What is the difference between feelings and the desire to sin?


As I understand it, feelings are not sinful but a desire to sin is. I am confused on how to tell the difference. Please use the following example: If I am worried about something being seriously sinful, have the thought (with reflection) that I wish I would have already acted before I understood that it may be seriously sinful because I knew I wanted the benefit but would never commit the act now that I know that it may be sinfull. Is this sinning by desire or just a feeling and not sinful because I wouldn’t act on it? Please clarify this confusion as I knever know when confession is needed. Thank you very much.



Neither feelings nor the desire to sin are sinful. It is the decision to sin that is sinful. The desire to sin is merely a temptation. It is when we decide to actually sin that we sin. Sin lies in the will—not in being tempted. Being sorry that one didn’t sin is to not realize what sin really is. Sin is not merely breaking a law. It is turning one’s back on the Lord’s gesture of love as He hung on the cross.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.