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May 2024 Mailbox

Q. What do you mean when you say, “Scrupulosity always defaults to the worse possible interpretation”? I think I know what you mean, but I am not sure.

A. “Diminished capacity” means you see serious sin, or you see sin when there is no sin. You do not overeat, but you feel you are gluttonous. You have no erotic thoughts, but you feel you are lustful. You never engage in polite conversation about friends and coworkers, but you feel that you gossip and engage in calumny. The list is endless. Scrupulosity always defaults to the worst possible interpretation of a situation. That is why it is called a disorder. It impedes the exercise of free will.

Q. When a person breaks a civil law, does that also mean he has committed a sin? I think this is very confusing, and I struggle to understand the distinction.

A. Usually, but not in all cases, when a person breaks a civil law, he or she incurs a civil penalty or risks incurring a penalty. You only sin when your action is a sin. When we had monarchies and believed the monarch was a divinely chosen representative of God, we assumed that to violate the monarch’s directive (law) was to violate God.
We no longer believe in the divine right of kings.
We understand that laws, government, and related issues emerge from those who are governed.

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