Do these factors determine whether masturbation is a mortal sin?

K. I guess my angle was most would know it was wrong until they read those quotes. But they’d have to do research to find them. And that very act of looking for them would mean they were keen enough an edge to know better. So the question itself seemed a dead end.

Of course if we took the other side of things and said they wouldn’t automatically know it was wrong? Well I guess it wouldn’t be heavy wrong until someone told them. It’d just stay on the light side of wrong. But then what favor are we doing anyone by telling them it’s wrong? :shrug:

If I saw an overweight person I’d figure they were a bit after the gluttony side of living. Just like if you saw me walking into walls you’d figure I was back overdoing it on the drink.

But what if I’d had a really, really bad day? Do I get to have less of a judgment later? Who knows for sure?

So is it wise to tell people they may not be in as bad a way as they normally would be because we’re pretty sure they had a bad enough break-up to let them sin just a little? Or that their sins are at a discount price this week only? I’m not sure that’s really helping.

And who can be confident enough to tell them that without knowing for sure? Is it Ok if we’re maybe sure? Mostly sure? Or absolutely sure? :shrug:

Still. I can see what you’re saying. I can see I was reading three sentences together (maybe even on purpose). Instead of just the one that mattered. So I’ll agree I wasn’t really helping.

And I’ll agree I’m maybe even still not helping.

Sorry about the side show.

I’ll get someone in here to clean this mess up in the morning. :rolleyes:

Peace Jaguar. Thanks for you patience in this.


You need to meet more real people, and watch less TV.

One has to be careful not to erroneously conclude that the mere fact of temptation does not eliminate free-choice. One could wind up rationalising away all serious sin.

Nope, not me.
That’s one of the prime things that have always bugged me about this sin. Your grow up and do it right from the beginning, in my case, nobody was telling me it was a sin. When I was nine, or fourteen, no adult ever instructed me that it was a sin, and I shouldn’t do it. I thought it was a completely natural thing, and what’s more, I actually believed it was GOOD for me spiritually, because it takes your mind off of sex, and there is less chance of doing fornication, which I KNEW to be wrong.

Even as a kid, you just KNOW that some things are wrong, but with this sin, I never had a guilt or feeling that it was wrong.

Even as a life-long Catholic, I never actually came to the realization that it was a mortal sin until way into my adulthood. I think that’s what the Catechism means about it being a habit. So no, it is not just a problem for adolescents.

From the OP:
*Such sin does not “kill” the love of God that exists in my heart. This love of God grows each time I call upon the mercy of God. Mortal sin is of such grave and serious nature that it destroys completely my relationship with God (and therefore destroys my relationships with others) and “kills” the love of God in my heart and spirit. *

This is also the summation of what I’ve been taught and what I’ve heard from legitimate sources about mortal sin. But this statement has to be read carefully. And taken into context with other material. It is not a license to treat your body like a fun park.

That being said, I think it is difficult for people to discern damage to their relationship with God until, perhaps, it is to late. It is definitely a slippery slope and a commonly committed sin worth avoiding. I would gather this is the reason there is so much discussion about it.

Well that’s a different angle. It’s hard for me to imagine that lead. I mean I made the connection with it and sex on a first try. Too bad for me I guess? :shrug:

I mean then doesn’t the question get to be: Are we doing anyone any favors by telling them it’s wrong? When we could be letting them have the time of their lives instead?

I don’t know. This is a bit of a puzzle.

But thanks for that. It gives a guy a thought or two.

Peace joecap.


St Paul says in the Bible “One cannot do evil to do good.”

Puberty doesn’t force anyone to commit impure acts.
People have free choice.

What if masturbation is not always impure? What if it is healthy for teens?

What if overeating is just another way of storing up food for our later years when prices will be higher? :rolleyes:

That is not possible. The human body was designed before food had prices.


I was responding to the statement about gluttony.

Yeah. I know what direction you were facing. But you’ve got to know I was putting you on with that right? I used the rolling eyes guy and everything. :confused:

Again, I appreciate all the answers, but can we PLEASE answer the question at hand? And can we talk more about the sources?

@MaryHelp777: I’m not saying that if one has a certain attitude, it’s not a sin. I was simply quoting Fr. Hans Rotter, and he himself seemed to be saying that masturbation’s gravity depends on whether or not one has a “morally defect attitude”, which I’m still not sure on the meaning of this phrase.

@Jaguar: Thank you, that’s exactly what I was asking about. I want information regarding these quotes and their truthfulness.

@Joseph3: Masturbation is likely a venial sin for many teens. Not only because they probably don’t know it’s a sin, but because the Catechism lists “affective immaturity” as a mitigating factor, and Persona Humana uses the term “adolescent immaturity”. However, sin is not a part of God’s plan, and masturbation doesn’t just lose its grave nature because one is an adolescent. What I’m getting at though, is that puberty makes resistance to masturbation and lust much harder for adolescents, and this is why affective immaturity is listed as a mitigating factor, and puberty can very well lessen a person’s consent in the act of masturbation.

