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April 2016 Letters

Q. Is it appropriate for a person with scrupulosity to regularly receive the sacrament of anointing? Our pastor says only the sick and infirm are eligible. Does scrupulosity meet that requirement?

A. Yes, the scrupulous condition meets the requirements for the reception of the sacrament of anointing. I personally counsel, from a pastoral perspective, that a person with this affliction should receive this sacrament of healing and reconciliation as often as possible. You can receive the sacrament with a clear conscience.

Q. Is a “tender conscience” the same thing as scrupulosity?

A. Yes and no. In the moral manuals up until the last fifteen years or so, the terms were used interchangeably. Now, however, we recognize two types of scrupulosity. One is “tender conscience,” a curable form of scrupulosity caused by poor or incomplete catechesis. The other form of scrupulosity is associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a disease that requires medical treatment as well as pastoral counseling. Traditional remedies work for tender conscience, but not for OCD-related scrupulosity. Our SA newsletter is useful for people with a tender conscience, but it’s intended for people with OCD-related scrupulosity.

Published in2016 AprilSA Mailbox