January 19, 2001
volume 12, no. 19
Acute Awareness in Examining Our Consciences
part four

    Several articles in recent weeks have been presenting an examination of conscience. They can be found in the archives of this website. I encourage you to print these articles out and refer to them for helping you make a good confession. My reference is a booklet entitled: A Contemporary Adult Guide to Conscience for the Sacrament of Confession by Fr. Richard J. Rego.

    I continue with the explanation of the Sixth Commandment, "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery."

    In the first chapter of Corinthians, St. Paul writes: “Make no mistake about it, no fornicator or idolater, none of those guilty of either adultery or homosexual perversion, no thieves or misers or drunkards or slanderers or swindlers will possess the kingdom of God. ... Shun sins of lust... Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body; but the lustful person sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a shrine of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit? ... You do not belong to yourselves; you were bought at a price. Honor God, then, in your body.” St. Paul goes on to warn that no immoral or impure person will have any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ (Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:2).

6th Commandment:

  • Have I desired to do impure things? Have I viewed immodest pictures, films, or T.V. programs?

  • Have I read suggestive magazine articles or books?

  • Have I committed impure actions alone, i.e., masturbation?

  • Have I committed impure actions with others by acts of adultery, fornication, or pre-marital sex?

  • Have I committed homosexual acts?

  • Have I committed the sins of bestiality (sex with animals), pedophilia (sex with children), necrophilia (sex with dead people), etc.?

  • Have I taken genital pleasure in experiencing or seeing acts of violence on my own person or others?

  • Have I taken pleasure in impure thoughts by consenting to entertain a temptation that is presented by the world, the flesh, or the devil?

  • Have I, as an unmarried person, engaged in passionate or unreasonable kissing or embraces?

        An exchange of affection between couples before marriage is licit provided that the kisses and embraces are not lustful and do not lead to genital intimacies. If these acts are lustful, they are mortal sins.

  • Have I been immodest in my dress?

  • Am I keeping company with someone whom I cannot marry within the Church?

  • Am I permitting myself to get involved with that person?

  • Have I unreasonably denied my spouse his or her right to the marital act?

        When a couple contracts marriage, they give one another the uninterrupted, permanent, and continuous right to each other’s bodies. Spouses must strive to respond to the physical and emotional needs of one another. To refuse the marital act violates the physical needs of one of the spouses, thus placing him or her in the occasion of sin. ... However, it also must be remembered that spouses cannot look upon each other merely as objects of use. There are times, then, when a married person, in consideration for their spouse’s inability to perform the sexual act, or their lack of desire to do so at a given moment, should say no to the desires of the body. In this situation, love and respect for the other would respond with a spirit of self-control.

  • Have I been unreasonable in insisting on the marital act from a spouse who is physically or emotional indisposed?

        For example, a man in a drunken state forces himself upon his wife against her will or does physical or psychological violence to his wife so that she will submit to his advances.

    I will continue with this acute examination of conscience next week, dear reader. God bless you!

Sister Mary Lucy Astuto

For past columns by Sister Lucy, see GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER Archives

January 19, 2001
volume 12, no. 19
Sister Mary Lucy Astuto's GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER column

Return to Front Page of Current Issue