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« Reply #45 on: June 10, 2011, 01:35:52 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.

When I was Catholic the same thing happened to me I asked the priest if I should abstain for receiving if I couldn't make it to confession and he said that I should receive as often as I could to help fight the desires

Is this normal in Catholicism?
 
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« Reply #46 on: June 10, 2011, 01:39:53 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.

Right on. Bolding is my emphasis.
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« Reply #47 on: June 10, 2011, 01:44:05 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.

Luckily, I've never had that (dubious) "pleasure"  Smiley!

I know many, many Catholics for whom scrupulosity is only a word, and never an issue.  Guess it depends on the individual and the priest.  The issue of it, not the word, has come up with some people I know in the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #48 on: June 10, 2011, 01:44:28 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.

When I was Catholic the same thing happened to me I asked the priest if I should abstain for receiving if I couldn't make it to confession and he said that I should receive as often as I could to help fight the desires

Is this normal in Catholicism?
 
I'm not sure if this is common or not (I've only been Catholic since 2007), but that is exactly the advice I got from my Priest.
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« Reply #49 on: June 10, 2011, 04:27:35 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.

When I was Catholic the same thing happened to me I asked the priest if I should abstain for receiving if I couldn't make it to confession and he said that I should receive as often as I could to help fight the desires

Is this normal in Catholicism?
 

From what I've heard, that sounds about right to me.  The most important thing to do if you think some action or behavior of yours is a sin is to talk to a priest about it.
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« Reply #50 on: June 10, 2011, 05:18:22 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.

I don't know, that theory sounds awfully similarity to the dreaded "fundamental option" one that's been peddled around for the last few decades.  If you think about it, wouldn't taking such a hazy view of things lead one down the possible path of moral relativism.  Or, better yet couldn't this view also cause a great amount of overscrupulousity do to everyone having to ponder whether or not every sin they commit, no matter how small is done with the deliberate desire to hate and reject God (This is already causing me worry). 

I'd just rather take the classical mortal sin- grave matter, venial sin -small matter definition to ease my conscience instead of trying to figure out if each and every one of my sins was done with the desire to reject God deliberately or not.
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« Reply #51 on: June 10, 2011, 05:22:19 PM »

even if sins aren't done with the desire to reject God they are still sins and the need to be overcome which confession helps with
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« Reply #52 on: June 10, 2011, 05:33:34 PM »

even if sins aren't done with the desire to reject God they are still sins and the need to be overcome which confession helps with
What you say makes sense (From man Orthodox perspective).  However, how is it possible to overcome ALL sins.  Traditionally the Church has viewed almost all human actions not directed towards God or asceticism as being sinful.  This includes everything from clumsiness, forgetfullness, talking too much, marital pleasure, pleasure derived from any activity not directed towards religion, and loads more.  It seems impossible for most normal people to overcome, or even desire to overcome these things.  Would not trying to do this create a massive case of either overscrupulosity or a guilt complex in most people?  It sure did for me.  I shudder to think what it has done for others.

Also, considering that I've both read about and talked to people who have come back from "the other side" and they report having been judged primarely on how they treated other people and not the above mentioned stuff.
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« Reply #53 on: June 10, 2011, 05:48:54 PM »

even if sins aren't done with the desire to reject God they are still sins and the need to be overcome which confession helps with
What you say makes sense (From man Orthodox perspective).  However, how is it possible to overcome ALL sins.  Traditionally the Church has viewed almost all human actions not directed towards God or asceticism as being sinful.  This includes everything from clumsiness, forgetfullness, talking too much, marital pleasure, pleasure derived from any activity not directed towards religion, and loads more.  It seems impossible for most normal people to overcome, or even desire to overcome these things.  Would not trying to do this create a massive case of either overscrupulosity or a guilt complex in most people?  It sure did for me.  I shudder to think what it has done for others.

Also, considering that I've both read about and talked to people who have come back from "the other side" and they report having been judged primarely on how they treated other people and not the above mentioned stuff.
That's how humility comes into play. We will not be able to overcome all the sins, but with God's grace, we keep trying and realize that we cannot do it on our own.

In Christ,
Andrew
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« Reply #54 on: June 10, 2011, 06:02:08 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.

