A daily struggle with habitual sin

Hello, and thanks ahead of time for any help answering this question. If a Father can weigh in even all the better. As I have seen many men struggle with pornography addiction and the mortal sin of masturbation that normally goes along with it, I too struggle with this as many others do.

My question lies in the act being a mortal sin or not. I grew up in foster care, was later adopted, and then molested between age 6-12. From age 6 I was shown very disturbing pornography, not just normal everyday stuff. Of course I was shown this nearly every day while molested. Now I detest the molestation but have had an addiction to pornography I guess since that age. I pray about it daily, I do well at times, but do eventually give in. I feel horrible, and always immediately pray, but always end up doing it again and again just to keep askign for forgiveness knowing it is wrong.

Because I know it is wrong, is it a mortal sin every single time? Or am I cut a little slack due to my upbringing and 33 years of it being hard wired into my brain. I feel wretched and lost when I give in, but so very proud when I don’t. But what is there to be proud of knowning I will fall right back into it. ??

What advice has your confessor given you?

Hello and thanks for the reply, I just completed my first confession a few weeks ago, although it felt rushed by the priest as he had mass coming up shortly, I shared everything with him, and just said he absolved me of my sins. No specific instructions of any kind.

I know confession can be intimidating but you should ask this question to the confessor. Strangers on the Internet are not the competent group to speak to about your culpability in a grave sin. You must form your conscience well.

I assume you know the three matters for mortal sin. Grave matter. That we gave here. Knowlege. That we also have, you are aware that it is wrong. Your question lies with the third matter, full consent.

Here is the problem, you could ask 100 people and get 100 different answers. Some will say habit or something else can mitigate. I am not so sure. Nothing is forcing you to type in a pornographic address or to force your extremities into a motion that is bad.

That us why you should be discussing this with a confessor who can guide you. It will also encourage you to go to confession more which will help you with the habit aspect of it.

As a man who engaged in pornography and masturbation I assure you that I understand the temptation and the habitual nature of it, but why can’t you just not do it?
That is what I’ve heard helps, just saying right now, I choose not to offend God… And go from there.

I hope that helps.

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Every time the temptation hits and when we yield to it, pray to God. Every time. Every day. Ask Him for strength. Ask Him for guidance.

I know it’s easy to become frustrated. Jesus is with you in your struggle.


I read your first post on CAF. So I have a couple things to clarify.

First off, welcome! And congratulations on your upcoming confirmation through RCIA. I too am a convert.

So, you are starting from scratch. No previous experience with a catholic confessor. This is really good. You can find a confessor who you can see regularly and can help you through this. It is important to find a priest who understands the problem. There are resources for you as well. There are many threads on this topic here. But there are accountability sites and other things you can do to help including software that can filter.
I know you are married and this is s serious problem in your marriage that you should address as soon as possible. I don’t know if you have kids but that would also factor into this.

Also, I feel I must mention this, you state you were abused and that may be a factor in what you do. This is very concerning as abused people can take a couple of routes. 1 is they become extremely protective of themselves and others. But some end up cycling into the abuse again, either as a victim or as an abuser as a way to establish power they feel robbed of. I’m no expert here and I don’t claim to be but based on what you have said and the type of porn that could be involved, this is a real concern going forward.

If you have not done so, you may need to seek a counseling service to help you with the past abuse and how it may be manifesting itself today.

I really really am glad you are finding your way home, asking these questions and seeking to be more holy!

It is of course a serious issue, but the Catechism of the Catholic Church does speak of factors which can mitigate responsibility for the action, even force of habit. It is possible to schedule an appointment for confession if you feel you have serious issues you need counsel on. Unfortunately, a priest may not always have a lot of time during open hours for confession, so an appointment can help resolve the issue. Still, trust in the absolution given by the priest. Your parish may also be able to assist with getting you a spiritual counselor. I highly suggest speaking to a priest further regarding this, rather than anonymous people on the Internet.

Also, trust God. You stumble, but God is there to pick you up. While you do need to take accountability to try to walk a more perfect road, do not despair and beat yourself up each time you fall. Keep turning back to God when you stumble, persevere, even if it’s very often. His mercy knows no bounds. He will never give up on you, and He isn’t keeping score.

Read the book “The Miracle Ship” by Brian O’ Hare, available on amazon.com as an ebook download onto the kindle app (on your smartphone or computer or Tablet), or as paperback.
It’s based on.a book.by a Catholic priest in.the healing ministry. It’s about how to take control of your thoughts with faith, positivity and God.

Also, read “Unbound” by Neal Lozano, it’s a Catholic book.about how to pray for complete deliverance from strong habitual sins.

Find a holy catholic priest and meet with him.once a month about this.

Wear a blessed brown scapular and miraculous medal and St Benedict medal.
Have a bottle of Holy water in your car, bedroom, work place and kitchen. Bless your bedroom before you sleep each night.

Practice some forms of fasting, this teaches you to say no to things. Eg: no television on Wednesdays and Fridays. No meat, sugar foods, fizzy drinks on those days, etc…

Satan cannot force you to commit that sin.

