Hello everyone, I know that questions regarding the Sacrament of Confession are as common as weeds in a garden on CAF, so I appreciate you taking the time to actually read this post. I would simply have referred to one of the other threads concerning Confession if I had seen my particular dilemma addressed in one of them, however despite searching, I haven’t stumbled upon it elsewhere.
So here’s the problem:
Since my last confession I have committed sins that the Church considers to be mortal. I have struggled with these particular sins for some time, dutifully confessing them regularly and sincerely striving to overcome my weaknesses. However, I have been conflicted about the status of these acts since I first learned what the Church teaches regarding them. To be blunt, since beating around the bush like this is just awkward and takes too long, the sin I’ve been struggling with is masturbation.
Until I returned to the Church I never gave a second thought to such actions. I always viewed it as a healthy, natural thing that most people engage in (even if they don’t admit it) and which nearly all animals do as well. Not to mention the medical research that indicates masturbation decreases the chances of diseases like prostate cancer, etc. So when I first learned that the Church not only considers such actions to be sinful, but to be mortally sinful, I was incredulous to say the least.
But once I became more immersed in the faith and began frequenting not only Mass but also the Sacrament of Confession, I began to try and stop committing this ‘sin’. All the while trying to understand why it is so gravely sinful. I’ve read many, many arguments and despite everything I’ve read I am not convinced. I’m not necessarily sure I was right in my original belief that it is simply harmless, natural behavior, but I also don’t think it ranks up there with sins like murder, theft, etc.
*So how does this long rant link up to Confession? Well, I know that the Church teaches that masturbation is a grave sin. I also know the 3 requirements that need to be met for a sin to be mortal. But I don’t believe that this sin is mortal despite what the Church says in the Catechism and elsewhere. So when I go to Confession should I confess this sin, even though I think that at worst it’s a venial sin and at best it’s not sinful at all?
I want my absolution to be valid and I want to be able to receive the Lord in the form of Holy Eucharist when I am at Mass. But I do not want to disrespect the Lord by receiving Him while not in a state of grace. So do I confess to this sin because I know the Church sees it as mortal despite my own misgivings? Or do I not mention it because I do not feel it to be a mortal sin? And if I confess it, is my confession valid since I do not believe what the Church teaches about this sin and therefore may not have the necessary contrition?*
I’m tempted to just tell the priest everything I’ve just said above and let him give me counsel, but if I can avoid having to rant for this long to the poor priest I’d prefer that.
Thanks in advance for any helpful advice and insights you may be able to give me. I will greatly appreciate it if you can be courteous in your responses. No need to walk on egg shells, but rudeness doesn’t help someone when they’re looking for answers. Thanks.