I’m trying to understand why masturbation (in of itself) is a sin, and although I thought I knew before, this website thebodyissacred.org/body/sextouch.asp makes some arguments which make it hard to think of it (by itself) as a sin. What would be the Catholic reply to these arguments?
This is the reason it is a sin.
[quote=CCC,2352]…“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.”…
Yes, but how did the Catholic Church come to that conclusion?
By understanding human nature and applying God’s revelation and the gift reason.
God made humans is his image and likeness.
He provided all aspects of our being and an intellect to discern truth.
With original sin, disorder entered the world.
Throughout history, God revealed himself and what behaviors were acceptable.
Usually these instructions were ignored with great peril resulting.
God finally sent His son to redeem us.
His son, Jesus, established a Church that is to teach all nations. To this Church He vowed to protect from error.
That website, and other websites associated with it, utterly reject nearly all of Catholic morality. Masturbation, porn, fantasies, homosexual sex, all is declared to be acceptable. Hah, it even advocates naturalism (being naked all the time).
The main reply for a Catholic is that if one cannot trust the Church on these issues, why trust the Church on anything? That website claims sexual morality is a “contemporary issue” subject to “study and reflection.” Sexual morality is not a contemporary issue, fantasies and masturbation have existed since Christ.
I’ve never found any arguments against Catholic sexual morality to be very compelling, but this website is one of the worst.
CCC 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."137 “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.”
As you can see from the replies you’ve received so far, the answer always comes down to some version of “It’s wrong because the Church says it’s wrong”. I’ve never seen an intellectually defensible argument - one that doesn’t depend on declarative Church teaching - as to why masturbation is inherently wrong.
What part of post #4 did you not understand?
How does it demonstrate that masturbation is inherently wrong?
For a Catholic, the fact that the assertion is absolutely incompatible with Catholicism should be sufficient. The OP is Catholic, and the website claims to be. I was unaware we were being asked to prove the immorality of masturbation to a non-Catholic.
Although I certainly do not agree that no such independent argument exists, do you think one is necessary? If the Church is true–if it is really Christ speaking–then we shouldn’t question its teachings even if they fly in the face of all intellectual arguments. This idea that we must be able to defend every aspect of our faith using arguments that would convince a non-Catholic or an atheist is a very strange one.
It was meant to demostrate that your claim that the argument was an appeal to authority was false.
It was also meant to show that masturbation is inherently the misuse of gift of human sexuality.
Let’s see what St. Thomas Aquinas has to say:
I answer that, As stated above (A6,9) wherever there occurs a special kind of deformity whereby the venereal act is rendered unbecoming, there is a determinate species of lust. This may occur in two ways: First, through being contrary to right reason, and this is common to all lustful vices; secondly, because, in addition, it is contrary to the natural order of the venereal act as becoming to the human race: and this is called “the unnatural vice.” This may happen in several ways. First, by procuring pollution, without any copulation, for the sake of venereal pleasure: this pertains to the sin of “uncleanness” which some call “effeminacy.” Secondly, by copulation with a thing of undue species, and this is called “bestiality.” Thirdly, by copulation with an undue sex, male with male, or female with female, as the Apostle states (Romans 1:27): and this is called the “vice of sodomy.” Fourthly, by not observing the natural manner of copulation, either as to undue means, or as to other monstrous and bestial manners of copulation.
See the bolded portion. Any sexual act that does not involve normal intercourse between man and women is “contrary to the natural order of the venereal act as becoming to the human race”. That is, it violates the principal purpose of the act, which is to be procreative.
There are 2 ways to answer:
- For non-Catholics, a Catholic answer does not make any sense, even if it’s logical. It’s like saying that in a universe that contains an immovable object, there can be no irresistible force. Non-Catholics cannot comprehend that argument since they don’t live in that universe. It’s your doctrinal premise that limits or expands your argument.
- Thomist Philosophy offers a simplistic approach without touching on doctrinal premises. If one accepts a God who is the First Cause, he must also accept the natural laws that define the purpose of man from the point of view of his creator. This should lead him to think of why would the manufacturer of the flashlight extend the warranty to include the use of the flashlight to “hammer nails into wood” simply because the poor user thinks it’s not “wrong”. For those who still believe that the hand and the genitals were designed to have sex with each other, I suggest you first obtain a waiver of warranty from the manufacturer, unless what you have is a clone.
The Church actually does have arguments to back up its positions- the strength of those arguments is another matter entirely.
But why does something being unnatural make it a sin? It might be unnatural for a human to eat grass, but if a human is starving they will eat it. Is eating grass a sin?
The reason is that we must still obey the “Natural Law,” for God wrote the Natural Law.
The nature of eating is to nourish the body. If a human were to eat grass for nourishment, that would be in accordance with the nature of eating, and thus not a sin. However, it would still be weird.
This, as has been said before, is one of the reasons that masturbation is wrong. The nature of the sexual organs is for sex. And to be moral, the procreative and unitive dimensions of the act cannot be frustrated. Masturbation frustrates both of these dimensions.
The Catholic teaching comes from Jewish tradition.
This link, rtforum.org/lt/lt67.html , explains the Jewish and traditional Christian view very well.
In a world that does not provide legitimate food for humans, grass might be the best alternative.
When your Mom serves food during dinner, will she approve someone bringing his own BigMac in front of the whole family? Sin is not about having practical alternatives. It’s about your relationship and abiding behavior with the one you love. Especially with the One who set the house rules.
Speaking frankly, I remember when I was a kid and started doing “this thing” we’re talking about on this thread, and for sure, to me it was something I believed I should not be doing. The thing about sin is, the more we commit it, the more accustomed to it we become. We finally come to the place where we question, or even justify, what we’re doing by asking, “Did God really say…?” and then beginning to doubt that he did.
Think back and ask yourself, “Was there a time when I believed this was wrong?” Then ask, “What happened to dislodge that belief?”
Anything that separates us from all that God wants for us is, bottom line, sin. And the Church is interested in making sure we have the resources to overcome our habituation to sin, by telling us plainly – over against our rationalizations and doubts, reasonable though they may be – that yes, it is indeed sin, and is not to be done.
this is something i’ve been throwing around myself for quite sometime. the main arguments against it is that it is contrary to natural law and that sexual pleasure sought in and of itself is lust. these arguments are backed by the Church’s standpoint on masturbation.
but actually, if you don’t make an appeal to Church authority, the arguments presented on that site make some degree of sense (just the ones on masturbation). there doesn’t seem to be anything too special about sexual pleasure; enjoying sensual pleasure isn’t sinful, what’s so special about sexual pleasure (in and of itself)? and on the topic of natural law, i don’t see how the act is wrong if its totally auto erotic- no fantasies or pornography. it doesn’t objectify women, and if controlled it won’t become an addiction or hinder one’s ability to love their spouse.
in the end, the question essentially becomes this: in what context is it ok to experience sexual pleasure?