Every Catholic should strive to live a good moral life. In an effort to live that good moral life sometimes we can become paralyzed by scrupulosity. What is it? “Deriving from the Latin scrupus, whose diminutive form scrupulus means a small sharp stone, scrupulosity signifies habitual and unreasonable hesitation, doubt, coupled with anxiety of mind, in connection with the making of moral judgments.” (http://www.encyclopedia.com)
In an effort to live a good moral life Catholics should take advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation regularly. The third precept of the Church asks us to confess our sins to a priest at least once a year. Food for thought Catholics should put it on their calendar to go to confession at least twice a year during Advent and Lent. If someone wants to go more often, once a month would be a good. Should a Catholic go to confession weekly? Here is where scrupulosity can sneak in. We can become so paralyzed by sin that we are failing to grow spiritually. Yes each time we go to confession we receive grace, but we must ask ourselves are we using the sacrament as a crutch or are we allowing it from the grace we receive to help us grow.
Keep in mind for a sin to be a mortal sin it must meet three criteria…
1. The object is grave matter (Ten Commandments)
2. It is committed with full knowledge
3. It is done with deliberate consent
If one of these criteria are not there, while the sin might be grave matter it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a mortal sin. So if a Catholic is struggling with a true addiction in most cases the sin would be considered venial. Should they go to confession regularly? Most certainly, but not necessarily every day or even every week. Now if the sin is so out of character for us and it is done intentionally then yes go to confession right away.
Below are some links on the topic of scrupulosity
Scrupulosity the Occupational Hazzard of the Catholic Moral Life
Scrupulosity and How to Overcome It