I don't know, that theory sounds awfully similarity to the dreaded "fundamental option" one that's been peddled around for the last few decades.  If you think about it, wouldn't taking such a hazy view of things lead one down the possible path of moral relativism.  Or, better yet couldn't this view also cause a great amount of overscrupulousity do to everyone having to ponder whether or not every sin they commit, no matter how small is done with the deliberate desire to hate and reject God (This is already causing me worry).  

I'd just rather take the classical mortal sin- grave matter, venial sin -small matter definition to ease my conscience instead of trying to figure out if each and every one of my sins was done with the desire to reject God deliberately or not.
Robb,

I think you misunderstood me. The "full consent of the will" being present would only make it a mortal sin IF grave matter and full knowledge were already present. I was referring to "full consent of the will" assuming everyone obviously knew I meant those things which are grave matter and which one has full knowledge of it being sinful. Only if those three things are present can a sin be mortal. My point was, it seems to me that to commit a mortal sin would be very rare since I cannot think of any time that I stop, reflect on an action that I am about to do, and freely decide to do it anyway and thus deliberately cut myself off from God. Oftentimes I do something and then later reflect on it and realize I messed up. I don't set out to deliberately hurt God. That was my whole point, that I don't think mortal sins are actually as common as perhaps has been taught in the past. I hear some people talk about mortal sins as if just about every sin one commits is automatically mortal. For the reasons stated above, I do not believe that to be the case, nor does my confessor based on the advice he has given me.

I would also like to reiterate that the mortal/venial distinction has never been very helpful to me. I would rather just confess everything I can remember and trust in the mercy of God for anything I may have forgotten.

What I would recommend for you is to just continue making regular use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and trust in the guidance of your confessor as I have. He will be able to tell you if/when you need to abstain from the Eucharist (if that is ever necessary in your particular case). I, like you, find that when I live in my own head too much and over-think the whole mortal/venial thing, I start to get worried/have doubts. However, anytime I talk to my priest in the confessional I feel nothing but peace and the mercy of God, which is exactly what I believe that the sanctifying Grace received in confession is supposed to feel like. Thanks be to God!
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« Reply #55 on: June 10, 2011, 06:19:35 PM »

even if sins aren't done with the desire to reject God they are still sins and the need to be overcome which confession helps with
What you say makes sense (From man Orthodox perspective).  However, how is it possible to overcome ALL sins.  Traditionally the Church has viewed almost all human actions not directed towards God or asceticism as being sinful.  This includes everything from clumsiness, forgetfullness, talking too much, marital pleasure, pleasure derived from any activity not directed towards religion, and loads more.  It seems impossible for most normal people to overcome, or even desire to overcome these things.  Would not trying to do this create a massive case of either overscrupulosity or a guilt complex in most people?  It sure did for me.  I shudder to think what it has done for others.

Also, considering that I've both read about and talked to people who have come back from "the other side" and they report having been judged primarely on how they treated other people and not the above mentioned stuff.
Robb,

I'm not sure I agree with your definition of sin. How can every human pleasure be sinful if God created us as physical beings as well as spiritual and he created these pleasures? Now granted, it is possible for pleasures to be misused (sex outside of marriage, overindulgence in food/alcohol, etc.), but I don't get how pleasure in and of itself could be inherently evil. Perhaps your scrupulosity comes from believing things in your life are sins when they actually aren't sinful at all. I would ask your priest about this. There have been things I have done that I thought were sins that I ultimately found out were not sins at all, and was relieved to discover that they weren't.
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« Reply #56 on: June 10, 2011, 10:23:54 PM »

even if sins aren't done with the desire to reject God they are still sins and the need to be overcome which confession helps with
What you say makes sense (From man Orthodox perspective). However, how is it possible to overcome ALL sins. Traditionally the Church has viewed almost all human actions not directed towards God or asceticism as being sinful. This includes everything from clumsiness, forgetfullness, talking too much, marital pleasure, pleasure derived from any activity not directed towards religion, and loads more. IT seems impossible for most normal people to overcome, or even desire to overcome these things. Would not trying to do this create a massive case of either overscrupulosity or a guilt complex in most people? IT sure did for me.  I shudder to think what it has done for others.

