Confession Conundrum from a teenaged boy


#1

Hi all,
I'm a teenaged catholic, and I consider myself to be fairly religious. I've lurked through these forums several times before, and I like reading them, but now I have a question I really need help with.

So, I've had trouble with masturbation for quite a while, and have been trying very hard to quit. The threads here are very helpful, and have helped a lot, and I thank you guys for it. However, sometimes I "relapse", but recently I was able to stop for quite a while (since late November) and I thought I finally had it under control. I went to confession with my parents a few weeks ago, in preparation for advent. and I finally confessed to that particular sin, and I felt great and didn't feel like I was a bad sinner and Catholic, and I was doing great. However, I did it again recently... I really don't want to do it and I feel guilty and horrible about it every time, and I always say a prayer for forgiveness and pray for help... Here's the problem: I'm not old enough to drive, so I have to have someone take me to confession, and out family doesn't go all that often, maybe 2-3 times a year. We do go to mass every sunday. i'm afraid to ask to go to confession, especially since we did just a couple weeks ago, and my parents would be wondering what I did, and I would be very embarassed. My question is, is there another way that I can forgiven of my sins, without going to confession? Is saying a prayer confessing and asking for forgivennes valid?

Thanks,
:(


#2

[quote="teenagedcatholi, post:1, topic:308532"]
Hi all,
I'm a teenaged catholic, and I consider myself to be fairly religious. I've lurked through these forums several times before, and I like reading them, but now I have a question I really need help with.

So, I've had trouble with masturbation for quite a while, and have been trying very hard to quit. The threads here are very helpful, and have helped a lot, and I thank you guys for it. However, sometimes I "relapse", but recently I was able to stop for quite a while (since late November) and I thought I finally had it under control. I went to confession with my parents a few weeks ago, in preparation for advent. and I finally confessed to that particular sin, and I felt great and didn't feel like I was a bad sinner and Catholic, and I was doing great. However, I did it again recently... I really don't want to do it and I feel guilty and horrible about it every time, and I always say a prayer for forgiveness and pray for help... Here's the problem: I'm not old enough to drive, so I have to have someone take me to confession, and out family doesn't go all that often, maybe 2-3 times a year. We do go to mass every sunday. i'm afraid to ask to go to confession, especially since we did just a couple weeks ago, and my parents would be wondering what I did, and I would be very embarassed. My question is, is there another way that I can forgiven of my sins, without going to confession? Is saying a prayer confessing and asking for forgivennes valid?

Thanks,
:(

[/quote]


#3

It's good that you want to get to confession, and that you conscience is nudging you. I understand your dilemma regarding asking your parents, but you should be able to simply tell them that you would like to go. If not your parents, is there a cousin or trusted family friend/neighbor that would take you?


#4

Firstly, I want to say I'm sorry to hear that you fell back into sin; it is a good thing you are going back on your road to full repentance.

As for your question, you would have to specify some details. How far away is your church? If it is not far, can you not walk there? If it is far and you can't walk there, have you tried explaining to your parents that you wish to confess again, or have you already tried to explain it to them? If they can't take you, perhaps you could ask a family member or a trusted friend to take you to confession?

God bless.


#5

I am totally impressed at your courage in confessing this sin, and in bringing this up in a forum.

Yes, you do need to go to confession. You need to be absolved of your sins by a priest. The grace of the sacrament is what you need to keep fighting, and win, this battle. The confessional is also the place for you to ask the priest for his advice on how to fight this sin.

When is confession available? Is there a way that you can get to confession with a friend, and/or a friend's parents? Also, priests will often hear confessions after Sunday Mass, or even before, depending on their schedules. I know that ours do. What I would recommend is to email the priest, let him know that you want to arrange confession, but can't yet drive (and want to avoid the embarrassment with your parents) and maybe he can meet you 10 minutes before, or right after, Mass? Are you involved with any teen groups that meet at the parish? If you are, you might be able to arrange to meet with the priest for confession before or after (or even during) such a meeting.

Our priests will drop just about anything to hear a confession. Particularly with some prior coordination (an email or phone call), I'm sure that yours will be happy to arrange something with you.


#6

I commend you for doing your best to stop this sin. I may be the same age as you, and through personal experience I can type that I am still struggling with the sin as well. My condition spiritually for the sin has decreases and increases...but overall the sin itself is negative.

Do not go to confession too much, because I used to go every week confessing the same sin. What happened after doing that so much is I lost sorrow for committing the sin...and many other events happened that were not good.

I encourage you to pray to the Blessed Mother, because she helps me stop commiting the sin. When the random sexual desire pops up in the day it seems like it will not go away, but it will eventually. I had a sexual desire the other day that almost concluded me to masturbate. As I struggled what to do I said the Memorare and went to watch some of my favorite appropriate shows on YouTube to distract me. Attempt to distract yourself from masturbating with something you enjoy.

God bless you.


#7

God bless you for continuing the difficult struggle - the more we say "no" to sin, and repent when we fall into it, the stronger we will get in the love of God. Keep up your prayers - and saying the rosary daily, or even more than once a day, is probably the most effective thing you can do to help with this (besides of course removing anything from your life that is the catalyst for this kind of sin).

I think that you should always go to confession as soon as possible if you think you've committed a serious sin like this, though - there is no thing as going to confession too much, unless you are a scrupulous person who thinks that everything you do is a sin. The saints - like St. Philip Neri - always said to keep running back to confession with sins of impurity as soon as possible.

