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Wyatt
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« on: June 04, 2011, 11:55:14 AM »

In the Catholic Church, I hear a lot about people being scrupulous, which I have heard is essentially like religious OCD. I was wondering how common this is in the Orthodox Church? I would especially like to hear input from Priests if they can disclose any details without breaking the seal of the confessional. Thanks.
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« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2011, 01:49:12 AM »

The Orthodox Church doesn't have a problem with scrupulosity, obviously. In their confessional there is sanctifying grace, but Catholic confessions are graceless.
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« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2011, 01:53:18 AM »

My Priest has already spoken with me about this prolepsis. As has my therapist.

Not so much religious OCD, but making mountains of molehills to avoid looking at the real mountains, to put it poorly in my own words.

FWIW.
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« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2011, 02:19:05 PM »

The Orthodox Church doesn't have a problem with scrupulosity, obviously. In their confessional there is sanctifying grace, but Catholic confessions are graceless.
 Wink

Oh yeah. I forgot. Tongue

My Priest has already spoken with me about this prolepsis. As has my therapist.

Not so much religious OCD, but making mountains of molehills to avoid looking at the real mountains, to put it poorly in my own words.

FWIW.
Surely your priest doesn't believe that scrupulosity is always just an attempt to avoid real issues, does he? I have never been formally declared scrupulous by my confessor, but just thinking about myself and my personality (as well as my anxiety issues) I know that I am scrupulous to a degree. I also know that it is not just an act to avoid my real problems because I stew and fret over the "real" stuff as well as all minor stuff too.
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« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2011, 03:11:10 PM »

I heard a story of Martin Luther, who was apparently renowned for his lengthy confessions of minute and trivial matters, sometimes barely leaving the church without having to go back to say more. This is extreme scrupulosity.

I would say it becomes scrupulosity when one becomes upset over trivial sins while ignoring the albatross that is really weighing one down. If I really despise my neighbor, but come to confession with a detailed list of all the times I have broken the speed limit, that could be scrupulosity.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2011, 03:12:00 PM by bogdan » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2011, 04:15:44 PM »

The Orthodox Church doesn't have a problem with scrupulosity, obviously. In their confessional there is sanctifying grace, but Catholic confessions are graceless.
 Wink

Oh yeah. I forgot. Tongue

My Priest has already spoken with me about this prolepsis. As has my therapist.

Not so much religious OCD, but making mountains of molehills to avoid looking at the real mountains, to put it poorly in my own words.

FWIW.
Surely your priest doesn't believe that scrupulosity is always just an attempt to avoid real issues, does he? I have never been formally declared scrupulous by my confessor, but just thinking about myself and my personality (as well as my anxiety issues) I know that I am scrupulous to a degree. I also know that it is not just an act to avoid my real problems because I stew and fret over the "real" stuff as well as all minor stuff too.

I won't speak for my Priest, but I would say I am correct in my understanding as bogdan's post supports. I understand what you are speaking of and that is certainly an issue of psychological health living in the fallen world. I many here would share your experience of anxiety or compulsive thinking or whathaveyou.

Scrupulosity again IMHO can be unintentional, but once made clear, it is something that does not require a serious psychological "rearrangement" to change. Most folks who suffer from such things will tend to have "door knob" issues.

True anxiety disorders are another matter. In the best situation, the Priest could recognize the difference, or you, or best yet be under treatment of therapist who can work in tandem with your Priest on the issues.

Thankfully, I privileged to have an insightful and caring Priest and considerable amount of time in therapy.

So I speak from experience. I hope you don't think I was dismissing the often "compulsive" disorder many of us suffer from psychologically.
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« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2011, 07:23:32 PM »

I knew some folks who converted from Roman Catholicism. They were scrupulous and said that it was the practice of distinguishing between mortal and venial sin that drove them to scrupulosity.

These RC questions to determine whether or not a sin is mortal plagued them:

(1) Was it a serious sin? (In Orthodoxy, all sin is serious.)

(2) Did I do it deliberately?

(3) Did I do it with full consent of the will? (Was I inebriated at the time or was I suffering from brain fog?)

Note that in Orthodoxy all sins (deliberate and indeliberate, known and unknown, of thought, word, or deed) are to be confessed.

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« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2011, 08:49:27 PM »

I knew some folks who converted from Roman Catholicism. They were scrupulous and said that it was the practice of distinguishing between mortal and venial sin that drove them to scrupulosity.

These RC questions to determine whether or not a sin is mortal plagued them:

(1) Was it a serious sin? (In Orthodoxy, all sin is serious.)

(2) Did I do it deliberately?

(3) Did I do it with full consent of the will? (Was I inebriated at the time or was I suffering from brain fog?)

Note that in Orthodoxy all sins (deliberate and indeliberate, known and unknown, of thought, word, or deed) are to be confessed.



And that's exactly what I was taught to do. I confess all sins I can remember and also sins I don't remember.

And yes, all sins are serious, but some are more serious than others.
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« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2011, 09:02:29 PM »

I knew some folks who converted from Roman Catholicism. They were scrupulous and said that it was the practice of distinguishing between mortal and venial sin that drove them to scrupulosity.

These RC questions to determine whether or not a sin is mortal plagued them:

(1) Was it a serious sin? (In Orthodoxy, all sin is serious.)

(2) Did I do it deliberately?

(3) Did I do it with full consent of the will? (Was I inebriated at the time or was I suffering from brain fog?)

Note that in Orthodoxy all sins (deliberate and indeliberate, known and unknown, of thought, word, or deed) are to be confessed.



And that's exactly what I was taught to do. I confess all sins I can remember and also sins I don't remember.

And yes, all sins are serious, but some are more serious than others.

Unfortunately, I encountered some priests in the Catholic Church who asked me to confess only mortal sins.
That was a problem.

My sister also had that experience. Since she could not find any mortal sins on her soul, and in order to please the priest, she confessed adultery (when she was only 8 years old). She did not even know the meaning of the word, but the priest gave her a Rosary to pray as a penance.
Sadly, she left Catholicism and is now agnostic.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2011, 09:03:30 PM by Maria » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2011, 09:03:51 PM »

I knew some folks who converted from Roman Catholicism. They were scrupulous and said that it was the practice of distinguishing between mortal and venial sin that drove them to scrupulosity.

These RC questions to determine whether or not a sin is mortal plagued them:

(1) Was it a serious sin? (In Orthodoxy, all sin is serious.)

(2) Did I do it deliberately?

(3) Did I do it with full consent of the will? (Was I inebriated at the time or was I suffering from brain fog?)

