Mortal Sin of Impurity and Scruples?
#1
Good evening everyone. This is my first post so hello. I am rather confused about something being a mortal sin or not. I am recovering from scruples so this factor plays a huge part in my confusion. To give some background, for an extended period of time I was afraid, too afraid of committing sins of impurity. It got to the point of fearing to even look at a woman. Extreme, I know.  This being said, by His Majesty's grace I never really fell into a deliberate sin of impurity though the temptations, perhaps many a times blown excessively out of proportion,by ave always been there. In other words, impurity has for the most part a huge problem for me. Better than that is that over time, I have begun to appreciate a woman's beauty and even learned the distinction between admiration and actually willfully bringing on or enjoying illicit desires or thoughts. Thanks be to our Good God for His tender mercy! However earlier today, I was listening to some clean/ Christian hip-hop and I noticed that on the album art there was a drawing of a woman, wearing jeans. Obviously her rear end showed and it was getting my attention. There was however nothing that was "provocative" about it though. The woman was just a normal gal walking down the street. I must confess also that I believe that reading too many articles where Trads argue that pants on women is the equivalent of re-crucifying Our Lord has caused me to adopt a somewhat rigorist mindset. In all humility I still believe that wearing pants is not very modest however I do not want to lose my mind in anxiety everytime I see a woman in jeans. Now back to the woman on the cover. So all this in mind, I thought to myself, " well it is only a woman in jeans" and so in order to combat my scruplous mentality I proceeded to look at where her backside was but I had not the intention to have any illicit desires or thoughts. At first I simply said,"okay it is only a woman I jeans. So what? I cannot be freaking out anymore!" Eventually I got an impure thought in my mind but fought it off and after about 3-5 seconds of still looking I said,"hmmm...maybe I should stop now....." And so I did promptly but I was unsure if I commited mortal sin. What do you think???
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#2
In my humble opinion, it doesn't become a mortal sin until it's coupled with masturbation or extramarital sex. Gawking at a woman for a few seconds isn't a virtue but I doubt you're going to hell for it.
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#3
I don't believe that you have committed a mortal sin but I have to disagree with Ave Castitatis Lilium.  It is mortally sinful to willfully delight in illicit sexual thoughts regardless of any external actions.
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#4
It can become a mortal sin even if its not brought into completion. This is very serious, even if its a common sin in our society.

Once I've heard a homily by Fr. Wolf and he explained it nicely, dividing these looks into involuntary (when you're caught off guard), semi-voluntary (you see kinda knowing it but reject it) and voluntary (when you go 'oh, nice, look at that' or something of the sort). Only this last case is mortal sin.

Also, I've heard somewhere else a tip for dealing with scrupulosity: if you're scrupulous think if you can say to a court “yes, that was a mortal sin” than it was a mortal sin, if you're uncertain, chances are it wasn't. But this only works, obviously, with people with heavy consciousness.

Also, St. Maximus says the ideal of the monk (and I'd say, by extension, of most of us who want to live a sane life) is that he should have peace even if the object (be it an external object or a memory) that moves the passions (and he defines passions as the irrational drive towards something; still not a sin) is present, one can have peace. Read his centuries on love for tips on how to accomplish it and also look for a spiritual director. Otherwise life will be unbearable.

Also, chastity is different from continence—look around for that also, and pray for chastity.
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#5
(05-14-2015, 06:02 PM)Renatus Frater Wrote: It can become a mortal sin even if its not brought into completion. This is very serious, even if its a common sin in our society.

Once I've heard a homily by Fr. Wolf and he explained it nicely, dividing these looks into involuntary (when you're caught off guard), semi-voluntary (you see kinda knowing it but reject it) and voluntary (when you go 'oh, nice, look at that' or something of the sort). Only this last case is mortal sin.

Also, I've heard somewhere else a tip for dealing with scrupulosity: if you're scrupulous think if you can say to a court “yes, that was a mortal sin” than it was a mortal sin, if you're uncertain, chances are it wasn't. But this only works, obviously, with people with heavy consciousness.

Also, St. Maximus says the ideal of the monk (and I'd say, by extension, of most of us who want to live a sane life) is that he should have peace even if the object (be it an external object or a memory) that moves the passions (and he defines passions as the irrational drive towards something; still not a sin) is present, one can have peace. Read his centuries on love for tips on how to accomplish it and also look for a spiritual director. Otherwise life will be unbearable.

Also, chastity is different from continence—look around for that also, and pray for chastity.

Thank you for your detailed response. Your charity is well appreciated. I have also heard that same sermon by Fr. Wolfe. It is excellent as are mostly all his sermons. Reading your response, as well as the other two has helped me, save for the section from the from the first comment that the second poster objected to. I too whole heartedly agreed with that. I have also heard the statement that if you are unsure of weather a sin is mortal or not then you can be sure that it is not. However if you've ever suffered from scruples then you know how difficult it can be to use your reason and simply forget about something that is not a sin or is at least a doubtful sin.  I do have a spiritual director and he has helped me tremendously. Trust me when is say that it used to be much worse. Our Lord says that "by their fruits you shall know them..." And to be sincerely honest, the fruits of not worrying about the incident have shown over the course of the day. Previously, when in the presence of woman(especially wearing jeans or something) I would panic and try to evade the situation as soon as possible. Now I can simply just say to myself, "okay look the other way" or ask myself, "am I truly desiring impurity or illicit relations?" I reason within myself and just relax and try and give it no further thought. Of course temptations are still as we are all still human but I feel as if I longer blow it out of proportion. I remember reading somewhere on a pamphlet on the topic on scrupulousity that the scrupulous person must sometimes act against his conscience. Obviously I am not going to go over in the extreme direction and say, "well my conscience tells me not to watch porn and smoke crack so I will go ahead and do these things." I believe that I have had enough experiences in the confessional where what I thought was a sin was not to know when to act against my conscience. This all still a process though. I still struggle occasionally(well maybe a bit more than that) but things are getting better. Mental prayer, the Rosary, the Brown Scapular, the Miraculous Medal, the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Sacraments, and spiritual direction really help, but as you can tell, especially devotion to Our Lady. Please pray for me fellow Fishies. I am still open to more comments, suggestions, critiques, etc. I think that soon I may start a thread on Scruples. As a recovering scrup-aholic, I know how hard they can make your life. It can be truly a living hell and such an impediment to holiness and lead to so much frustration to almost want to make you quit the spiritual life.

St. Joseph, model and patron of those who love the Sacred Heart, pray for us!


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