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  #1  
Old Oct 19, '06, 7:27 pm
Peter3120 Peter3120 is offline
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Default Go directly to hell, do not pass go!

I was raised by nuns and Xaverian Brothers in grammar and Prep school respectively.

We were taught that masturbation, referred to as "self-abuse," was a mortal sin. This meant that the individual would be sent to hell to be punished for all eternity.

I am now 60. It seems to me that the loving Christ as seen in scripture could not sanction such a punishment for an act which is today thought of by most professionals and thoughtful people as perfectly natural.

I have been away from the church for years after an adolescence full of guilt and endless confessions for this transgression.

Does the church still teach this? If it does not, I have another reason to return to the practice of my faith.

I agree with the church on abortion. But I do not understand why birth control, which might prevent the unwanted pregnancy, is regarded as such a serious transgression. To allow the latter would help reduce the former.

I hope I don't get chewed out for asking these questions but I do so in good faith in an attempt to return to my faith.

Thanks for reading this.

Peter 3120
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  #2  
Old Oct 19, '06, 7:45 pm
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LilyM LilyM is offline
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Default Re: Go directly to hell, do not pass go!

I'm not going to chew you out. The fact is, though, that Christ, loving though he was, did not condone adultery - nor even lustful THOUGHTS in that direction. Nor (if we are to believe St Paul) were such things as premarital sex (fornication) or homosexuality tolerated by the early Church.

Masturbation causes as many harms and is as much contrary to the purpose of sex as adultery or homosexuality. In other words it gives those who practice it the mistaken idea that sex should be purely about the pleasure of the individual to the exclusion of all else. This is simply not the case, otherwise there would be nothing wrong with consensual adultery, homosexuality etc.

Having said that - of course we have a greater understanding of human sexuality and such things as sexual addictions that are factors in sexual behaviour. And the church does now teach that factors such as addiction can (not always but sometimes) lessen someone's culpability for the addictive behaviour to the point where the sin is no longer mortal.

Objectively, masturbation is still gravely wrong and a disordered use of our God-given sexual faculties. And it may be 'natural', but then so are things such as lying to get out of trouble, or anger. These are still sins, and can still be serious and indeed mortal depending on the circumstances. We are much more than our biology, much more than our 'nature', however strong a factor this may be in our lives.

I'd advise you to read John Paul II's excellent book on Theology of the Body to get a better understanding of the Church's view on this and other sexual matters.
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  #3  
Old Oct 20, '06, 12:28 am
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: Go directly to hell, do not pass go!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter3120 View Post
I was raised by nuns and Xaverian Brothers in grammar and Prep school respectively.

We were taught that masturbation, referred to as "self-abuse," was a mortal sin. This meant that the individual would be sent to hell to be punished for all eternity.
well I was raised by Dominicans, my husband by Augustinian friars, and my children by Ursulines and Jesuits, and we were all taught about mortal sin, sexual and otherwise, but we were not taught this meant automatic banishment to hell for all eternity. We were also taught about the grace, mercy and forgiveness of Christ through the sacraments. It is only by dying in a state of unrepented mortal sin and refusing God's mercy and forgiveness at the moment of death that one chooses hell and loses heaven.
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  #4  
Old Oct 20, '06, 2:35 am
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undeserving undeserving is offline
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Default Re: Go directly to hell, do not pass go!

Peter,
don't look at masturbation. abortion, birthcontrol as separate issues. The rational behind the Church's teachings are interlinked,someone here advised you to read JP II's wonderful book. Pl do so. The Church is about reverance for life. If you are seriously considering returning to the Church, it is not an impulse you have thought out for yourself. He is calling you back. Ponder, meditate, and study, but take this call very very seriously.
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  #5  
Old Oct 20, '06, 6:11 am
1ke 1ke is offline
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Default Re: Go directly to hell, do not pass go!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter3120 View Post
We were taught that masturbation, referred to as "self-abuse," was a mortal sin.
Yes, this is grave matter. Which means it is a mortal sin if done with full knowledge and free will. This is a sin against the sixth commandment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter3120 View Post
This meant that the individual would be sent to hell to be punished for all eternity.
Unrepentent mortal sin separates us from God. Confession and repentance are always available. Therefore, no mortal sin sends us "straight to hell". God is always waiting for us to come back to him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter3120 View Post
I am now 60. It seems to me that the loving Christ as seen in scripture could not sanction such a punishment for an act which is today thought of by most professionals and thoughtful people as perfectly natural.
You have allowed secular thinking-- which is not founded in fact or in the Truth of God-- to cloud your thinking on this issue. Just because *some* so-called professionals go around telling people it is "perfectly natural" does not mean that it is. Professionals also go around telling people abortion is "perfectly natural" and a "legitimate choice". It does not make it true.