Note that in Orthodoxy all sins (deliberate and indeliberate, known and unknown, of thought, word, or deed) are to be confessed.



Really, I find that just the opposite in my case.  The RCC teaches that one does not have to confess venial sins, or even be sorry for them and they can still go to Heaven (Although it is recommended, it is still not a requirement). .  The idea of viewing all sins as equal and having to not only confess, but try to overcome all of them, even the most minuet ones sounds extremely overscrupulous to me, yet as I understand it this is what the Orthodox are supposed to to.  This would cause me an extreme amount of anxiety to think that I must be held accountable for every last error or personal fault that I have committed and try to amend my life from all of them.  

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« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2011, 09:05:58 PM »

I knew some folks who converted from Roman Catholicism. They were scrupulous and said that it was the practice of distinguishing between mortal and venial sin that drove them to scrupulosity.

These RC questions to determine whether or not a sin is mortal plagued them:

(1) Was it a serious sin? (In Orthodoxy, all sin is serious.)

(2) Did I do it deliberately?

(3) Did I do it with full consent of the will? (Was I inebriated at the time or was I suffering from brain fog?)

Note that in Orthodoxy all sins (deliberate and indeliberate, known and unknown, of thought, word, or deed) are to be confessed.



Really, I find that just the opposite in my case.  The RCC teaches that one does not have to confess venial sins, or even be sorry for them and they can still go to Heaven (Although it is recommended, it is still not a requirement). .  The idea of viewing all sins as equal and having to not only confess, but try to overcome all of them, even the most minuet ones sounds extremely overscrupulous to me, yet as I understand it this is what the Orthodox are supposed to to.  This would cause me an extreme amount of anxiety to think that I must be held accountable for every last error or personal fault that I have committed and try to amend my life from all of them.  



We are all sinners. We must struggle against temptation until the day we die.

The priest will guide us in the struggle. It is far more important to overcome the more serious sin in our lives especially those that impact others and may cause scandal.
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« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2011, 09:08:16 PM »

I knew some folks who converted from Roman Catholicism. They were scrupulous and said that it was the practice of distinguishing between mortal and venial sin that drove them to scrupulosity.

These RC questions to determine whether or not a sin is mortal plagued them:

(1) Was it a serious sin? (In Orthodoxy, all sin is serious.)

(2) Did I do it deliberately?

(3) Did I do it with full consent of the will? (Was I inebriated at the time or was I suffering from brain fog?)

Note that in Orthodoxy all sins (deliberate and in deliberate, known and unknown, of thought, word, or deed) are to be confessed.



And that's exactly what I was taught to do. I confess all sins I can remember and also sins I don't remember.

And yes, all sins are serious, but some are more serious than others.

How can you confess sins that you don't remember?  What do you do, ask other people if they thought you committed a sin and then confess that?

Unfortunate you are nice guy, but seem to have the typical sin obsessed personality of a "traditional" Catholic (I know what your going to say about me having the "typical" non sin obsessed personality of a NO Catholic, but I call them like I see them).
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« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2011, 09:10:39 PM »

I knew some folks who converted from Roman Catholicism. They were scrupulous and said that it was the practice of distinguishing between mortal and venial sin that drove them to scrupulosity.

These RC questions to determine whether or not a sin is mortal plagued them:

(1) Was it a serious sin? (In Orthodoxy, all sin is serious.)

(2) Did I do it deliberately?

(3) Did I do it with full consent of the will? (Was I inebriated at the time or was I suffering from brain fog?)

Note that in Orthodoxy all sins (deliberate and in deliberate, known and unknown, of thought, word, or deed) are to be confessed.



And that's exactly what I was taught to do. I confess all sins I can remember and also sins I don't remember.

And yes, all sins are serious, but some are more serious than others.

How can you confess sins that you don't remember?  What do you do, ask other people if they thought you committed a sin and then confess that?

Unfortunate you are nice guy, but seem to have the typical sin obsessed personality of a "traditional" Catholic (I know what your going to say about me having the "typical" non sin obsessed personality of a NO Catholic, but I call them like I see them).

This formula is used both in the Catholic and Orthodox Church:

"I am sorry for these sins and the ones that I cannot remember."

In addition, if we should remember any sin that we failed to confess, we are supposed to confess it at our next confession.

EDIT:

Conditions for a mortal sin in Catholicism:
(1) Grave matter
(2) Full knowledge
(3) Full consent of the will
« Last Edit: June 05, 2011, 09:36:24 PM by Maria » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2011, 09:19:13 PM »

I knew some folks who converted from Roman Catholicism. They were scrupulous and said that it was the practice of distinguishing between mortal and venial sin that drove them to scrupulosity.

These RC questions to determine whether or not a sin is mortal plagued them:

(1) Was it a serious sin? (In Orthodoxy, all sin is serious.)

(2) Did I do it deliberately?

(3) Did I do it with full consent of the will? (Was I inebriated at the time or was I suffering from brain fog?)

Note that in Orthodoxy all sins (deliberate and in deliberate, known and unknown, of thought, word, or deed) are to be confessed.



And that's exactly what I was taught to do. I confess all sins I can remember and also sins I don't remember.

And yes, all sins are serious, but some are more serious than others.

How can you confess sins that you don't remember?  What do you do, ask other people if they thought you committed a sin and then confess that?

Unfortunate you are nice guy, but seem to have the typical sin obsessed personality of a "traditional" Catholic (I know what your going to say about me having the "typical" non sin obsessed personality of a NO Catholic, but I call them like I see them).

This formula is used both in the Catholic and Orthodox Church:

"I am sorry for these sins and the ones that I cannot remember."

In addition, if we should remember any sin that we failed to confess, we are supposed to confess it at our next confession.

Yeas, but sisn that we cana ctually remember.

Luberti sounds like he confesses things that he has no memory of committing.
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« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2011, 10:03:45 PM »

I knew some folks who converted from Roman Catholicism. They were scrupulous and said that it was the practice of distinguishing between mortal and venial sin that drove them to scrupulosity.

These RC questions to determine whether or not a sin is mortal plagued them:

(1) Was it a serious sin? (In Orthodoxy, all sin is serious.)

(2) Did I do it deliberately?

(3) Did I do it with full consent of the will? (Was I inebriated at the time or was I suffering from brain fog?)

Note that in Orthodoxy all sins (deliberate and in deliberate, known and unknown, of thought, word, or deed) are to be confessed.



And that's exactly what I was taught to do. I confess all sins I can remember and also sins I don't remember.

And yes, all sins are serious, but some are more serious than others.

How can you confess sins that you don't remember?  What do you do, ask other people if they thought you committed a sin and then confess that?