Also, considering that I've both read about and talked to people who have come back from "the other side" and they report having been judged primarily on how they treated other people and not the above mentioned stuff.
Robb,

I'm not sure I agree with your definition of sin. How can every human pleasure be sinful if God created us as physical beings as well as spiritual and he created these pleasures? Now granted, it is possible for pleasures to be misused (sex outside of marriage, overindulgence in food/alcohol, etc.), but I don't get how pleasure in and of itself could be inherently evil. Perhaps your scrupulosity comes from believing things in your life are sins when they actually aren't sinful at all. I would ask your priest about this. There have been things I have done that I thought were sins that I ultimately found out were not sins at all, and was relieved to discover that they weren't.

Oh no, I don't (Or do my best to try not to) Think like this.  Unfortunately I have talked to some people in my life who either do believe this or come pretty close to it.  I also believe that Mortal sins, though they happen are probably rarer then many RC's were taught happen.  This new, more positive way of looking at things is a direct result of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and the new emphasise it placed on God as a loving Father and not as strict taskmaster.  Thankfully most RC priest and moral theologians have abandoned the old, legalistic, and rigorous forms of confession and penance in favor of the more understanding, and Eastern thinking moral theology that's pervads much of Catholic seminaries and schools these days.

The only group of RC's who, from my own personal and unfortunate experience who tend to cling to the old, legalistic, and scrupulous definitions and sin and penance are the Traditionalist orders (And thankfully not even all of them).  Many Trads still adhere to the "Step on a crack, break your mothers back" type of morality which caused havoc for so many pious, yet human souls in past centuries.  Hopefully the Church will start to take greater supervision over the RC Trad seminaries and religious orders and force their priest and theologians to accept the new understanding and purge out the old leaven of scrupulousness once and for all time.
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« Reply #57 on: June 10, 2011, 10:30:51 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.

I don't know, that theory sounds awfully similarity to the dreaded "fundamental option" one that's been peddled around for the last few decades. If you think about it, wouldn't taking such a hazy view of things lead one down the possible path of moral relativism. OR, better yet couldn't this view also cause a great amount of overscrupulousity do to everyone having to ponder whether or not every sin they commit, no matter how small is done with the deliberate desire to hate and reject God (This is already causing me worry).  

I'd just rather take the classical mortal sin- grave matter, venial sin -small matter definition to ease my conscience instead of trying to figure out if each and every one of my sins was done with the desire to reject God deliberately or not.
Robb,

I think you misunderstood me. The "full consent of the will" being present would only make it a mortal sin IF grave matter and full knowledge were already present. I was referring to "full consent of the will" assuming everyone obviously knew I meant those things which are grave matter and which one has full knowledge of it being sinful. Only if those three things are present can a sin be mortal. My point was, it seems to me that to commit a mortal sin would be very rare since I cannot think of any time that I stop, reflect on an action that I am about to do, and freely decide to do it anyway and thus deliberately cut myself off from God. Oftentimes I do something and then later reflect on it and realize I messed up. I don't set out to deliberately hurt God. That was my whole point, that I don't think mortal sins are actually as common as perhaps has been taught in the past. I hear some people talk about mortal sins as if just about every sin one commits is automatically mortal. For the reasons stated above, I do not believe that to be the case, nor does my confessor based on the advice he has given me.

I would also like to reiterate that the mortal/venial distinction has never been very helpful to me. I would rather just confess everything I can remember and trust in the mercy of God for anything I may have forgotten.

What I would recommend for you is to just continue making regular use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and trust in the guidance of your confessor as I have. He will be able to tell you if/when you need to abstain from the Eucharist (if that is ever necessary in your particular case). I, like you, find that when I live in my own head too much and over-think the whole mortal/venial thing, I start to get worried/have doubts. However, anytime I talk to my priest in the confessional I feel nothing but peace and the mercy of God, which is exactly what I believe that the sanctifying Grace received in confession is supposed to feel like. Thanks be to God!

Yeah, living in my head is huge problem for me.  I get all kinds or doubts, worries, and fears about stuff.  I find it best to always, always talk to a priest (Or another authority figure in Church) Instead of trying to figure out everything for myself.  A lot of that comes from pride.  We think that we can "know it all" about our faith, especially if we are converts.  It's like being your own Pope or ecumenical Council.  It ends up backfiring and causing your psyche more harm then good.
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Men may dislike truth, men may find truth offensive and inconvenient, men may persecute the truth, subvert it, try by law to suppress it. But to maintain that men have the final power over truth is blasphemy, and the last delusion. Truth lives forever, men do not.
-- Gustave Flaubert
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