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The habit of imagining sin where none exists, or of imagining that a venial sin is grave even though it does not meet the criteria for mortal sin.
Scrupulosity may be overcome through Catholic teaching on the proper formation of conscience. In extreme cases, absolute obedience to a confessor or spiritual director may be necessary for a limited time.
Scrupulosity is not a “safety margin.” It is disordered moral doubt. It is disordered because it does not take into account Christ’s love and mercy.
Note that “absolute obedience” in this context is very different from the obedience in matters of faith and morals that all Catholics owe to a holy priest. If a person becomes scrupulous to the point where he regards everything he does as sinful, even mortally sinful, it may be necessary to ask a holy priest to literally instruct him on what he should be doing every hour of the day. Absolute obedience to such detailed instruction might relieve his anxiety while the priest helps him properly form his conscience.
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