Most priests who have a pastoral ministry find themselves in a position to guide a scrupulous conscience at one time or another. And some priests have been better equipped than others to deal with this delicate task. Doing so well can help a tortured soul finally to find peace; handling it badly can lead to spiritual disaster and the priest’s possibly losing his own soul. In other words, this is serious business.
A very fine resource on scrupulosity is the short work by the great Fr. William Doyle, S.J. on “Scruples and Their Treatment” (click link to download PDF). All of Fr. Doyle’s writings are replete with spiritual wisdom. However, they are also written in a stilted, academic, old-timey style that we moderns can struggle with. I strongly encourage any priest to read and re-read Fr. Doyle’s booklet on scruples, even if it requires some effort to get through it.
That said, as perhaps a starting point, I have developed my own resource for this topic. YOU CAN DOWNLOAD IT HERE (3-PAGE PDF) In it I give a concise treatment of what scrupulosity is and what needs to be done to be freed of it. It includes a prayer to Our Lady of Victories that a scrupulous person should say on a daily basis.
As stated in the introduction, I do not provide this as a self-help resource. Someone who struggles with scrupulosity is incapable of directing him or herself and must seek the direction of a wise priest. I provide this resource, rather, as as starting-point, for with a deeper understanding, a troubled soul may know better what to look for in a good priest for dealing with this cross; priests may find it helpful as a concise “refresher guide”.
Of course, should any priest have feedback, I would welcome it and invite him to use the contact form on the blog via the About page in the menu system.
by: Very Rev. Bryan W. Jerabek, J.C.L.