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Q. I am tormented by past sins. For a while I seem to do OK, and then suddenly something sets me off and the torment returns. Am I doing something wrong? This up and down and back and forth is driving me to distraction.

A. You are not doing anything wrong. What you are describing is the ebb and flow of the scrupulous disorder, and in your experience a successful path for the disorder to express itself is in your past and memory. This is not unusual for people as they age. A successful management skill is to resist the past, dwell less on the future, and try to anchor yourself in the present. For example, receive holy Communion and thank God for his sacramental gift and grace.


Q. How old and sick do I have to be in order to excuse myself from Sunday Mass? I do all right during the summer months, but the ice and snow of winter make it difficult for me. I feel like the weather should not be an excuse.

A. It is not an excuse, it is rather a description of reality. If you have a reason to be wary of the ice and the snow—risking a serious fall, for example, which would impact your long term well-being—is a good reason to stay home. You are not required to put yourself at risk in order to fulfill a spiritual discipline. That is not the intention of the law.

Published inSA Mailbox