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March 2024 Mailbox

Q. Just to make things clear, because I am not sure if my original question was clear enough, I went to confession three times in eleven days. I usually go weekly, and I know that this was probably a little too much. Do you think I have scrupulosity?

A. Yes, I believe you have scrupulosity. The need to constantly clarify is one of the signs. The need to go to confession as often as you have received the sacrament is not a good habit. I know that the saints who lived 500 years ago might disagree, but that was another time and place. This is your time and place. This is where the Lord created you to live. So live, and try to become free from fear and obsession.

Q. Why do so many priests claim that something is grave matter, quoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church to back up their opinion, and you often disagree with them. It worries me to listen to you because it seems like I am choosing to be willfully ignorant or choosing to take the easy way out. Sometimes they seem to make more sense to me than you do.

A. I cannot speak for other priests, but I will say that context is very important and necessary when determining the seriousness or gravity of an action. I know, because of my work with scrupulous people, that your default position is always serious and grave. I do not know any scrupulous people who are worried about actions that are not serious and grave. My pastoral assumption is that it is scrupulosity wreaking havoc with your life. You
are living a life that is faithful and pleasing to God. Be at peace.

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