First, we always have a choice and God allows us free will. If you choose to separate yourself from God, he will allow that even though the consequences are eternal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter3120 View Post
I have been away from the church for years after an adolescence full of guilt and endless confessions for this transgression.
If you confessed your sin, then you are forgiven. No need for guilt. If you continue to commit this act over and over, I suggest that you seek some help and guidance from a priest, the organization www.dads.org, the organization www.pureloveclub.com or some other group. It's a disordered view of sex, and rather than approaching it with "guilt" you should approach it from the fact that it is keeping you from a *full* expression of your sexuality as God intended you to express it because it is a self-seeking act rather than a life-giving shared act of spouses.

Don't let this keep you away from God. God can heal and conquer all things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter3120 View Post
Does the church still teach this? If it does not, I have another reason to return to the practice of my faith.
Of course it does. It is a Truth of God, which does not change. God is eternal. However, it is no reason to stay away from the Church. Instead, embrace the Church and learn *why* this is a disordered use of the gift of sex.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter3120 View Post
I agree with the church on abortion. But I do not understand why birth control, which might prevent the unwanted pregnancy, is regarded as such a serious transgression. To allow the latter would help reduce the former.
Contraception has in fact *increased* abortion by increasing promiscuous sex over the last 40 years. Your idea that contraception "prevents" pregnancy is flawed. When two people engage in sex, a pregnancy is a natural outcome of that act. Sex is *designed* to result in pregnancy. When two people who are not in a position to accept or welcome a pregnancy have sex, they *intend* to prevent a pregnancy. But, that does not always happen. They attempt to twart the natural outcome. If they are unsuccessful, they use abortion as a back up. Before abortion was available, people thought twice about the possibility that their promiscuous sex could lead to pregnancy. Now they do not. In fact, when you review data (information sheets filled out by women at the abortion clinic and reported to the CDC by law) you find that only a very small group of less than 10% are aborting for what are called the "life threatening, rape, and incest" exceptions. That leaves 90% aborting for *convenience*-- and the majority of women report on their forms that they were using contraception in the month they became pregnant. The evidence completely refutes what you have asserted here.

It isn't contraception that will reduce abortion. It is abstaining from sex when you cannot welcome a child.

However, this is not the basis of the Church's teaching that it is wrong. I recommend you get some literature on this subject, or start a thread or read through the numerous threads on why contraception is wrong and a violation of the sixth commandment.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter3120 View Post
I hope I don't get chewed out for asking these questions but I do so in good faith in an attempt to return to my faith.
No one should "chew you out" for asking honest questions. It is clear that you *want* to return to the church. I suggest that you *DO* return to the church. Go see a priest, go to Confession, and begin to learn what the Church teaches and *why*. You should study and search, but staying away from the Church is not the answer.
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ke's universal disclaimer: In my posts, when I post about marriage, canon law, or sacraments I am talking about Latin Rite only, not the Orthodox and Eastern Rites. These are exceptions that confuse the issue and I am not talking about those.
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  #6  
Old Oct 20, '06, 6:30 am
wcknight wcknight is offline
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Default Re: Go directly to hell, do not pass go!

Peter, it seems you are hung up on perfect behavior. Everyone sins, Jesus tells us the just man sins 70 times per day. We are all working towards perfection, but few of us ever achive it in this lifetime.

God accepts us with our flaws. As long as we are striving to become better, we are in good shape. Whenever we fall need to get up and keep trying. That is what confession is for. It is Satan who tells us to stay down and give us. We need to be able to admit we were wrong and try a bit harder next time.

I think for most folks (esp young males) it takes quite a while to overcome the problem of masturbation. Just because the popular culture tells us it is perfectly natural does not make it right.

Normally in nature it is perfectly natural for creatures to have sex with whatever individual that comes along. BUT we as not just any ordinary creature, we have an intellect and moral code that helps us control our baser instincts. We may be natually attracted to every pretty thing that comes along, but we can not act on those impluses even though this is perfectly natural.

Return to the Church, it is in your own best interest. May God grant you the grace to follow His way and not your own.
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  #7  
Old Oct 20, '06, 6:58 am
manualman manualman is offline
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Default Re: Go directly to hell, do not pass go!

What has changed is that the Church does a better job of explaining mortal sin. It was once common for the concept to be taught as you describe: This list of stuff is 'mortal sin.'

But that was NEVER an accurate summary of church teaching. In reality, that list constituted 'grave matter' which is the kind of sin that has the POTENTIAL to be mortal. In other words, to use your example, if you with FULL knowledge of the sinfulness (which includes why) and FULL consent (no pathology that diminishes your ability to consent) decide to masturbate, then yes, that becomes a mortal sin. But only God is the actual judge. We must confess grave sins as if they are mortal, but only God really knows if all the criteria actually apply.

BTW, you can't REALLY tell me that you masturbated in the absence of lustful thoughts. I'm a guy and I know better. All the rationalization in the world can't wish away Jesus' words about whoever lusts after a woman in his heart commits adultery.

Fornication, inner lustful thoughts, adultery all are manifestations of a choice to see woman as an object to be used instead of a priceless creature made in the image and likeness of God. Admit it to yourself: you know this is wrong, even if you can't always stop yourself.