Unfortunate you are nice guy, but seem to have the typical sin obsessed personality of a "traditional" Catholic (I know what your going to say about me having the "typical" non sin obsessed personality of a NO Catholic, but I call them like I see them).

This formula is used both in the Catholic and Orthodox Church:

"I am sorry for these sins and the ones that I cannot remember."

In addition, if we should remember any sin that we failed to confess, we are supposed to confess it at our next confession.

Yeas, but sisn that we cana ctually remember.

Luberti sounds like he confesses things that he has no memory of committing.
I'm sure he is just referring to the "for these and all my sins I am sorry" that we say at the end of our confession.
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« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2011, 08:57:55 PM »

I knew some folks who converted from Roman Catholicism. They were scrupulous and said that it was the practice of distinguishing between mortal and venial sin that drove them to scrupulosity.

These RC questions to determine whether or not a sin is mortal plagued them:

(1) Was it a serious sin? (In Orthodoxy, all sin is serious.)

(2) Did I do it deliberately?

(3) Did I do it with full consent of the will? (Was I inebriated at the time or was I suffering from brain fog?)

Note that in Orthodoxy all sins (deliberate and indeliberate, known and unknown, of thought, word, or deed) are to be confessed.



And that's exactly what I was taught to do. I confess all sins I can remember and also sins I don't remember.

And yes, all sins are serious, but some are more serious than others.

Unfortunately, I encountered some priests in the Catholic Church who asked me to confess only mortal sins.
That was a problem.

My sister also had that experience. Since she could not find any mortal sins on her soul, and in order to please the priest, she confessed adultery (when she was only 8 years old). She did not even know the meaning of the word, but the priest gave her a Rosary to pray as a penance.
Sadly, she left Catholicism and is now agnostic.

Yes, Maria.  This is a terrible problem for some of us.  I hope that some of our newer bishops, and the changes that will come in our seminaries will fix some of this laxity.  I have a Cistercian friend who argues me to death over this one.  As someone formed in the teachings of the reformed Carmelite saints,  I know that even the slightest tie to an inordinate habit of thought, word or deed left...not only unrepented...but also unreformed is enough to keep us from theosis.  Mr. Cistercian [he left the order] says that only mortal sins must be confessed for our salvation.  I suppose you can shave the teaching that finely and be correct but the last thing I am aiming at is to be a "correct" soul.

So it can be exceptionally difficult to find a priest who will be able to handle the confessions of religious and third order religious...and all others whose goal is union with God...not strict parsing of a canon or a catechetical paragraph.

There is another difficulty as well.  One of the women who comes for a spiritual word now and then has a daughter who is seven.  She has never had to correct the child for anything.  She has never known the child to lie or get angry or rebellious or disobedient in any way.  The sweet-heart is loving and pastoral and so good that I am terrified that the world may one day hit her like a ton of bricks.  The point is that her mother wants her to begin receiving communion, but I have said that it would be a true horror to have this child confess sins that she has never committed.  So finally a pastor was found who will hear a confession that is a prayer for the graces of repentence and hope, so that one can continue to be a good girl and a lovie at home and abroad.  She's being home schooled so there is time yet before the beast can get close enough to pounce.

I pray hard for that child every day.

M.

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« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2011, 09:06:57 PM »

Isn't there a chaplain for your third order or some priest who is attached to your group who can hear your confessions?

I also from time to time go to a Carmelite parish.  They are all very loving and devout priest.

However it still should be pointed out that RC's are not required to confess venial sins (Although it is encouraged by the Church as a devotional habit) No priest should turn down someone who wishes to confess a venial sin or personal fault to them, but still no priest can force a person to confess these.
I believe that there is middle road here and the Church should stick with traveling it, neither demanding or discouraging such confessions.
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« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2011, 09:23:24 PM »

I knew some folks who converted from Roman Catholicism. They were scrupulous and said that it was the practice of distinguishing between mortal and venial sin that drove them to scrupulosity.

These RC questions to determine whether or not a sin is mortal plagued them:

(1) Was it a serious sin? (In Orthodoxy, all sin is serious.)

(2) Did I do it deliberately?

(3) Did I do it with full consent of the will? (Was I inebriated at the time or was I suffering from brain fog?)

Note that in Orthodoxy all sins (deliberate and indeliberate, known and unknown, of thought, word, or deed) are to be confessed.



And that's exactly what I was taught to do. I confess all sins I can remember and also sins I don't remember.

And yes, all sins are serious, but some are more serious than others.

Unfortunately, I encountered some priests in the Catholic Church who asked me to confess only mortal sins.
That was a problem.

My sister also had that experience. Since she could not find any mortal sins on her soul, and in order to please the priest, she confessed adultery (when she was only 8 years old). She did not even know the meaning of the word, but the priest gave her a Rosary to pray as a penance.
Sadly, she left Catholicism and is now agnostic.

Yes, Maria.  This is a terrible problem for some of us.  I hope that some of our newer bishops, and the changes that will come in our seminaries will fix some of this laxity.  I have a Cistercian friend who argues me to death over this one.  As someone formed in the teachings of the reformed Carmelite saints,  I know that even the slightest tie to an inordinate habit of thought, word or deed left...not only unrepented...but also unreformed is enough to keep us from theosis.  Mr. Cistercian [he left the order] says that only mortal sins must be confessed for our salvation.  I suppose you can shave the teaching that finely and be correct but the last thing I am aiming at is to be a "correct" soul.

So it can be exceptionally difficult to find a priest who will be able to handle the confessions of religious and third order religious...and all others whose goal is union with God...not strict parsing of a canon or a catechetical paragraph.

There is another difficulty as well.  One of the women who comes for a spiritual word now and then has a daughter who is seven.  She has never had to correct the child for anything.  She has never known the child to lie or get angry or rebellious or disobedient in any way.  The sweet-heart is loving and pastoral and so good that I am terrified that the world may one day hit her like a ton of bricks.  The point is that her mother wants her to begin receiving communion, but I have said that it would be a true horror to have this child confess sins that she has never committed.  So finally a pastor was found who will hear a confession that is a prayer for the graces of repentence and hope, so that one can continue to be a good girl and a lovie at home and abroad.  She's being home schooled so there is time yet before the beast can get close enough to pounce.

I pray hard for that child every day.

M.



Perhaps you can spin this off into the prayer thread. I would like to remember this blessed child in my prayers too.
Ask her to pray for me.
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« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2011, 02:05:10 AM »

I knew some folks who converted from Roman Catholicism. They were scrupulous and said that it was the practice of distinguishing between mortal and venial sin that drove them to scrupulosity.

