This post is both a confession of my own hypocrisy as well as a request for some pastoral guidance. I warn that my first post may be lengthy but required as I’m trying to give the background of my situation so that you, dear reader, have more knowledge and are therefore more capable of providing some pastoral advice.
First, regarding my state of hypocrisy. Here I am a Catholic, completing my Masters in Catholic Theology while also applying to start my PhD this next Fall. I’m supposed to be a theologian and an example to others… so it may come as a surprise that I haven’t gone to Church the last two Sundays. Part of this is laziness, part of this is busy-ness, and part of this is me sorting out my own internal issues.
My current internal issues are deeply rooted. Being a survivor of sexual assault comes with a host of issues, such as my clinical depression, my post traumatic stress disorder, and my distorted sexuality. I have attended counseling for at least 4 years sorting through these issues but my counselor and I agreed I was doing much better and therefore I have not seen a counselor the last 2 years.
This being said, I am currently still on medication and struggling with internal emotions and drives that I find difficult to understand no matter how much internal analysis I perform.
I started dating a guy a few months back. While coming from an uncatechised Catholic background, he joined the Seventh Day Adventist Church this last summer right before we met.
It wasn’t until we’d been speaking for some time that I learned he’s actually divorced, which came as a big surprise to me. I’ve never dated a divorcee before.
He was married at a young age and was divorced a year or so later. He has no kids. From hearing the (heart-wrenching) details about his previous marriage, I’m certain he could get an annulment if it were ever required if he ever chose to remarry within the Catholic Church.
On to the crux of my hypocrisy, which is two-fold: both are of a sexual nature.
Firstly, since I began dealing with the trauma of my sexual assault, I have struggled with masturbation. I had a (Catholic services) counselor try to convince me that I should try masturbating on a regular basis so as to help deal with some of the emotional/psychological/etc issues. She encouraged me not to be so hard on myself re: the sinfulness of masturbation. But my conscience was convinced about the issue, and I knew that masturbation is declared ‘intrinsically evil’ by the Catholic Magisterium and all. Needless to say I didn’t take the counselor up on her advice.
Instead I continued fighting against my inclination towards masturbation. At times I overcame the inclination by the grace of the Holy Spirit. But other times I gave into temptation. Lately I’ve given into temptation more than once.
Secondly, my boyfriend and I had unprotected sex. I am now on day 36 of my cycle and have yet to receive my period. This is unusual since I usually have a 28 day cycle.
It is possible stress is delaying my period, due to school and me just sorting things out emotionally. Another reason I figure stress is reason for the delay is my boyfriend and I had sex on day 22 of my cycle.
My plans at this moment are to:
- go to confession and seek pastoral guidance
- see a doctor next week if my period has not started by then
I do not know whether I should talk to my boyfriend right now or wait until just before I go to the doctor.
Furthermore, I don’t know whether I should be with my boyfriend at all. We do get along great, share lots of laughs, and support one another. At the same time, there are some big differences. And, while we relate through prayer and the Bible, we come from very different perspectives on certain key theological issues. Yet (so far) we have always respected one anothers’ beliefs.
Any feedback and prayers would be appreciated.
God bless you all and may the Lord strengthen and assist you in “running the race” (Hebrews 12:1ff).