The point to remember is that your failures don't diminish how much God loves you. Put those failures to use in cultivating your humility and recognition that your own strength is not enough and that you need the Grace of God to become more than you are. God doesn't EXPECT you to achieve perfection by your own will and strength. This is the false understanding behind the old catholic guilt syndrome. He expects you to admit that you can't and accept HIS strength as a substitute. Then your failures become not so surprising or debilitating. Just things to confess and learn from and move on.
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  #8  
Old Oct 20, '06, 11:25 am
trogiah trogiah is offline
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Default Re: Go directly to hell, do not pass go!

You mention learning of the Christ in Scriptures and what you see there appears to make an impression. I encourage you to go with that because the message is often misinterpreted.

Condemnation for sins results from the failure to practive forgiveness in ones own life. There is no particular sin of the flesh that warrants eternal damnation unless we treat others as as though it does.

"Forgive us our sins as we forgive others. If you forgive others their sins, your heavenly father will forgive you yours."

Be certain of this, if you practice forgiveness of others, God will forgive you for any sins of the flesh.

This is not to say that there aren't temporal but still real consequences for sexual immorality. Those consequences do depend on the seriousness of the deed. An act of adultery does carry greater consequence than a moment of self-gratification in private.

Keep on your path towards understanding and living in God's kingdom. That is what it is all about

Peace

Jim
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  #9  
Old Oct 20, '06, 7:10 pm
DaveBj DaveBj is online now
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Default Re: Go directly to hell, do not pass go!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wcknight View Post
Peter, it seems you are hung up on perfect behavior. Everyone sins, Jesus tells us the just man sins 70 times per day.

*snip*
Nitpicking and slightly off-topic, but where's that in the Scriptures or in tradition?

DaveBj
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I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe,
but I believe in order that I may understand,
for of this I feel sure,
that, if I did not believe, I would not understand.
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  #10  
Old Oct 20, '06, 7:13 pm
gardenswithkids gardenswithkids is offline
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Default Re: Go directly to hell, do not pass go!

In the time you were away, the Church published a new Catechism. It is a splendid reference guide to find out what the Church actually teaches. Here's point 2352 of the Catechism. I highlighted part of what it says about the force of acquired habit reduing moral culpability. While it still remains grave matter, it may not always be a mortal sin.
Quote:
By masturbation is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. "Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action."138 "The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose." For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of "the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved."139

To form an equitable judgment about the subjects' moral responsibility and to guide pastoral action, one must take into account the affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety, or other psychological or social factors that can lessen, if not even reduce to a minimum, moral culpability.
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  #11  
Old Oct 20, '06, 7:28 pm
mzungu1 mzungu1 is offline
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Default Re: Go directly to hell, do not pass go!

I pray that it is not so for I am in youre shoes! I pray that you come back to the church and that we both try to get back on the right track.

Godspeen and Godbless!
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  #12  
Old Oct 21, '06, 7:05 am
gardenswithkids gardenswithkids is offline
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Default Re: Go directly to hell, do not pass go!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBj View Post
Nitpicking and slightly off-topic, but where's that in the Scriptures or in tradition?

DaveBj
Proverbs 24:16 "for a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again..."
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  #13  
Old Oct 21, '06, 4:35 pm
DaveBj DaveBj is online now
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Default Re: Go directly to hell, do not pass go!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gardenswithkids View Post
Proverbs 24:16 "for a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again..."
I have read that, but seven is not 70, there's no mention of "every day, and Proverbs is not the red print in the Gospels. My question still stands.

DaveBj
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that, if I did not believe, I would not understand.
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  #14  
Old Oct 21, '06, 5:24 pm
psteichen psteichen is offline
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Default Re: Go directly to hell, do not pass go!

Quote:
Originally Posted by manualman View Post
....with FULL knowledge of the sinfulness (which includes why)....
I hesitate to be picky as well, as this is a serious concern for the original poster and many many other men. I only do for the sake of accuracy.

manualman: Where do you get the (which includes why) part?
Quote:
CCC
1859: Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. (continues)
Full knowledge of the sinful character, not full knowledge of why it is sinful. Eve knew that eating the apple went against God's will (sin). God never explained why this was his will, thus knowing why doesnt matter when considering knowledge of the sinful character of an act. If you believe the Church teaches the truth then when they tell you it is sinful you have full knowledge. If you don't believe the Church teaches truth, then why be Catholic?

Fortunately for the original poster and others in his shoes this is not the only criteria. You also need complete consent, and in the case of an addiction, consent may be limited.
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  #15  
Old Oct 23, '06, 7:37 am
wcknight wcknight is offline
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Default Re: Go directly to hell, do not pass go!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBj View Post
I have read that, but seven is not 70, there's no mention of "every day, and Proverbs is not the red print in the Gospels. My question still stands.

DaveBj
sorry, I don't have the quote for chapter and verse and I'm not in the habit of memorizing where I read things. It's something I thought I read.
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