These RC questions to determine whether or not a sin is mortal plagued them:

(1) Was it a serious sin? (In Orthodoxy, all sin is serious.)

(2) Did I do it deliberately?

(3) Did I do it with full consent of the will? (Was I inebriated at the time or was I suffering from brain fog?)

Note that in Orthodoxy all sins (deliberate and indeliberate, known and unknown, of thought, word, or deed) are to be confessed.



Really, I find that just the opposite in my case.  The RCC teaches that one does not have to confess venial sins, or even be sorry for them and they can still go to Heaven (Although it is recommended, it is still not a requirement). .  The idea of viewing all sins as equal and having to not only confess, but try to overcome all of them, even the most minuet ones sounds extremely overscrupulous to me, yet as I understand it this is what the Orthodox are supposed to to.  This would cause me an extreme amount of anxiety to think that I must be held accountable for every last error or personal fault that I have committed and try to amend my life from all of them.  



You don't have to be sorry for venial sins?  Huh What are you smoking? Technically, yes venial sins don't totally separate you from God, but they still fray that bond. Enough fraying and that bond will break. So, yes, any sincere Christian will be sorry for ALL of his sins, not just the "mortal" ones.

But confession is not a time to be technical. Fortunately the priests I'm around encourage me to ignore the "venial/mortal" distinction and just confess all my sins. If I become a priest, I will do the same. The kind of over-analysis you describe encourages scrupulosity.
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« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2011, 02:07:54 AM »


How can you confess sins that you don't remember?  What do you do, ask other people if they thought you committed a sin and then confess that?

Unfortunate you are nice guy, but seem to have the typical sin obsessed personality of a "traditional" Catholic (I know what your going to say about me having the "typical" non sin obsessed personality of a NO Catholic, but I call them like I see them).

It's very simple. I say, "I also confess any sins I've committed that I don't remember." I usually add something along the lines of "...the usual pride, stubbornness, so-called white lies, lack of charity, sloth."

What is confession but a time to confess all your sins? I couldn't think of doing anything else. I leave it all to the Lord in the sacrament.
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« Reply #20 on: June 07, 2011, 03:03:41 AM »

  I was told by numerous priest and catechisms that the only sins that you have to confess and overcome are mortal ones. If you confess a sin then that means you will try to overcome it.   If I'm not intent on overcoming a venial sin then I am advised not to confess it.

If I tried to confess all my venial sins and personal faults and tried to overcome them then that would definitely lead to (In my case)  overscrupulosity.

The more and more I read your post, the more I despair for my salvation (Which is also a sin, you can't win sometimes).


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« Reply #21 on: June 07, 2011, 03:13:49 AM »

I don't want to overcome my venial sins or personal faults [...]

Huh
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« Reply #22 on: June 07, 2011, 03:21:21 AM »

I don't buy into the "slippery slope" idea of sins.  I was told by numerous priest and catechisms that the only sins that you have to confess and overcome are mortal ones.  If you confess a sin then that means you will try to overcome it.     I don't want to overcome my venial sins or personal faults, as long as their not mortal so that's a legitimate option for me as a Catholic to do.

If I tried to confess all my venial sins and personal faults and tried to overcome them then that would definitely lead to overscrupulosity (Since the Church considers a lot of things to be venial sins, more then you can imagine).  I'm sorry if you buy into the Jansenist concept of all sins being almost equally as bad (Common among traditional Catholics), but I don't and have no desire to start doing so.



So, what part of "Be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect" don't you understand? (cf. Matthew 5:48) God doesn't call us to overcome only those sins that separate us from Him and cause death. He calls us to be perfect, to overcome ALL sin in our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit. I know I'm certainly nowhere close to being perfect, that I have a lot of disordered (i.e., sinful) ways of living and of seeing the world, but perfection is the standard for which Jesus calls us all to strive.

BTW, lubeltri never said that he considers all sins to be equally or almost equally bad. He just said to confess them all without distinction. Confess them all, and let the priest sort them out.
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« Reply #23 on: June 07, 2011, 03:35:12 AM »

I don't buy into the "slippery slope" idea of sins.  I was told by numerous priest and catechisms that the only sins that you have to confess and overcome are mortal ones. If you confess a sin then that means you will try to overcome it.     I don't want to overcome my venial sins or personal faults, as long as their not mortal so that's a legitimate option for me as a Catholic to do.

If I tried to confess all my venial sins and personal faults and tried to overcome them then that would definitely lead to overscrupulosity (Since the Church considers a lot of things to be venial sins, more then you can imagine). I'm sorry if you buy into the Jansenist concept of all sins being almost equally as bad (Common among traditional Catholics), but I don't and have no desire to start doing so.



So, what part of "Be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect" don't you understand? (cf. Matthew 5:48) God doesn't call us to overcome only those sins that separate us from Him and cause death. He calls us to be perfect, to overcome ALL sin in our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit. I know I'm certainly nowhere close to being perfect, that I have a lot of disordered (i.e., sinful) ways of living and of seeing the world, but perfection is the standard for which Jesus calls us all to strive.

BTW, lubeltri never said that he considers all sins to be equally or almost equally bad. He just said to confess them all without distinction. Confess them all, and let the priest sort them out.

There are different levels of perfection that people strive for in their lives.  Not everyone is "on the same page" in those respects.  I don't want to get into the position where I'm constantly feeling guilty over everything and every sin or personal fault I commit.  I was down that guilt trip before and I don't care to go there again.  We are all human beings and are prone to have faults.  I just choose to accept my faults and limitations and strive to live a good and charitable life around them.  In this way I consider myself to be far more intellectually and morally honest then those who are constantly freighting and fusing about every mistake they make.  I am no perfectionist, was not raised to be one and care not to try to be one.  I consider myself a good and worthy human being who does his best in life to help others and behave.  If this isn't good enough for God to accept me into his kingdom when I die then so be it. 

BTW, Jesus also said "If your eyes or hands cause you to sin then cut them out/off.  Would you also recommend this to be taken in a literal manner?
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« Reply #24 on: June 07, 2011, 03:40:38 AM »

I'm tired of playing games.  It was bad enough that one religious internet forum almost caused me to have nervous breakdown a few years ago, now this one is at it too.

If you want my views on religion then just read this old thread from a couple years ago.  That pretty much sums it up.  If you want to think of me as a bad or insincere person because of this, then that's your choice, I guess.  All I can say is that religion is supposed to comfort people, but all it ever ends up giving me is heartache. A whole lot of heartache.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,23390.0.html
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« Reply #25 on: June 07, 2011, 03:43:32 AM »

I don't buy into the "slippery slope" idea of sins.  I was told by numerous priest and catechisms that the only sins that you have to confess and overcome are mortal ones.  If you confess a sin then that means you will try to overcome it.     I don't want to overcome my venial sins or personal faults, as long as their not mortal so that's a legitimate option for me as a Catholic to do.

