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  #1  
Old Sep 7, '07, 9:25 am
Dauphin Dauphin is offline
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Default "masturbation is not a sin"

I went to confession about half an hour ago and I'm still upset by the experience.

I went to confess the sin of masturbation. It's not something I would normally discuss on these forums, but what the priest said after I confessed disturbed me deeply. Here are some of his words as best I can remember them:

"I went on sabbatical recently and consulted with other priests about masturbation, to discover its status as a sin. The view of masturbation has changed dramatically. It's very different from what I was taught in seminary many years ago. We just don't talk about masturbation anymore. It's part of human nature, and people cannot be held responsible for acting according to their nature. The church's position on this changed after Vatican II. We now know that mortal sin is extremely rare. To commit a mortal sin, you have to genuinely hate God. Virtually no one commits mortal sin."

I was extremely upset, and was sorely tempted to respond along the lines of:

"So if it's alright to act according to my nature, can I just have sex with anyone I feel lust for? Or is an act of conjugal love outside of marriage unacceptable while a selfish act of masturbation outside of marriage is acceptable? That doesn't make a lick of sense. If we go this far down this modernist road of 'God doesn't care what you do with your genitalia', we may as well throw out the church's entire moral teaching on sexuality. If our actions are justified by 'our natures', who needs God?"

Instead, I responded:

"I will continue to view this act as a mortal sin, with all respect."

The priest then quickly gave me absolution (no act of contrition). I said "thank you, father" and left.

Your thoughts? He seemed to give the impression that the entire Canadian church thinks this way (I know it doesn't, I've had at least five good confessors who acknowledge the gravity of this sin). I should also point out that this confession took place in a Cathedral, the seat of the Archdiocese of Kingston. Every other experience I've had there was fully orthodox, but now I'm afraid to enter the confessional again just to be told I shouldn't be there.
  #2  
Old Sep 7, '07, 9:37 am
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lizaanne lizaanne is offline
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Default Re: Upsetting Confession: "masturbation is not a sin"

I'm so sorry you had to experience that. Pray for that priest - he needs your prayers to remember his purpose and calling.

I think you responded well to him. You were respectful but stated your position clearly.

I hope you can find another priest whom you will feel comfortable with in the future.

~Liza
  #3  
Old Sep 7, '07, 9:43 am
Dauphin Dauphin is offline
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Default Re: Upsetting Confession: "masturbation is not a sin"

Thanks. I'll pray for him. I'm extremely worried about the kind of instruction others are getting. This kind of thing can do serious harm to so many people. To confirm someone in their sin is to commit a real violence against them.
  #4  
Old Sep 7, '07, 9:58 am
Sina Sina is offline
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Default Re: Upsetting Confession: "masturbation is not a sin"

Wow. Thanks for sharing ( I know it's not easy sharing one's confessional experiences as it is deeply personal ).

Are you allowed to go to the Bishop with this? Or is it "what stays in the confessional stays in the confessional." I have never had any such experience in any of the Calgary parishes.

It would be nice if committing a mortal sin was rare, but unfortunately, we aren't so fortunate.
  #5  
Old Sep 7, '07, 10:06 am
Dauphin Dauphin is offline
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Default Re: Upsetting Confession: "masturbation is not a sin"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sina View Post
Wow. Thanks for sharing ( I know it's not easy sharing one's confessional experiences as it is deeply personal ).

Are you allowed to go to the Bishop with this? Or is it "what stays in the confessional stays in the confessional." I have never had any such experience in any of the Calgary parishes.

It would be nice if committing a mortal sin was rare, but unfortunately, we aren't so fortunate.
I'm considering sending his office an email to request that he go over this subject with the priests at the Cathedral. Does anyone have any authoritative church documents declaring masturbation a grave sin? I want to be able to back up my position.
  #6  
Old Sep 7, '07, 10:10 am
Micki Micki is offline
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Default Re: Upsetting Confession: "masturbation is not a sin"

Check the catechism of the church.

