Fonticulus Fides

Monday, July 14, 2003

More on the Confession Issue

Davey's Mommy was kind enough to write and remind me about scrupulous tendancies. I do tend toward this myself, but in this particular circumstance, I was pretty sure I wasn't being overly scrupulous.

Without going into great detail, I was anticipating a certain circumstance would arise in my life. And in preparing to face it, I determined that I would really like to do X, but X would be the wrong response (a venial sin, based on the way my "Little Catechism of Confession" explains the 10 commandments in terms of mortal vs. venial sins), and I was certain Y would be a much better choice.

The circumstance did occur, several times in fact. And each time, though I had prepared myself to do Y, I chickened out and took the X route, basically to make things easier on myself. So, since I believed the action was a venial sin, since I had weighed my options ahead of time and understood them in terms of right and wrong, since I chose to do X with the sole motive of my own comfort, and since the situation had occurred more than once with no difference in my response, I thought it was pretty clear it was a confession-worthy sin.

Of course, I explained all this to Fr. during confession, but what he said was that because I should not have been put in that circumstance by the action of others, my choice was a means of "deflecting" the effects of their faults, and that's why I wasn't sinning in my choice to do X.

Davey's Mommy continued, "If you have no reason to believe the priest is not in line with the Church, I guess it's recommended to let his answer be final partly to avoid scrupulosity and the "rooted attachment to [your] own opinion" which the Catholic Encyclopedia ( describes as a
characteristic of scrupulosity but which obviously is also the source of a lot of sins
and wanderings from the Church."

That's very helpful, thank you. I have absolutely no reason to believe the priest is not in line with the Church. Our Diocese is tends toward the Orthodox (from what I gather -- still new to all this of course). So unless anybody has more input for me here, I will, for now at least, let the priest's word stand on this.

Kathy the Carmelitehas also offered her insight soon, so I am anxiously awaiting her thoughts & will post them here. (C'mon, now, Kathy -- you promised!)

I also want to add that one of the things I dreaded most about becoming Catholic (not that it was a hinderance to my conversion), was the idea that Catholics are very strict about sin. Having come from a fundamentalist Protestant background, I could only imagine how devastatingly difficult it would be for me to function as a Catholic and anticipated semi-weekly confessions just to keep track. Instead, I have found the Church to be overwhelmingly merciful in so many ways. All my penances so far except for the first have only required prayer, which doesn't seem like much of a penance for me, and the first required the addition of an action that I considered both easy and welcome. In fact, during my confession last week, I was so distraught about this sin issue and the circumstance I had faced, that Fr. actually told me that he would say a Rosary special for me about this, and I came away feeling like he was determined to do the bulk of my penance for me. Is that mercy or what?

I am continually flabbergasted at how loving and supportive our parish priests are. I mean, I guess you are supposed to expect such a thing, but these men appear to be tireless servants and so long-suffering in the confessional. Golly, am I blessed or what?!?!?

Please keep sending your thoughts to me at sparki777(at)yahoo(dot)com. And thanks for reading.



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