@TridentH: I’m not saying that something isn’t a sin all because it’s hard. I even said right in the OP that masturbation IS a grave sin. However, it is very well possible that the difficulty in resisting a certain sin could lessen a person’s consent, such as when one’s passions force one into committing sin despite the resistance of the will. Also, what I am asking for is some analysis on the quotes I mentioned, NOT whether masturbation is or isn’t a grave sin. If you misunderstood my question, it’s fine and I still appreciate your input.

@Rau: I agree. And the Catechism is describing situations in which one’s consent or knowledge is literally lessened, and mere temptation of course would not take away culpability.

@joecap: Absolutely. The habit of masturbation is so rampant because of the lack of education (and belief) that it is a sin. For someone who has been masturbating regularly for years with the belief that it is good and natural, masturbation is VERY likely to be a habit that lessens consent. And this misfortune is not a mere teenage problem, though teenagers typically have it worse in this regard.

@1Lord1Faith: I agree. You can’t just pass off grave sin saying that you have an overall good relationship with God. However if one has a problem with this sin when they have an overall good moral life, it can possibly reveal a defect in consent.

Here’s my honest problem with all this talk of how some adolescents can be thought of as not having any idea it’s a sin. And how others maybe only have to think it’s half a sin. And that for others it’s a terrible sin.

I don’t think adolescents are as dumb as we sometimes think. And I don’t think it’s at all helpful giving them mixed advice. I also don’t think it’s really that hard for them to figure out that something they do in secret. Under the cover of darkness. That they’d usually be embarrassed to admit to. Is a sin.

I think sometimes adults have a lot of compassion for young people and sort of want to start to let them off the hook. In a well-meaning way for sure. But no less letting them off at a lower platform.

The problem is this is a dangerous way of looking at things. It’s a dangerous habit to get into. Because the standard needs to be what it is. We already have a fail-safe that says ignorance of a sin means a guy wasn’t fully sinning. We don’t now need another stop that says if a guy’s of a certain age or if a guy really likes this particular sin it’s Ok to think it’s venial. Because #1 how do we know that’s the way God sees it? And #2 how would anyone ever know what standard applies to them?

Especially when dealing with a guy like me. I mean if I can start splashing my responsibility for my actions all over the lane then what’s going to make me wake up and look in the mirror and understand that my drinking stops when I decide enough’s enough? How am I going to stick to a road that’s hard when the other fork says I don’t have to worry as much because I’m not totally to blame?

Bloody hell I’m to blame. As long as I choose to drink instead of facing my problems I’m to blame. It doesn’t matter how much I want it. It doesn’t matter how much I need it. And it doesn’t matter if I really feel especially bad that day and just need a release.

I’d say to these well-meaning types “Please don’t make this harder for us by trying to make it easier.” Easy diets fail. Easy teachers don’t teach meaningful lessons. Easy punishments don’t deter. And easy morality’s a slippery slope to self-justification and inaction. So if I said it in a blurry way before let me clear it up here.

It’s a bad idea to ease the standard, if we still want a standard.

Peace Illmatic.


Perhaps it would help to research those that you have gathered quotes from, to check on the “quoter’s” validity and character, and the respect he gather’s from other’s.

It’s a gray area, like we discussed. All of us have different experiences and lives from one another. So, probably no “final” answer is possible, because of that. We are complicated creature’s!!! :blush:

I knew exactly what you were doing.

K good.

But you forgot your smiley. So for a second I felt bad that you thought I thought that you thought–ah never mind. :rolleyes:

Thanks for all your answers, but do any of you know the truthfulness of the ideas presented by these theologians. If you don’t know, that’s fine, maybe this is a subject for an experienced theologian or priest. But I would like to have some discourse on this subject.


@TridentH: I appreciate and understand your concern, but I am not saying that we should give adolescents a freebie. What I am saying is that many teenagers, especially in today’s world, lack sufficient knowledge and consent when it comes to this act. They might lack knowledge because they are often not educated on its sinfulness, and they might lack consent because, even if they do find out it’s a sin, they have picked up a habit out of masturbation or the difficulties of puberty weakens the will. And so I’m not trying to ease the standard, I’m just expressing the truth that the Church teaches. I’m not saying age determines the sinfulness of an act, it’s the lack of knowledge or consent that does.

@Monicad: Believe me, I’ve definitely read the Catechism on this subject, as well as other Church documents. However, the ideas of priests and theologians are very helpful in correctly interpreting these documents and finding out more on a subject (and you pointed out yourself that these are of high value). And I would love to have more info on these quotes so that I can come to knowledge of the truth. So don’t worry, I’ve taken a good look at the Catechism on this subject.

@Jaguar: I actually did take a look at these theologians and they seem to be good, orthodox sources. It’s hard to get information on Father Rotter though because he’s German and I have to translate everything to English. I haven’t found anything that would indicate he’s going against Church teaching, and he wrote a book called “Sexualität und christliche Moral” from which I got his quote from, where his opinions on madturbation I found to be very orthodox. And Father Harvey I also find to be sound, and he is remembered for his compassionate, but orthodox work with homosexual Catholics.

And I guess all I’m saying is it’s really none of our business. I mean if it’s less of a sin or not is up to God. I don’t see how it could help anyone to start spreading the idea that there are mitigating circumstances.

Because if there are? They’ll be applied by God won’t they?

And if there aren’t? Well we’d better never have told anyone there were right?

Peace Illmatic.


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