If I tried to confess all my venial sins and personal faults and tried to overcome them then that would definitely lead to overscrupulosity (Since the Church considers a lot of things to be venial sins, more then you can imagine).  I'm sorry if you buy into the Jansenist concept of all sins being almost equally as bad (Common among traditional Catholics), but I don't and have no desire to start doing so.


So, what part of "Be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect" don't you understand? (cf. Matthew 5:48) God doesn't call us to overcome only those sins that separate us from Him and cause death. He calls us to be perfect, to overcome ALL sin in our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit. I know I'm certainly nowhere close to being perfect, that I have a lot of disordered (i.e., sinful) ways of living and of seeing the world, but perfection is the standard for which Jesus calls us all to strive.

BTW, lubeltri never said that he considers all sins to be equally or almost equally bad. He just said to confess them all without distinction. Confess them all, and let the priest sort them out.

Great post.

The problem with "pick and choose which sins you are going to confess mentality" is that a sin that I think is minor could well be causing major scandals. When I describe a sin so that the Priest can see the ugly situation I created, then he can help heal the cause of that sin through the graces God gives him in Holy Ordination.
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« Reply #26 on: June 07, 2011, 04:09:41 AM »

I'm tired of playing games.  It was bad enough that one religious internet forum almost caused me to have nervous breakdown a few years ago, now this one is at it too.

Unless this is hyperbole, you might want to consider getting some professional help. No sarcasm. Heartfelt and all that.
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« Reply #27 on: June 07, 2011, 07:42:00 AM »

 I was told by numerous priest and catechisms that the only sins that you have to confess and overcome are mortal ones. If you confess a sin then that means you will try to overcome it.   If I'm not intent on overcoming a venial sin then I am advised not to confess it.

If I tried to confess all my venial sins and personal faults and tried to overcome them then that would definitely lead to (In my case)  overscrupulosity.

The more and more I read your post, the more I despair for my salvation (Which is also a sin, you can't win sometimes).




I subscribe to a Greek classics list and I got a note from a fellow with your name this morning Robb.  Was that you writing?  It was a bit strange and I have been noticing your notes here are also a bit strange.  Is something wrong?
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« Reply #28 on: June 07, 2011, 08:40:05 AM »


The more and more I read your post, the more I despair for my salvation

Robb, you're not the first to feel this way ...

Quote
24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

 26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”

 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

Mark 10:24-27

All I can say is that religion is supposed to comfort people, but all it ever ends up giving me is heartache. A whole lot of heartache.

See verse 27 above.
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« Reply #29 on: June 07, 2011, 01:06:54 PM »

Trying to differentiate between venial and mortal sins in the confessional is not helpful to me either. I just confess everything that stands out in my mind that I can think of and then trust in the mercy of God in forgiving those things which I don't remember. I've always wondered how common mortal sin actually is. There are many things which might fall under the category of "grave matter" but I am not sure how often one actually stops and reflects on an action which they know is wrong (full knowledge) and then freely and rationally decides to disregard what God thinks and does it anyway (full consent of the will). The bulk of my sins are not this way. In fact, I'm not sure any of my sins fall under that category. It's usually something where I do an action without thinking at the time and then look back later and realized I messed up.
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« Reply #30 on: June 07, 2011, 02:22:24 PM »

I just feel like I might have a nervous breakdown over this issue.  You must understand that I have dealt with issues of obsession over sin before.  I talked with several priest (All of whom were well knowledge men and one even said the Latin Mass).  They told me that the RCC did not require confession of venial sins, although they did encourage it and that I should not worry obsessively over things like Gluttony (Which I had been for some time).  I just took their advice on the matter and was slowly, but surely able to climb out of that pit of darkness and despair I was in.  Now some of you guys are causing real gloom in my life and I'm afraid that I'll relapse into depression again.

I don't blame anyone here really.  I understand that this is a discussion forum and that people here are entitled to engage in lively debates about topics.  This one however just happens to be too intense for me.  Maybe I should just leave the forum for a while, and cool down.

Please pray for me that I am able to keep my sanity .  I really, really don't want to go back down the path I was a couple years ago.  It almost broke me.  I just try to be a good person and help other people as best I can.  As I said previously, if this is not good or acceptable to God, then I'm just doomed, I guess. 
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« Reply #31 on: June 07, 2011, 02:27:32 PM »

Trying to differentiate between venial and mortal sins in the confessional is not helpful to me either. I just confess everything that stands out in my mind that I can think of and then trust in the mercy of God in forgiving those things which I don't remember. I've always wondered how common mortal sin actually is. There are many things which might fall under the category of "grave matter" but I am not sure how often one actually stops and reflects on an action which they know is wrong (full knowledge) and then freely and rationally decides to disregard what God thinks and does it anyway (full consent of the will). The bulk of my sins are not this way. In fact, I'm not sure any of my sins fall under that category. It's usually something where I do an action without thinking at the time and then look back later and realized I messed up.

Whatever you feel works for you.  If this way of doing things is helpful to your spiritual life then by all means pursue it.  However I just grow despondent when I look at list of all the sins and faults that the RCC list as both mortal and venial.  I'm not that good with rules so my head feels like spinning when I'm confronted with all these things (Same reason I'm no good with math or science I guess, to many rules and calculations just confuse me).  My mind starts wondering, "did I do this or what category does this fall into".  I just find it more of a relief to distinguish between the most serious sins I've committed and try not to worry about the more minor ones (Considering the problems that I've had before, this was the advice that was given me by priest). 
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« Reply #32 on: June 07, 2011, 06:42:08 PM »

Robb,

You're not doomed. Remember always that God's mercy is greater than your weakness.

And remember, we ALL are weak men, so you are not alone.

Jesus told Peter to forgive not 7 times, but 70 times 7. In other words, the fact that you repeat sins does not in the least lessen the Lord's desire to forgive them.

We're sinners. We don't deserve anything. But He gives us a free gift. Just confess your sins, rejoice in this saving gift of mercy and love, and look forward to the eternal day in heaven where sin is extinct.

