Scrupulosity is an unhealthy obsession with things related to religion and morals. It is sometimes referred to as religious OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

While having a delicate conscience that recognizes small sins can lead to holiness, scrupulosity can damage a person’s spiritual and mental health.

A person suffering from scrupulosity has difficulty distinguishing between mortal sin and venial sin. They may feel that they sin too much, do not pray enough, and are unworthy of God’s love.

The obsessions, compulsions, anxiety, and distress caused by scrupulosity can interfere with living a normal life and fulfilling the will of God.

Scrupulosity may be treated by seeking pastoral advice and spiritual direction to help develop humility and build trust in the love and mercy of God, along with professional counseling or therapy.

Different from striving for sainthood:

Religious obsession and compulsion:

While He was at table in the house of Matthew, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

Matthew 9: 10-13

Wounding the Lord’s heart:

“Conscience is man’s most secret core, and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths”

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1795

Scrupulosity requires a change of focus:

Surrender your pride:

Focus on God and work with Him:

Accept the reality of God’s love:

In reading his book on the love of God and especially his many letters of spiritual direction and friendship one clearly perceives that St Francis de Sales was well acquainted with the human heart. He wrote to St Jane de Chantal: “… this is the rule of our obedience, which I write for you in capital letters: do all through love, nothing through constraint; love obedience more than you fear disobedience. I leave you the spirit of freedom, not that which excludes obedience, which is the freedom of the world, but that liberty that excludes violence, anxiety and scruples”.

St. Benedict XVI, General Audience, 2 March 2011

Salvation is not achieved by checking boxes:

Scrupulosity requires good pastoral guidance:

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

Time for personal enrichment and quiet prayer:

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