scrupulosity

Scrupulosity is obsessive concern with one's personal sins, including "sinful" acts or thoughts usually considered minor or trivial within their religious tradition. The term is derived from the Latin scrupulus, a sharp stone, implying a stabbing pain on the conscience.

In modern times, scrupulosity is often considered to be a religious expression of obsessive-compulsive disorder, or the unrelated obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. The scrupulous person lacks a balanced religious outlook, veering to the extreme. Often the person has a morbid feeling that they are rejected by God and doomed to damnation despite rigid adherence to rituals or rules of conduct. The over-scrupulous person may refuse to acknowledge the verdict of otherwise accepted religious authorities that he or she is being excessively concerned with moot religious points.

In Catholicism, scrupulosity in itself is not considered to be sinful; some well-known saints, including Ignatius Loyola, and Alphonsus Liguori struggled with scrupulosity. Some Catholic scholars have speculated that Martin Luther, whose ideas and writings helped give rise to the Protestant Reformation, suffered from scrupulosity and broke with the Catholic Church because he could not accept Catholic assurances of grace in the face of his feelings of sinfulness.

Protestants are likely to disagree that scrupulosity was the basis for Luther's actions, but some agree that he suffered from scrupulosity. Some Protestants also find traces of scrupulosity in the writings of the 17th century Puritan pastor and author John Bunyan.

In overcoming scrupulosity, medical treatment for OCD may be used alongside religious counseling, wherein a member of the clergy will counsel the subject to focus on positive, objective messages of religious faith rather than subjective feelings of sinfulness and objection; he or she may also advise the person to avoid typical scrupulous behaviors, which can include repeating past confessions or constant bathing.

References

  • Thomas M. Santa, Understanding Scrupulosity: Helpful Answers for Those Who Experience Nagging Questions and Doubts (Ligouri, 1999)
  • Joseph W. Ciarrocchi, The Doubting Disease: Help for Scrupulosity and Religious Compulsions (Paulist Press, 1995)

External links

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Conscience is an ability or faculty or sense that leads to feelings of remorse when we do things that go against our moral values, or which informs our moral judgment before performing such an action.
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MeSH D009771 Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a psychiatric anxiety disorder most commonly characterized by a subject's obsessive, distressing, intrusive thoughts and related compulsions (tasks or "rituals") which attempt to neutralize the obsessions.
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Anankastic personality disorder
Classification & external resources

ICD-10 F60.5
ICD-9 301.4

Obsessive compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), or anankastic personality disorder
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God

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Damnation" (or, more commonly, "damn", or "god damn") is widely used as a moderate profanity, which originated as such from the concept of punishment by God. Until around the mid-20th century damn
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Saint Ignatius of Loyola, also known as Ignacio (Íñigo) López de Loyola (December 24, 1491 – July 31 1556), was the principal founder and first Superior General of the Society of Jesus, a religious order of the Catholic Church professing direct service to the Pope in
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Saint Alphonsus Liguori (27 September 1696 – 1 August 1787) was an Italian Doctor of the Catholic Church, spiritual writer, and of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists), an influential religious order.
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Martin Luther (November 10, 1483 – February 18, 1546) was a German monk,[1] theologian, and church reformer. He is also considered to be the founder of Protestantism.
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Christianity

Foundations
Jesus Christ
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Dispensationalism
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History of Christianity Timeline
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Old Testament New Testament
Books Canon Apocrypha
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John Bunyan (November 28, 1628 – August 31, 1688), a Christian writer and preacher, was born at Harrowden (one mile south-east of Bedford), in the Parish of Elstow, England. He wrote The Pilgrim's Progress, arguably the most famous published Christian allegory.
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Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. The term comes from Greek κληρος (a lot, that which is assigned by lot (allotment) or metaphorically, heritage).
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Confession of sins is part of the Christian faith and practice ( James 5:16 ). The meaning is essentially the same as the criminal one – to admit one's guilt. Confession of one's sins, or at least of one's sinfulness, is seen by most churches as a pre-requisite for becoming a
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