Taking Holy Communion after Accidental Profanity
Quote:Can one take Holy Communion after accidental profanity or accidental use of the Lord's name in vein?

On Saturday I went to confession. After wards I used profanity in my head out of pure habit. I thought the following: "There is no way I am going to stop going to f****** Church." Is this a mortal sin?

I didn't mean to use a curse word to describe Church but it just popped into my head. Regardless, on Sunday, I partook in the Eucharist because I didn't mean to even THINK such a thing.

There are three conditions required for mortal sin:

1. An act of grave matter, that is...
2. Committed with full knowledge and...
3. Deliberate consent

Point 2 means you need time to weigh up the choice and then choose to do it anyway - this act was instantaneous, not weighed up.  Choosing means you'd have progressed to point three, deliberate consent.  So, you would have weighed up offending God, then have done it anyway, knowing it was wrong.  You've said twice you 'didn't mean' to curse or think the curse.  So, you aren't meeting two of those conditions, so this was Venial.  Your normal prayers would clean this up, and, remember, you can always make an act of perfect contrition.

Also note that you label this as happening out of pure 'habit'.  From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2352, Paragraph 2, discussing how Priests weigh up culpability for sin in their Penitents:

"To form an equitable judgment about the subject's moral responsibility and to guide pastoral action, one must take into account the affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety, or other psychological or social factors that lessen or even extenuate moral culpability."

You already meet two of the conditions that lessen culpability for what is already a venial sin.

I was afflicted with Scruples for a couple of years as part of the Contemplative Trials, so, if you do have Scruples, I understand that even though I've clearly laid out the teachings of the church, you'll still have doubts and want reassurance from someone else.  The Redemptorist Order are the Specialists in treating this, so I'd point you towards their 'Scrupulous Anonymous' newsletter, and their writings or talks on the subject.

Note also you're 'trying to become holy'.  Two concepts that might help lessen your fear - and any push into defective Legalism - are the Law of Gradualness, discussed by St Pope John Paull II in 'Familiaris Consortio':

Hence, the law of graduality, properly understood, has its origin in the very reality of human psycho-moral development. As in most areas of human development, so too in the moral sphere, maturity manifests itself through a gradual process—“steps”—toward an ever deeper appropriation of right moral behavior as instantiated in concrete choices and actions. In the Christian context, it articulates the gradual nature of conversion. Genuine conversion places us necessarily on a course that intends steady progress—notwithstanding human weakness and occasional moral failures—toward an ever more consistent and holistic embrace of the truth of Christ’s moral teaching.

Meaning, you are on a progressive journey as a convert.  You won't be instantly perfect.  This isn't to negate the new moral reality, but more to suggest that it's a learning process, and sometimes you will make the wrong choices on the path to learning.  That's what the Sacrament of Reconciliation is for.  Don't judge and condemn yourself to a standard that God doesn't expect of you.

Converts to the faith are to be led and assisted in appropriating the new moral requirements of life in Christ in progressive steps of gradual conversion and exigency, assuring them of God’s mercy, presence, and grace, safeguarding against their discouragement, accompanying them in a step-by-step renewal of life, but without diminishing the full import of the moral requirements.

There's a good podcast series called 'Begin Again' on DiscerningHearts.com about learning to accept discouragement in progress by Fr Timothy Gallagher on the teachings of Ven. Bruno Lanteri.  I'd suggest a listen.

The second concept you could search for is 'Freedom for Excellence', which is along similar lines:  a steady progression towards God, allowing for failures.

I'd also point out that you are in the First Spiritual Age:  the Purgative Way.  Growth in the Virtues comes during the Second Spiritual Age: The Illuminative Way, which are taught by direct infusion by the Holy Spirit during a type of prayer known as Contemplation, (which replaces the Meditation of the Purgative Way).  This is impossible to describe in human language and can only be described in metaphor.  What you focus on where you currently are is cultivating a regular prayer life, regular meditation via spiritual reading, obedience, humility, and mortification (willfully putting to death your vices)*.  If you work hard at this, in about six months, you'll experience utter failure in attempting to Will this change in your behaviour, and God will reach down and pull you into the Dark Night of the Senses, and start what is known as the Passive Purgation of the Senses.  God will make you into the New Man, not your own Will.  Jesus lays this out in the bible when the apostles ask "Then, Lord, who can be saved?" out of frustration.  Jesus tells them what is impossible for man, isn't for God.

If you want to speed through this First Age, I would point you to the Universal Doctor of the Church, Saint Therese of Lisieux and her book, 'The Story of a Soul.'  Buy the ICS translations by Marc Foley, OCD.  She sings of God's Mercy and Fatherhood, but, particularly, her 'Little Way of Trust and Love' is how best to navigate the Purgative Way, because the various metaphors she uses - a parent coming down the stairs to help their struggling child who can't navigate even the first step, or a mighty eagle swooping down to pick up a fledgling, unable to fly - are talking about God recognising your humility and acceptance of your own weakness and inability to change, and pulling you into the Illuminative Way.

You'll know when this happens: you'll start finding it impossible to meditate, which will at first horrify you, but understand, God has something far better in mind for you. Take courage: you're beginning a great adventure.


* As a Scrupulant, you need to mortify ('crucify') your fear of God's punishment if you transgress the ultra-legalistic letter of the law.  I have to run off to work, but I have an experience very early in the Purgative Way that clarified the letter and the spirit of the Law are two different things, and can write it up if you're interested.
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RE: Taking Holy Communion after Accidental Profanity - by Macksbeard - 03-31-2021, 03:04 PM

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