Ask a Priest

Scrupulosity and Confession

Feb 08, 2017

I seem to struggle with scrupulosity. When going to confesion, I try to recall all sins from my life especially when I was young and a teenager. At the time, that I committed the sins (although I knew they were wrong) I do not think I understood what exactly constituted a mortal sin and did not hae an understanding that many sins can be mortal and that there are 3 conditions. However, I knew they were wrong and some more than others. Today, I would know certain things that I did are mortal. This lack of knowledge of what a serious sin was does not excuse my sins but I am wondering…I always struggle with thinking of sins from long ago and I do confess sins that I am not sure are mortal but should I keep doing this? Did I committ mortal sins by simply knowing it was wrong although I didnt know it was mortal. On one hand I believe I should because I did know they were wrong but I do not want to keep obsessing over things that God may not want me to. I pray with God’s help I will do whatever is suggested. Thanks so much.

Asked at 02:46 pm on February 08th 2017

Hi Dennis, it seems to me from what you’ve written that you’ve already confessed all those sins of your past, no matter what their moral status was for you at the time. If you haven’t, why not make a general confession of all those past sins to an understanding priest. But after that, don’t worry about them any more. As Pope Francis has said, once they’re confessed, God forgets our sins. If God forgets them in his mercy, we should forget them too. Very best, and keeping you in my prayers, Fr Brendan

Replied at 11:33 pm on March 01st 2017