It's good to keep yourself in the care of a solid priest. You have my prayers!
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« Reply #33 on: June 07, 2011, 07:07:06 PM »

Trying to differentiate between venial and mortal sins in the confessional is not helpful to me either. I just confess everything that stands out in my mind that I can think of and then trust in the mercy of God in forgiving those things which I don't remember. I've always wondered how common mortal sin actually is. There are many things which might fall under the category of "grave matter" but I am not sure how often one actually stops and reflects on an action which they know is wrong (full knowledge) and then freely and rationally decides to disregard what God thinks and does it anyway (full consent of the will). The bulk of my sins are not this way. In fact, I'm not sure any of my sins fall under that category. It's usually something where I do an action without thinking at the time and then look back later and realized I messed up.

Whatever you feel works for you.  If this way of doing things is helpful to your spiritual life then by all means pursue it.  However I just grow despondent when I look at list of all the sins and faults that the RCC list as both mortal and venial.  I'm not that good with rules so my head feels like spinning when I'm confronted with all these things (Same reason I'm no good with math or science I guess, to many rules and calculations just confuse me).  My mind starts wondering, "did I do this or what category does this fall into".  I just find it more of a relief to distinguish between the most serious sins I've committed and try not to worry about the more minor ones (Considering the problems that I've had before, this was the advice that was given me by priest). 
Interesting. For me, I am a the complete opposite. I start feeling panicky if I start trying to decide whether this or that sin that I committed was mortal or not. I still don't feel like I have a firm grasp on that because, in my own life, I can't decide what constitutes "full consent of the will."
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« Reply #34 on: June 09, 2011, 10:28:13 AM »

Robb,

You're not doomed. Remember always that God's mercy is greater than your weakness.

And remember, we ALL are weak men, so you are not alone.

Jesus told Peter to forgive not 7 times, but 70 times 7. In other words, the fact that you repeat sins does not in the least lessen the Lord's desire to forgive them.

We're sinners. We don't deserve anything. But He gives us a free gift. Just confess your sins, rejoice in this saving gift of mercy and love, and look forward to the eternal day in heaven where sin is extinct.

It's good to keep yourself in the care of a solid priest. You have my prayers!
qft.

Hang in there, Robb. As someone who not only struggles with scrupulosity, but with anxiety in general, I know how terrible it can feel to be freaking out about something. When panic is present it feels like there is no end in sight. Thankfully there is an end to it and there is hope. When I get like that I find that doing a meditative devotion such as the Holy Rosary or the Jesus Prayer helps calm me. I also have a very good confessor that puts my mind at ease every time I go to confession since I usually come into confession with a lot on my mind/worries and fears.
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« Reply #35 on: June 09, 2011, 12:25:52 PM »

God bless you, Robb.  My prayers are with you.

This thread has been really interesting, and the willingness of some to open themselves up here, followed by what I perceive to be true concern and compassion is extremely refreshing.

I don't know why it would have surprised me, but it did, when confessing to the priests (Marianists) at my local Catholic parish, I was never told to distinguish between mortal and venial sins-just to confess my sins, whatever they might be, and however many of them I could remember.  And the confession was always finished by "...and all those sins that I cannot remember".  Only once was I warned about verging on scrupulosity when I was confessing each occurrence that I could remember of each sin, rather than just saying something like, "I was judgmental multiple times."  God knows each and every sin we commit and each and every time we commit it.  It's not for His sake that we confess our sins, but for our own--we go to the Doctor with our wounds and illnesses and He heals them--if we let Him.

As for religion being meant to "comfort" us---well, all's I can say is, wouldn't that be nice!  Maybe "religion" is supposed to do that, but some (like Fr. Tom Hopko) would say that Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship with a Person, that Person being Christ.  And we all know how difficult relationships can be at times  Wink!

JM
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« Reply #36 on: June 09, 2011, 01:42:52 PM »

And we all know how difficult relationships can be at times  Wink!

JM

I have no idea about the difficulties of relationships, but I imagine nearly everyone who knows me is acutely aware of them.
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« Reply #37 on: June 09, 2011, 10:38:36 PM »

Trying to differentiate between venial and mortal sins in the confessional is not helpful to me either. I just confess everything that stands out in my mind that I can think of and then trust in the mercy of God in forgiving those things which I don't remember. I've always wondered how common mortal sin actually is. There are many things which might fall under the category of "grave matter" but I am not sure how often one actually stops and reflects on an action which they know is wrong (full knowledge) and then freely and rationally decides to disregard what God thinks and does it anyway (full consent of the will). The bulk of my sins are not this way. In fact, I'm not sure any of my sins fall under that category. It's usually something where I do an action without thinking at the time and then look back later and realized I messed up.

Whatever you feel works for you.  If this way of doing things is helpful to your spiritual life then by all means pursue it.  However I just grow despondent when I look at list of all the sins and faults that the RCC list as both mortal and venial.  I'm not that good with rules so my head feels like spinning when I'm confronted with all these things (Same reason I'm no good with math or science I guess, to many rules and calculations just confuse me).  My mind starts wondering, "did I do this or what category does this fall into".  I just find it more of a relief to distinguish between the most serious sins I've committed and try not to worry about the more minor ones (Considering the problems that I've had before, this was the advice that was given me by priest). 
Interesting. For me, I am a the complete opposite. I start feeling panicky if I start trying to decide whether this or that sin that I committed was mortal or not. I still don't feel like I have a firm grasp on that because, in my own life, I can't decide what constitutes "full consent of the will."

That was exactly the same problem with which many of my Catholic friends struggled.
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« Reply #38 on: June 09, 2011, 10:41:56 PM »

Trying to differentiate between venial and mortal sins in the confessional is not helpful to me either. I just confess everything that stands out in my mind that I can think of and then trust in the mercy of God in forgiving those things which I don't remember. I've always wondered how common mortal sin actually is. There are many things which might fall under the category of "grave matter" but I am not sure how often one actually stops and reflects on an action which they know is wrong (full knowledge) and then freely and rationally decides to disregard what God thinks and does it anyway (full consent of the will). The bulk of my sins are not this way. In fact, I'm not sure any of my sins fall under that category. It's usually something where I do an action without thinking at the time and then look back later and realized I messed up.

Whatever you feel works for you.  If this way of doing things is helpful to your spiritual life then by all means pursue it.  However I just grow despondent when I look at list of all the sins and faults that the RCC list as both mortal and venial.  I'm not that good with rules so my head feels like spinning when I'm confronted with all these things (Same reason I'm no good with math or science I guess, to many rules and calculations just confuse me).  My mind starts wondering, "did I do this or what category does this fall into".  I just find it more of a relief to distinguish between the most serious sins I've committed and try not to worry about the more minor ones (Considering the problems that I've had before, this was the advice that was given me by priest). 
Interesting. For me, I am a the complete opposite. I start feeling panicky if I start trying to decide whether this or that sin that I committed was mortal or not. I still don't feel like I have a firm grasp on that because, in my own life, I can't decide what constitutes "full consent of the will."

