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Q. When I go to confession, I always include past sins. I generally exaggerate the conditions of the sin in order to cover all of the bases. Despite all of this effort—and I devote a lot of effort to this—I have no peace. The minute I leave the confessional, I think of something else.

A. You will never “out-detail” your scrupulosity. You will never answer all of the questions. Frankly, you are barking up the wrong tree, as the old saying goes. My best advice to you is to STOP. Throw in the towel. Admit you cannot do it. The task is impossible. Instead, practice accepting the mercy of God, even in your incompleteness. Instead of celebrating the sacrament of reconciliation, ask a priest to help you celebrate the anointing of the sick. You have a serious disorder. You need the comfort that can be wrought from the anointing of the sick. You do not need sacramental forgiveness.

Q. Are you going to offer a retreat for the scrupulous in the near future? I have noticed that it has been a few years since you last offered a retreat, and I am looking forward to coming to one.

A. The time and the expense in scheduling a retreat is prohibitive to many of our readers, so other options are being explored that might be more effective and reach a great number of people. Hopefully, if all goes well, a retreat in some form will be offered later this year that will provide an opportunity for greater participation. Technology offers many options. The format that might be the most helpful is under consideration.

Published inSA Mailbox