mentor if the priest has the time for you.

[/quote]

It would be good for her to have a* regular confessor * --see last post.


#7

(from previous posts of mine)

Regarding unwanted thoughts

While Jesus makes it clear that one can sin in ones thoughts...just cause some lustful thought or other like thought happens does not mean that one has sinned....

What should we do with* unwanted* sexual thoughts or other "bad thoughts"? Those pesky temptations that can come ....even though we are not seeking them or doing anything to bring them etc...

Are they mortal sins?

For a mortal sin one needs a grave matter ...full knowledge AND deliberate consent!!!

Deliberate consent....full consent needs be given in order to commit a mortal sin.

A. If you do not want the thought...it the thought displeases you: such can be a sign actually that you did not give any consent or do not give full consent.

B. Even if you felt a temptation for the thought -- and were drawn to it involuntarily ---but rejected it and maybe even turned right to God : again a sign not full consent (if there was any).

C. A temptation can even be very strong or the thoughts very often -- but this does NOT mean one has consented!

Remember --for it to be mortal there must be that deliberate consent! Complete consent (partial consent is not complete consent....)

What to do? on the spiritual side--relax first of all and remember the above.

Next -- know that the more one fears the thoughts the more likely they are to come.... or said another way --the more a person stress about seeking to avoid the thoughts the more likely he will have a problem with them.

for example: for the next 10 seconds try NOT to think of an apple.

tick tock ...

tick tock...

Ok what did you think of?

Most likely an apple.

So it is best to ignore them and just not consent and then turn your attention to some other good thing...for instance whatever good you are doing.

Simply do not consent and move on....

Another point -- thoughts can just happen --they are the stuff with which we think...it is up to us to consent and take them further or not. And just because they are real vivid and almost "think themselves" does not mean per se that one has given ANY consent.

They can be annoying...but need cause no actual harm ....

(Now difficulties with thoughts can happen to anyone..and has for centuries.....nothing new!...but I will note too that "some" have a condition known as OCD (I knew someone with this once...it was a painful experience)..and thus should seek further professional help to work at overcoming it and to live a more peaceful life...)

(also some suffer from scrupulosity and ought to have a* regular confessor*)


Another help...is the distinction of "first thoughts and emotions" (as Baur calls em) what they call the prima of the prima.."the first of the first" (as one of my Professors called em...he was a Dominican)..these are the first involuntary things that just come up....such are not sins. They can tempt one of course to sin...or one can then proceed to some sin...but they are the stuff of the mind and emotions which "happen to one" ...and really the are opportunities for growing in virtue etc as well...

How to deal with these? First of relax...don't scruple...don't fear them...to try to swat them all as the come...just simply turn to other things...or the good thing you are doing...or to God...(of course do not consent)...but if you are too defensive against them...they may get worse actually...and confuse you more...instead turn to God or again other good things...accept that hey..somethings wild thoughts will come to you...

(and these can happen to all of us by the way...)


There is a story from the desert of the early Centuries of the Church where a younger hermit when to an older one with the problems of thoughts happening to him all the time....the older hermit told him to go outside open his cloak and catch the wind.

The younger hermit said such is not possible...

the older hermit replied --neither is it possible to stop all the thoughts that can come to you.......your choice..... is say yes or no.

(and best to say "no" by turning to something else .....flee more than fight)


#8

And to quote the Senior Apologist of Catholic Answers--Jimmy Akin:

"For a sin of thought to be mortal, three conditions must be met: (1) the thought must involve grave matter (like inflicting grave harm on someone else), (2) you have to know that the thought is gravely sinful, and (3) you have to deliberately endorse the thought (as opposed to having it flit through your mind and you resist it)."

"Many people scruple unnecessarily about sins of thought and are too hard on themselves. Frequently they confuse temptation with sinning. Having a thought and feeling a pull toward the thought is just temptation. It only crosses the line into sin when you deliberately endorse the thought."


#9

[quote="Iron_Donkey, post:4, topic:330457"]
"Deliberate" means that you consciously decide to do it. The thoughts you describe appear to be the opposite of deliberate, as you neither intended to start thinking them, nor intended to prolong them, and did intend that they go away. That they don't immediately go away is just normal.

God knows that we are human and does not require superhuman control of our thoughts from us. If I understand what you are saying, the perfection you seek is not only not required, but also not possible for the vast majority of us.

I recommend the following resources:
mission.liguori.org/newsletters/scrupulosity.htm
mission.liguori.org/newsletters/scrupulosity2.htm

These sites contain a (non-binding but highly recommended) set of rules for scrupulous poeple. From the first:

Short version: do what your priest says.

[/quote]

Thanks for posting this. What I needed to hear. I suffer from obsessive compulsive thinking.


#10

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