Micki
  #7  
Old Sep 7, '07, 10:13 am
Cran Cran is offline
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Default Re: Upsetting Confession: "masturbation is not a sin"

This experience could shortly be shared by many of us - I was quite surprised to hear from several seminarinas from two different German dioceses that the spiritual of the seminary did indeed tell them that masturbation was not a sin but good and necessary for the right treatment of sexuality while living celibately

Hopefully, this is just an exception... but... hm.
  #8  
Old Sep 7, '07, 10:14 am
Dauphin Dauphin is offline
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Default Re: Upsetting Confession: "masturbation is not a sin"

Thanks! Here are the passages which pertain to masturbation:

2352 "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." "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."

2396 "Among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices."

This should be useful.
  #9  
Old Sep 7, '07, 10:20 am
Genesis315 Genesis315 is online now
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Default Re: Upsetting Confession: "masturbation is not a sin"

I think many people seem to forget that our "nature" is wounded and corrupted. Concupiscience, the tendency to sin, is in our nature. This is why St. Paul says we have to crucify the flesh to the spirit.

The Catechism is from well after Vatican II so it should be a good resource. Where do people come up with these ideas that certian things have been changed? It seems they just make things up and pass them on...
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  #10  
Old Sep 7, '07, 10:36 am
Dauphin Dauphin is offline
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Default Re: Upsetting Confession: "masturbation is not a sin"

Here's a copy of the email I sent to the Cathedral and to the Office of the Archbishop. I recycled some of the things from this thread:

Hi,

I have a very serious concern about advice I received in confession at St. Mary's Cathedral in Kingston today. I'm going to speak very explicitly; I confessed to the sin of masturbation.

Once I confessed this, the priest told me very clearly that masturbation was not a sin. Here are his words as best as I can remember them:

"I went on sabbatical recently and consulted with other priests about masturbation, to discover its status as a sin. The view of masturbation has changed dramatically. It's very different from what I was taught in seminary many years ago. We just don't talk about masturbation anymore. It's part of human nature, and people cannot be held responsible for acting according to their nature. The church's position on this changed after Vatican II. We now know that mortal sin is extremely rare. To commit a mortal sin, you have to genuinely hate God. Virtually no one commits mortal sin."

This is a serious violation of Catholic teaching on human sexuality. This is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says on the subject:

2352 "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." "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."

2396 "Among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices."

This teaching cannot be reconciled with what the priest told me. The priest's teaching on the frequency of mortal sin is also contrary to the teaching of the church. I'm requesting that the Archbishop speak to the priests of the Cathedral about this and give them orthodox Catholic instruction. I'm sorry if I seem to be overstepping my bounds as a simple parishioner, but I will not drop this subject until I've been given assurances that some action has been taken to deal with this. I'm extremely worried about the kind of instruction others are getting. This kind of thing can do serious harm to so many people. To confirm someone in their sin is to commit a real violence against them.

Thank you,
(my name)
  #11  
Old Sep 7, '07, 10:45 am
1ke 1ke is offline
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Default Re: Upsetting Confession: "masturbation is not a sin"

Dauphin,

You are to be commended for notifying your Bishop of this grave matter.

You are absolutely correct that erroneous ideas such as these can do harm to many people.

God bless you.
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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.
  #12  
Old Sep 7, '07, 10:52 am
Dauphin Dauphin is offline
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Default Re: Upsetting Confession: "masturbation is not a sin"

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ke View Post
Dauphin,

You are to be commended for notifying your Bishop of this grave matter.

You are absolutely correct that erroneous ideas such as these can do harm to many people.

God bless you.
Thank you.
  #13  
Old Sep 7, '07, 1:05 pm
tcraig tcraig is offline
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Default Re: Upsetting Confession: "masturbation is not a sin"

Just the fact that you were confessing it should have made the priest aware that you knew it was a sin!
  #14  
Old Sep 7, '07, 1:09 pm
Dauphin Dauphin is offline
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Default Re: Upsetting Confession: "masturbation is not a sin"

Quote:
Originally Posted by tcraig View Post
Just the fact that you were confessing it should have made the priest aware that you knew it was a sin!
That's just the thing. He knew I was aware, and was trying to 'correct' my 'error'.
  #15  
Old Sep 7, '07, 1:15 pm
Sir Knight Sir Knight is offline
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Default Re: Upsetting Confession: "masturbation is not a sin"

Good that you made the bishop aware of this. This type of misinformation can cause people to develop long-term sinful habits which can become extremely difficult to break.
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