You are freely capable of saying no to that sin.

Start saying no.

The main battle is in your mind.
Focus on only the evil of that sin. Don’t be tempted by it.
Replace the sin with something else, eg: prayer, visiting a relative, working on a project, pastime, etc

The Catechism very clearly states that not every act of masturbation is a mortal sin. There are circumstances that are mitigating.

Contact a priest, preferably one with some sort of counselling background.

You will get all kinds of answers (opinions really) on a a free website. Talk to a priest and tell them the circumstances.

I’ve always wondered what situation renders the masturbation not mortal. I suppose if one had been trained to do it and never knew it was wrong, or if one had to do it to save someone’s life? Age can be a factor in fact teens may not be guilty of mortal sin with masturbation according to a catechism…

So many people think they fit in the non mortal category… I wonder why that is?

Well, as far as I know, masturbation is the one sin that the Catechism specifically reminds us can be mitigated by things impacting consent and knowledge. That’s, of course, true of all mortal sins, but masturbation is the one where the Catechism goes out of it’s way to point that out.

I personally think many people overestimate how difficult is for masturbation to be mitigated. The Catechism speaks about habit as lessening culpability, but a lot of people hear seem to read that as “addiction” or “uncontrollable compulsion” on the level of hypnosis. That’s not what the Catechism says.

There are a few scenarios where I think you can make a strong argument that the culpability is mitigated. First, as the Catechism acknowledges, immaturity can mitigate. So a teen dealing with raging hormones may be much less culpable. Second, acquired habit can mitigate. Someone who began masturbating as a teen and is struggling with it as an adult is probably trying to kick a pretty ingrained habit.

I’m not presuming to tell anyone the state of their souls, and I’m not a priest. But I do think people often misrepresent the Catechism on this question. Habit can mitigate, and unfortunately this is a habit that a lot of men acquire at some point.

Wow! Thanks to everyone for their time in replying to my post. In the one reply that was concerned for my family and well being, that is most appreciated, however, I have been happily married now for 18 years with 3 beautiful children. And yes, protection mode like you would not believe. They have never been able to see or meet their adoptive grandfather because of what he did to me, I wouldn’t put them in harms way.

I feel that it is something that I can overcome but that it will take time. I am 39 yo and have been exposed to it since age 6. It will be a very hard habit to break, and I pray about it daily and pray the rosary daily. Like I said, some days are great, but I have yet to make it more than a week.

I am a web designer, social media manager, and a mobile app developer. With that being said I am on a computer for nearly 14 hours or so a day so removing myself from the constant barrage of sex sells ads, the latest nude Kardashain, it is everywhere on line, andI can’t put blockers on as it hinders my ability to design pages as it can throw up error messages when trying to access temp domains that I have built. So anyway, I am trying my best and ask that you all pray for my soul. Thank you!

Bold section describes me. One has to be very careful not to become complacence shrug your shoulders and say it’s habit that made me do it.

I have to tell you that no matter what you think or how sly and On the DL you think you are being masturbation with porn, especicially if driven by past sexual abuse will absolutely affect your marriage and your children. It skews and dements your definition of love, children, women, including your own wife and family. It affects your sex life, and every relationship you have. You state you are a protector but your actions betray your words. Please, if you have not already, you may have to seek out some counseling or support. You can do this through the church as well.

As for the job… Well the first step is to get the software to help, then I recommend a picture of your family as a backdrop. Also some sort of picture of Jesus works well. Divine mercy Jesus would be my recommendation. If you find that your job causes you to be in mortal danger… Well, there is some sort of verse that addresses that. Cutting off and arm or cutting out an eye… That of course would be the last resort. Changing a career is drastic and I hope it would not come to that but if it keeps your soul safe and your family nourished… Well I would litterally cut out my own eye for that!

I must apologize. I may not have made myself very clear Hoosier Daddy. This is something that my wife is fully aware of and has been for years. We make love a minimum of 1 time a week, usually 2-3 times a week. We are best friends through and through. I am very open with her about my struggles and she is very supportive. Does she love it, absolutely not. But I am not hiding it from her. And she knows I am trying my best.

I am much more concerned about the fact that I laughed at Catholics and kept myself and my children from attending church of any kind for pretty much all 18 years of marriage. None of them are baptized yet, but they are now attending classes to be. We are all attending mass regularly now. I am growing every single day as a man and as a newly converted Catholic. I go to a small parish and confessed my sins to our priest face to face. I am not ashamed of nor hide anything. When you break down the 10 commandments I have broken every single one multiple times. I am now absolved of that and stand proud facing my growing relationship with Christ.

I will place an image of Christ as my background. I like that idea. I find strength in the words of St.Kolbe Maxmillian and they are as follows:

“If we knew the depth of our poverty, we would not be at all surprised by our falls, but rather astonished, and we would thank God, after sinning, for not allowing us to fall even deeper and still more frequently.”

I really think you are on the right track! With God’s help, and the help of the sacraments and your own strong will, you will indeed beat this!

These are some difficult issues. Have you thought about counseling in addition to confession?

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