Many Catholic priests in our current “modern” era fail to inform the faithful of the most deadly sin of our times: Sins against the flesh. Sexual sins are so grave that Our Lady of Fatima in 1917 showed the children the famous vision of hell and later said,
Many souls go to hell for sins of the flesh than for any other reason and that certain fashions would be introduced that would be very displeasing to Our Lord.
Though, we currently see many lax priests in the Catholic Church today, there still exists many saintly shepherds (priests) who would lay down their life to “feed the lambs”.
What are these sins? I used to be confused by the difference between venial and mortal sins, but once heard a memorable definition of a mortal sin: when we break one of God’s commandments even when we know it’s sinful. Obviously sins such as murder should be obvious….it’s wrong! Common sense tells us that. But fear not; if the sins I am about to list contain things you simply did not know were wrong, trust that Our Lord is merciful, but He does expect you to “Go” and “sin no more”.
The following “Examination of Conscience” was printed by the Fatima Center (founded by my hero Father Gruner- God rest his soul!) and written by Father Paul Khoarai. Every time we commit a mortal sin a piece of our soul dies, so let us prayerfully examine this list and promise Jesus and Mary to never knowingly commit another sin.
Sins against the Sixth and Ninth Commandments: ( Thou shalt not commit adultery and Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife)
1.) Have I denied my spouse his or her marriage rights?
2.) Have I practiced birth control (by pills, devices, withdrawal)?
3.) Have I abused my marriage rights in any other way?
4.) Have I committed adultery or fornication in any other way? (premarital sex)?
5.) Have I committed any unnatural sin against purity? (Homosexuality, etc.)?
6.) Have I touched or embraced another impurely?
7.) Have I engaged in passionate kissing?
8.) Have I engaged in petting (1920’s term)
9.) Have I sinned impurely by myself (masturbation)? This is a very serious sin as many might believe that even though they are not having sex before marriage, masturbation is still a grave sin before God because it is an unnatural act. Sex, as Genesis so boldly states, is for the procreation of children which does not come from masturbation. The married and especially priests/ religious should NEVER engage in such an act.
10.) Have I entertained or taken pleasure in impure thoughts?
11.) Have I indulged in lustful desires for anyone or willfully desired to see or do anything impure?
12.) Have I willfully indulged in any sexual pleasures whether complete or incomplete?
13.) Have I been an occasion of sin for others by wearing tight or otherwise revealing and immodest clothing. The “updated” teachings of the Church try to say “you can wear whatever you want – it is all about purity of intention”, when in reality no, the Church has always had Vatican standards of a dress code. In fact, one cannot even enter Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome if these guidelines are not met.
Short story: I remember once while in middle school going to my great-grandma’s friend’s house who had a swimming pool. I had worn a two-piece swim-suit and will never forget her comments to me regarding my appearance: “Our Lady at Fatima warned of new and revealing clothes; of fashion that would be introduced that would be very displeasing to God.” I realized that she was talking about my bikini. I already loved Our Lady very much even at that age and I took this sobering statement as directly coming from Mary Herself; in the years that followed, I no longer wore a two piece.
14.) Have I done anything to provoke or occasion impure thoughts or desires in others deliberately or through carelessness?
15.) Have I read indecent literature or looked at bad pictures?
16.) Have I watched suggestive movies, TV programs (- even performed in them?), internet pornography or permitted my children to do so? Fun Fact: In college, Colorado State’s campus Catholic Church run by Father Rocco Porter, gave an eye-opening sermon about these impure sins – especially pornography. In the week that followed, the confessional was PACKED with young college students confessing this sin and turning away from it.
17.) Have I used indecent language or told indecent stories?
18.) Have I willingly listened to such stories?
19.) Have I boasted of my sins or taken delight in past sins?
20.) Have I been in lewd company?
21.) Have I consented to impure glances?
22.) Have I neglected to control my imagination? One exorcist priest (Father Chad Ripperger) said that those who have watched pornography will afterwards have those images popping up in their minds at random times; the devil uses those images to temp the soul back into that sin. When this happens, simply reject it and beg our Lady and your guardian angel to guard your purity. I promise it works!
23.) Have I prayed at once to banish such bad thoughts and temptations?
24.) Have I avoided laziness, gluttony, idleness and occasions of impurity?
25.) Have I attended immodest dances or indecent plays?
26.) Have I unnecessarily remained alone in the company of someone of the opposite sex?
Many priests used to have a list in the confessional that went through the different sins in the Ten Commandments wherein you could simply go through and answer “yes” or “no” to each question. It is so important that we know what actions are sins and how to lead a holy and pleasing life under the gaze of God the Father.
The devil is really good at whispering in your ear “well, you don’t know for sure if it is a sin, so until you do, just keep doing it”. If you have even the slightest doubt that what you are doing is sinful, I think it is best to find out right away and make sure that your actions are pleasing to God even if that means talking to a holy and trustworthy priest in line with the true teachings of the Church.
We can never be too careful; our souls and our salvation depend upon it. I know some of these teaching might be hard to hear – especially in this day and age, but all is a grace. Our Lord desires of us to become saints in union with Him; these sort of sins sever that union and like our first parents Adam and Eve , make us ashamed to appear before God and so we “hide”.
Let us guard our purity and follow in the footsteps of the perfect model of that divine purity – Our Most Blessed Mother, Queen of chastity! My Novice Mistress in Carmel used to always tell us that we are always in the presence of the Angels; they too, see everything. If we remember this truth, it can motivate us to be the saints we were born to be!