I hope you are able to find some way to get to confession whenever you need to.... if you go to mass with your parents and can't go to communion because you have not been able to go to confession, you might try to sit to the side of them that would put you behind them in line for communion, and then do the crossed-hands gesture to the priest or extraordinary minister of holy communion the way non-Catholics do at a mass - and your parents probably won't see it, since they'll be walking back to their pews.

If you tell your parents that you are trying to grow in your faith life and want to go to confession really often - even weekly, where possible (you might tell them you read that Pope John Paul II would go every day! And he went weekly, I think, as a young man), perhaps they won't wonder exactly why it is that you want to go.

But keep up the good fight - and God bless you! You are fighting valiantly.


#8

Our priests will drop just about anything to hear a confession. Particularly with some prior coordination (an email or phone call), I'm sure that yours will be happy to arrange something with you.
That is awesome.

Teenaged; GREAT Courage and I applaud you. I can add little to what has already been said except. Pray when the temptation strikes, BEFORE the sin even occurs. A well known Priest once said if you do not suffer from sexual temptation do not see a Priest see a Doctor, something is wrong.
Teens and even grown adults struggle with this at times. Pray that God would free you of the temptation, and pray it away.
"Heavenly Father, I offer you the temptation I feel and beg of you to release me of this temptation. Strengthen me in this moment to overcome this temptation."


#9

You do need to attend confession. However, I would encourage you to engage your parents or at least your father in serious conversation. Do not be embarrassed. I promise he struggled with the same sin at some point. I would be hard pressed to believe you are masturbating without any other sin as a catalyst. That is in today's world I have to imagine you are either fantasizing, watching pornography, or doing other things that are leading to your desire to masturbate. Your father should be your ally in both helping curve those habits and in helping you receive the graces of confession that will help you battle the temptation of the devil and his sin. I will certainly pray for you.

-Rob


#10

Hi all,

Thanks for all of your advice, it has helped a lot. Thankfully, I was able to get to confession just by asking with no problem. Thank you guys all again for the helpful advice and the prayers,

Thanks! :slight_smile:

teenagedcatholic


#11

Be up front with your parents about your desire to go to confession more often. The expectation will be set, and it won't be a big deal. If you said you want to go every other week, then there is less awkwardness.

As to the poster that said not to go every week because you lose your sense of sin, I would say that Pope John Paul II went to confession twice a week, and he was a saint in many Catholics' eyes. The grace of the sacrament and the accountability between you and God is an enormous help in fighting the sin of "impurity".

Other remedies:
[LIST]
*]acts of self-denial (e.g.: small fasts, no candy unless on a special occasion, giving up meat on Fridays, small penances and mortifications)

*]The Rosary (pray 5 decades every day and ask our Lady for help in avoiding this sin

*]Exercise: gets you in shape and avoids laziness and idleness

*]Avoid internet when alone. Obvious, but not always recognized.

*]Avoid occasions of sin: if a certain place or time of day or media causes you to head down that path, avoid it or get rid of it.

*]PRAYER. Let God know that you are fighting this. He wants you to talk to Him about it.

*]Acts of service: gets you out of the house and gets your mind off of yourself. You find that the sin of impurity is often accompanied by a self-absorption (either with yourself or the sin).
[/LIST]

This is a start. Gotta go, but know you're in my prayers.


#12

I suggest looking up on youtube "the two part brain," which is two videos by innergold1000. It talks about the limbic system of our brain (which basically controls the emotions and your body's fight or flight response) as well as the cortex (which is the thinking part of the brain). It discusses how addictions work and why we sometimes seemed opposed to ourselves. It doesn't negate the fact that you still need to confess your sins, but it does help to bring light to why you seem to conflict within yourself. It will also help you not to feel so bad about yourself by showing you that just because you fall into these temptations doesn't mean it's because you don't love God. Hope it helps. God Bless and Keep the Faith!


#13

I would say first of all don't be to difficult on yourself and remember that there are psychological reasons why people do the things they do and this compulsion most likely has a psychological root. If this behavior is not an act of your will then is is not a sin and you do not need to confess it. However, if you have the mental power to control this act and yet you still do it, then confession is necessary. One of the good things about Vatican II is the psychological understanding of the human person in relation to the mystery of reconciliation. It is erroneous to go to confession for a problem in a condition deeply rooted in the subconscious.

What is needed is for you to forgive yourself, remember that Christ is helping you, and understand the difference between full consent of the will and psychological causation of behavior. You are in the image of God and good in both body and soul and you should be at peace. Most people who suffer with chronic masturbation do not have a sin problem they need the help from a qualified Christian counselor. So many people who suffer from chronic masturbation go to confession often with no positive results in controlling the behavior--this shows that there is a psychological foundation to the action. Imagine if you went to confession every time you masturbated--most Catholics would be in the confessional 3 or more times a day. This modern age leads to so many propensities and causes so many mental challenges that many Catholics assume that everything they do is a sin. But, rest assured very little of what we do is rooted in the desire to intentionally sin, but is the result of a lack of personal discipline or from abuse one has suffered in one's life or even early exposure to sexualized imagery. The Christian life is challenging and the "freedom" to do what you want in the world seems so alluring, but remember you are Christ's own forever and are the temple of the Spirit. Be at peace.


#14

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.