Confessions of my hypocracy and a Plea for pastoral guidance


#1

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:

  1. go to confession and seek pastoral guidance
  2. 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).


#2

Thank you for your trust in honestly sharing your story. God bless you.
I’m sad for your past traumas, and will keep you in my prayers. I ask the Spirit of God to rescue you from any remaining victimhood to the man who raped you, that his sin has no more power of any kind over you.

Your plans to go to Confession and to seek the pastoral guidance, and to go to your doctor is correct as you are aware.

It is a concern that you both are Christians but ignore gospel teaching on fornication, but you are no doubt aware of this. It’s not an awfully good basis for relationship that you don’t love each other enough to protect each other from sinning. That puts your relationship on a more sexual than a loving base. The relationship has already begun to erode your Catholic commitment and practice…so you are right in knowing you have much internal searching to do.

The faith difference is likely to cause difficulties for as you know and where children are concerned this issue will become serious, as Seventh Day Adventists aren’t sympathetic to the Catholic Church or doctrine. Living together and sharing children together can bring out all the differences that are amiably glossed out in dating.

I imagine that due to your studies, you are familiar with Catholic teachings regarding annulment of non-Catholic marriages, and where the Church regards them as valld.

I’m sad you’ve got yourself into this position. If you are pregnant your unclear thinking has ungoing consequences.
I ask the Father, in Jesus’ name, to clarify your thinking and heal you, and to provide an authentic Catholic and gospel direction to your spirit and your future. May His Spirit guide your friend.
I do hope and pray that all will be well.
Please take best care of yourself.


#3

I think Trishie summed it up pretty well. But I wanted you to know I’ll be praying for you.
Jacob :signofcross:


#4

I will be praying for you. I am a survivor of sexual abuse (actually 3 separate instances), and I know the “insanity” that can manifest itself as a result, and especially the very distorted view of sexuality that results. I personally see being the survivor of any kind of assault or abuse as having a chronic illness. Most of the times it is managable, and one can even live a “normal” (whatever that is) life, but there are times that the condition will flare up and the symptoms need to be evaluated and treated again.

You mentioned that you had been in counseling for awhile, but haven’t gone in a number of years. Could you go for another appointment with your former therapist, or to another therapist? It sounds that you would greatly benefit from some short-term counseling. I have found in my own case that while I do have a great understanding about how I “tick”, sometimes having another person as a sounding board will cause me to see solutions that I was blind to before.

Also, please go to confession as soon as possible. I can image you would feel overwhelmed and are probably beating yourself up for your failures to love God much more than needed. Walk out of confession knowing that you are starting with a clean slate (as far as sinfulness goes) and work with God’s graces to keep that slate clean. But know that you are human, and you will fall again. I don’t believe that God is disappointed in us as much when we fall as He is when we refuse His help (through prayer, the Sacraments, etc) to get back up again.

As far as the sexual sins go, pray to the Blessed Virgin. She is the most excellent example of chastity and purity. Ask her to pray for your struggles. To remain chaste with your boyfriend, don’t meet with him for awhile unless it is around other people. The bookworm in me suggests that you meet at a library or a bookstore. Make a pledge to him that you will do everything in your power to keep him from sin, and ask him to do the same with you.

Again, I will be praying for you. St. Agatha is a patron saint for those who have survived sexual trauma. St. Dymphna is a patron saint for those who have survived incest. Build up a whole host of heavenly friends to help you and to pray for you.

God Bless!
Ericka


#5

While it is noble of you to try to be and set the example to others. You too are wounded by original sins inclination to cause us to fall into sin. I understand your symptoms. I’ve learned quite a bit about this ailment. I worked through my own issues and have been restored to some degree back to trusting priests in my life. As you can see my abuse was of a different nature and I understand not only personally but because there is someone special in my life that has gone through abues and still deals with PTSD to this day. The reading I’ve done tells me that this may wound you for life. I pray that it isn’t so, but it is possible.

Do go to confession, get back to church/mass. Receive the Lord in the Eucharist again and get back to your studies. Don’t let this mistake stop you. It sounds to me just on the surface that your perpetrator has much to explain to God on the day of judgement. But hopefully he too will be saved.

As far as your boyfriend, he should have been upfront and honest with you. Sure, circumstances may have prevented him emotionally or something. However, this is a serious matter that must not be allowed to continue. Trust is a foundation upon which a marriage is built. If he is a fallen away Catholic then becoming a Seventh Day Adventist is quite the extreme. But I understand. I left the Church many years ago and finally returned with my family. My wife having several leaders in her family in that her previous faith makes our situation unique in many ways. Her dad was a bishop/elder. Your boyfriend has much to learn. I wouldn’t just go out and marry the guy. But I would expect him to know what’s happening. If you two do decide that it is the right thing this please prepare first by entering RCIA and then continue the annulment process for his sake, his wife’s, your child and yourself. But no matter what happens, know that the Lord Jesus Christ loves you and your baby.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. But rather submit your suffering to Him for greater purposes. Join in with Christ’s suffering in the Garden Agonia in Hortu. Culpability drops with your story being so intense. Un see the results of abuse and weep for your suffering. God has you in His heart and is there for you. Turn to Him in times of trouble/suffering. God will help you through this. Pursue your relationship with your boyfriend with caution. He has much to learn and will certainly have difficulty in processing all of this. He comes to the table broken as well. So be gentle if you can. But men have big shoulders. And God has even bigger shoulders. Lean on God for now and let your boyfriend in on the situation once you know. If anything, let him know too that playing around has consequences that may or may not be intended. Time to grow up. Raising children is no picnic. I love being a father and husband, but is not for whimps.

Lean on your spiritual advisor and seek guidance as best you can. It sounds like you’ve made some good choices in the past and are attempting to do the same now.

Peace. Praying for you, your boyfriend and a child that may be.


#6

Thank you for your replies. Your insight, sharing and prayers do help. And I’ve been brought to the point of tears on more than one occasion while reading your remarks. Thank you for your vulnerability.

I agree that seeing a counselor again would be beneficial. I’m in a different city now than I was when seeing my previous counselor but there are services at my school that costs money but is not too much. Intake may take some time. I will try looking into it tomorrow. I will also stop by at Church, where I know they have confessions in the early afternoon.

I’ve been told by a close friend of mine that if I go into a doctor I may be able to get a blood test done that would be able to tell me if I’m pregnant. She suggests that the sooner I know the better because at least then I won’t be left wondering or questioning.

Even if I am pregnant, I’ll see it as a gift from God. I love children very much and have always longed to be the mother of a big Catholic family.

It still leaves me to discern about my boyfriend though. I’m considering talking to him about everything within the next few days. I think I want him with me in going to the dr to get the blood test. If I am pregnant, I don’t want to just rush into marriage. I think that could just make things more complicated.

Still your prayers, thoughts and comments are most appreciated.


closed #7

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