That was exactly the same problem with which many of my Catholic friends struggled.
What happened to them? Did they leave the Catholic Church over it or did they eventually attain peace of mind and remain in the Church?
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« Reply #39 on: June 09, 2011, 10:44:58 PM »

Trying to differentiate between venial and mortal sins in the confessional is not helpful to me either. I just confess everything that stands out in my mind that I can think of and then trust in the mercy of God in forgiving those things which I don't remember. I've always wondered how common mortal sin actually is. There are many things which might fall under the category of "grave matter" but I am not sure how often one actually stops and reflects on an action which they know is wrong (full knowledge) and then freely and rationally decides to disregard what God thinks and does it anyway (full consent of the will). The bulk of my sins are not this way. In fact, I'm not sure any of my sins fall under that category. It's usually something where I do an action without thinking at the time and then look back later and realized I messed up.

Whatever you feel works for you.  If this way of doing things is helpful to your spiritual life then by all means pursue it.  However I just grow despondent when I look at list of all the sins and faults that the RCC list as both mortal and venial.  I'm not that good with rules so my head feels like spinning when I'm confronted with all these things (Same reason I'm no good with math or science I guess, to many rules and calculations just confuse me).  My mind starts wondering, "did I do this or what category does this fall into".  I just find it more of a relief to distinguish between the most serious sins I've committed and try not to worry about the more minor ones (Considering the problems that I've had before, this was the advice that was given me by priest). 
Interesting. For me, I am a the complete opposite. I start feeling panicky if I start trying to decide whether this or that sin that I committed was mortal or not. I still don't feel like I have a firm grasp on that because, in my own life, I can't decide what constitutes "full consent of the will."

That was exactly the same problem with which many of my Catholic friends struggled.
What happened to them? Did they leave the Catholic Church over it or did they eventually attain peace of mind and remain in the Church?

Several of my friends stayed in the Catholic Church, while others have affiliated with the SSPX.
The ones who remained in Catholicism still struggle with scrupulosity, especially if they have confessors who demand to know the number and species of MORTAL SINS.
However, still others have become Orthodox Christians where we are encouraged to confess all our sins (thus not worrying about distinguishing between mortal and venial sins).
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« Reply #40 on: June 10, 2011, 02:52:36 AM »

Trying to differentiate between venial and mortal sins in the confessional is not helpful to me either. I just confess everything that stands out in my mind that I can think of and then trust in the mercy of God in forgiving those things which I don't remember. I've always wondered how common mortal sin actually is. There are many things which might fall under the category of "grave matter" but I am not sure how often one actually stops and reflects on an action which they know is wrong (full knowledge) and then freely and rationally decides to disregard what God thinks and does it anyway (full consent of the will). The bulk of my sins are not this way. In fact, I'm not sure any of my sins fall under that category. It's usually something where I do an action without thinking at the time and then look back later and realized I messed up.

Whatever you feel works for you.  If this way of doing things is helpful to your spiritual life then by all means pursue it.  However I just grow despondent when I look at list of all the sins and faults that the RCC list as both mortal and venial.  I'm not that good with rules so my head feels like spinning when I'm confronted with all these things (Same reason I'm no good with math or science I guess, to many rules and calculations just confuse me).  My mind starts wondering, "did I do this or what category does this fall into".  I just find it more of a relief to distinguish between the most serious sins I've committed and try not to worry about the more minor ones (Considering the problems that I've had before, this was the advice that was given me by priest). 
Interesting. For me, I am a the complete opposite. I start feeling panicky if I start trying to decide whether this or that sin that I committed was mortal or not. I still don't feel like I have a firm grasp on that because, in my own life, I can't decide what constitutes "full consent of the will."

That was exactly the same problem with which many of my Catholic friends struggled.
What happened to them? Did they leave the Catholic Church over it or did they eventually attain peace of mind and remain in the Church?

Several of my friends stayed in the Catholic Church, while others have affiliated with the SSPX.
The ones who remained in Catholicism still struggle with scrupulosity, especially if they have confessors who demand to know the number and species of MORTAL SINS.
However, still others have become Orthodox Christians where we are encouraged to confess all our sins (thus not worrying about distinguishing between mortal and venial sins).

Unfortunately, from what I've heard about them, the SSPX will be no remedy for your friends if they are hoping to avoid scrupulosity.  This society takes a very, very legalistic view of sin and everything that could possibly be associated with it.  I have heard SSPX priest who advance the theological proposition that any act done for the mere pleasure of that act would be considered as sinful (Regardless of how harmless it is).  So for instance if a person drinks a cup of coffee for the sole pleasure derived from it (instead of consumption for the caffeine or nutrients which are helpful to the body)then that act would be sinful in itself.  SSPX are also famous for saying things like "don't watch or own a television, go outdoors,  or interact too much  in public, and try to avoid all contact with the world, or "worldling's, etc...  You end up becoming almost paranoid, and afraid to do, say, or think anything least you be damned for it. 
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« Reply #41 on: June 10, 2011, 11:50:37 AM »

Trying to differentiate between venial and mortal sins in the confessional is not helpful to me either. I just confess everything that stands out in my mind that I can think of and then trust in the mercy of God in forgiving those things which I don't remember. I've always wondered how common mortal sin actually is. There are many things which might fall under the category of "grave matter" but I am not sure how often one actually stops and reflects on an action which they know is wrong (full knowledge) and then freely and rationally decides to disregard what God thinks and does it anyway (full consent of the will). The bulk of my sins are not this way. In fact, I'm not sure any of my sins fall under that category. It's usually something where I do an action without thinking at the time and then look back later and realized I messed up.

Whatever you feel works for you.  If this way of doing things is helpful to your spiritual life then by all means pursue it.  However I just grow despondent when I look at list of all the sins and faults that the RCC list as both mortal and venial.  I'm not that good with rules so my head feels like spinning when I'm confronted with all these things (Same reason I'm no good with math or science I guess, to many rules and calculations just confuse me).  My mind starts wondering, "did I do this or what category does this fall into".  I just find it more of a relief to distinguish between the most serious sins I've committed and try not to worry about the more minor ones (Considering the problems that I've had before, this was the advice that was given me by priest). 
Interesting. For me, I am a the complete opposite. I start feeling panicky if I start trying to decide whether this or that sin that I committed was mortal or not. I still don't feel like I have a firm grasp on that because, in my own life, I can't decide what constitutes "full consent of the will."

