mortal singreenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholic Pages Forum : One Thread
I have struggled with an addiction for a number of years. An addiction I cant seem to bring under control. If a sin committed which is grave but the person feels driven to it. Is the offense still considered mortal. I am going to confession wednesday. Honestly I am sick of myself.
-- Anonymous, May 04, 1998
You don't state whether you have an "addiction" (in the chemical or mental sense) like alcoholism or some psychological compulsion or a "bad habit" that you can't break (like gossiping or masturbation). If it's the former, there may be elements of sin in how you became addicted, but you are unlikely to be sinning when your body succumbs to chemical processes or because of some mental impairment. This is something that requires both the Sacrament of Penance and medical treatment.
A "bad habit" on the other hand, may not require treatment, but definitely requires constant recourse to Confession and lots of prayer to overcome (as Rich says below).
To commit a mortal sin, there are three conditions:
-- it is has to be grave matter
-- you have to know what you're doing is wrong; and
-- you have to do it with full consent.
With a bad habit, the first times you commit the sin, you may commit a mortal sin, but after that, you may be acting not with full consent, but out of habit. Many will say that this means you have not committed a mortal sin.
But, if the reason you ask is because you want to know whether or not you have to confess your bad habit every time you go to Confession (assuming you have continued to commit the sin between Confessions), then, is it worth the risk? There is a fine line between when you are trying to rationalize your conduct to avoid having to explicitly mention that particular sin to the priest and when you are being scrupulous, imagining yourself in a state of mortal sin when you are not because you are overly sensitive. But, the best thing to do, and the safest for your soul, has to be to be open with the priest. State that you don't know whether you have committed a mortal sin, say that you have a bad habit and that you are trying to overcome it with God's grace but you have fallen again. You must make sure that you are completely detached from your sin. You have to reject the glamour of the sin in question. You really have to think that you never want to commit that sin again, and resolve to do that. That doesn't mean that you won't, just that you know you don't want to, and you're going to try with God's help.
Don't risk not telling the priest, because firstly, you'll wander around wondering whether you've made a good confession and whether you're in a State of Grace, and secondly, you won't receive the valuable advice and help the priest can give you to overcome your bad habit.
And don't feel so down on yourself. Confession is the most incredibly loving Sacrament. God puts his hand under your chin and lifts your eyes up to look at His brimming with love and says, "Nor do I condemn you, go and sin no more!" Go to Confession every day if you think you have to! There are plenty of Saints who have done just that!
Monthly confession is an absolute minimum. If you are worried that you are habitually committing mortal sins, then you should go at least weekly if you are going to go to Communion at Sunday Mass. But, the most important thing is to go often. And go when you are feeling tempted to get extra strength to resist instead of waiting until you've been tempted and fallen and have something to confess!
God bless, Paul McLachlan Webmaster, The Catholic Pages
-- Anonymous, May 08, 1998
Christ gave us the Sacrament of Reconciliation because He know that we were not going to make it without falling now and then. With resolve to not sin again we accept the Grace given in the Sacrament. My suggestion would be to frequent the Sacrament maybe even Weekly to receive the Graces and fight the temptations. Your confessor can suggest many things to help avoid habitual actions.
-- Anonymous, May 05, 1998
I was reading over your reply Paul and Rich and much of it I already do. First a little background. My wife has been mentally ill for the last 4 years of are marriage. At one point she was constantly breaking things cutting herself to release her pain etc. She was diagnosed with Manic Depression and Borderline personality disorders. She was hospitalized mulitple times. During this period we both had affairs. I also used Pornagraphy and masturbation to escape. I became addicted to them. How during this period God led me to the Brothers and Sisters of Charity and saved are marriage and led us both into the Church. I struggle with alot of anger toward the symptoms and neediness of my wife though better is still not facing her illness. I have fallen into Pornography recently and the other. I have go to confession weekly I hate this sin and sometimes hate myself. I guess my question is when an addiction as you by the jugular is it mortal. I am attempting accountability with a fellow christian worker, and my formation director at BSCD, and go to confession weekly though admittedly I did not confess the last time I fell. God knows I want to be the Husband she deserves. I guess my feelings move well beyond the discussion I am sorry. I have noted that Adoration of the Eucharist, Rosary services, and frequent communion help. I also look at my prayer life as a guage to see where I am at. I pray the liturgy of the hours.
-- Anonymous, May 08, 1998