That was exactly the same problem with which many of my Catholic friends struggled.
What happened to them? Did they leave the Catholic Church over it or did they eventually attain peace of mind and remain in the Church?

Several of my friends stayed in the Catholic Church, while others have affiliated with the SSPX.
The ones who remained in Catholicism still struggle with scrupulosity, especially if they have confessors who demand to know the number and species of MORTAL SINS.
However, still others have become Orthodox Christians where we are encouraged to confess all our sins (thus not worrying about distinguishing between mortal and venial sins)
.

Maria,

You make it sound as though the very reason your friends left the Catholic Church for supposedly "greener pastures" is because of the issue(s) with confession and the distinction between mortal and venial sins, etc.  Is this, in fact, the case?  We all know that correlation does not equal causation (though many would have us believe that), but your language implies this in the case of your friends.  Or.....were there other, equally or more important reasons that they left?

By the way, I have *always* been encouraged, in both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, to confess all my sins, without distinction.

In Christ,
JM
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« Reply #42 on: June 10, 2011, 12:11:44 PM »

By the way, I have *always* been encouraged, in both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, to confess all my sins, without distinction.
Same here, although only in the Catholic Church for me because I do not have any personal experience with the Orthodox Church (other than through a friend who became Orthodox and this forum, of course). In fact, I remember one time I actually asked my confessor if this one sin I struggle with often was mortal in my case (and if, as a result, I should abstain from the Eucharist if I cannot confess prior to Mass), and not only did he tell me no it was not mortal and no I do not need to abstain from the Eucharist, but he almost acted as if my worrying over it was unnecessary. I think it is possible that, at one time, the Catholic Church was too strict and perhaps exaggerated exactly how common a mortal sin really is. My confessor told me that what makes a sin mortal is ones attitude. It is deliberately severing ties with God. Which, if you think about it, makes sense because "full consent of the will" implies that you have had time to reflect on an action and willfully choose to do it anyway, even though you know it will cut you off from God. Such a thing doesn't sound like something one could do accidentally.
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J Michael
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« Reply #43 on: June 10, 2011, 01:00:44 PM »

By the way, I have *always* been encouraged, in both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, to confess all my sins, without distinction.
Same here, although only in the Catholic Church for me because I do not have any personal experience with the Orthodox Church (other than through a friend who became Orthodox and this forum, of course). In fact, I remember one time I actually asked my confessor if this one sin I struggle with often was mortal in my case (and if, as a result, I should abstain from the Eucharist if I cannot confess prior to Mass), and not only did he tell me no it was not mortal and no I do not need to abstain from the Eucharist, but he almost acted as if my worrying over it was unnecessary. I think it is possible that, at one time, the Catholic Church was too strict and perhaps exaggerated exactly how common a mortal sin really is. My confessor told me that what makes a sin mortal is ones attitude. It is deliberately severing ties with God. Which, if you think about it, makes sense because "full consent of the will" implies that you have had time to reflect on an action and willfully choose to do it anyway, even though you know it will cut you off from God. Such a thing doesn't sound like something one could do accidentally.

Yup.  Sounds about right.

At the risk of possibly derailing the thread, you bring up an interesting issue, that of the connection or lack thereof between the sacraments of Confession and Communion.  I know it's been discussed on other threads here, but if we're talking about "scrupulosity", the term could be widened to include how often we confess and commune.  Just a thought.
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"May Thy Cross, O Lord, in which I seek refuge, be for me a bridge across the great river of fire.  May I pass along it to the habitation of life." ~St. Ephraim the Syrian

"Sometimes you're the windshield.  Sometimes you're the bug." ~ Mark Knopfler (?)
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« Reply #44 on: June 10, 2011, 01:32:17 PM »

Trying to differentiate between venial and mortal sins in the confessional is not helpful to me either. I just confess everything that stands out in my mind that I can think of and then trust in the mercy of God in forgiving those things which I don't remember. I've always wondered how common mortal sin actually is. There are many things which might fall under the category of "grave matter" but I am not sure how often one actually stops and reflects on an action which they know is wrong (full knowledge) and then freely and rationally decides to disregard what God thinks and does it anyway (full consent of the will). The bulk of my sins are not this way. In fact, I'm not sure any of my sins fall under that category. It's usually something where I do an action without thinking at the time and then look back later and realized I messed up.

Whatever you feel works for you.  If this way of doing things is helpful to your spiritual life then by all means pursue it.  However I just grow despondent when I look at list of all the sins and faults that the RCC list as both mortal and venial.  I'm not that good with rules so my head feels like spinning when I'm confronted with all these things (Same reason I'm no good with math or science I guess, to many rules and calculations just confuse me).  My mind starts wondering, "did I do this or what category does this fall into".  I just find it more of a relief to distinguish between the most serious sins I've committed and try not to worry about the more minor ones (Considering the problems that I've had before, this was the advice that was given me by priest).  
Interesting. For me, I am a the complete opposite. I start feeling panicky if I start trying to decide whether this or that sin that I committed was mortal or not. I still don't feel like I have a firm grasp on that because, in my own life, I can't decide what constitutes "full consent of the will."

That was exactly the same problem with which many of my Catholic friends struggled.
What happened to them? Did they leave the Catholic Church over it or did they eventually attain peace of mind and remain in the Church?

Several of my friends stayed in the Catholic Church, while others have affiliated with the SSPX.
The ones who remained in Catholicism still struggle with scrupulosity, especially if they have confessors who demand to know the number and species of MORTAL SINS.
However, still others have become Orthodox Christians where we are encouraged to confess all our sins (thus not worrying about distinguishing between mortal and venial sins)
.

Maria,

You make it sound as though the very reason your friends left the Catholic Church for supposedly "greener pastures" is because of the issue(s) with confession and the distinction between mortal and venial sins, etc.  Is this, in fact, the case?  We all know that correlation does not equal causation (though many would have us believe that), but your language implies this in the case of your friends.  Or.....were there other, equally or more important reasons that they left?

By the way, I have *always* been encouraged, in both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, to confess all my sins, without distinction.

In Christ,
JM

I was only answering a question, so I did not volunteer any more information than necessary.
Ever served as a witness to the prosecution or defense?

Those who left Catholicism did not leave because of scrupulosity, but found that their scrupulosity disappeared with the help of their Orthodox Priest who simply asked them to confess all sins that they could remember, and then not worry about those sins once confessed. The Priest asked the penitents to listen carefully to the words of absolution. He also read the prayer before confession where he asked the penitents to confess all sins and not withhold any sins.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2011, 01:37:44 PM by Maria » Logged

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