Greetings. I have a question to ask. But first, some backstory…
I have been struggling with masturbation and pornography for several months now. In an effort to stop it all, I’ve been alot praying and going to Sunday Mass, not to mention going to confession every single Saturday.
Now I recently told my confessor a few weeks ago this same story, and he mentioned to me that this is an act of habitual sin. I remembered then that the Catechism mentions (somewhere) that depending upon the circumstances, the gravity of the sin(s) may be lessened to a certain extent.
Do you guys think that my sin (masturbation and pornography) may be diminished from a mortal sin to a venial sin? The priest straight up told me that it was habitual, and ever since then I’ve been thinking about this question.
If I haven’t been clear on anything, please let me know. Thanks.
The Catechism says: To form an equitable judgment about the subjects’ moral responsibility and to guide pastoral action, one must take into account the affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety or other psychological or social factors that lessen, if not even reduce to a minimum, moral culpability.
It still doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try everything in your power to overcome this. Purity, in my opinion is the most beautiful virtue and offenses against it are grave whether it’s a force of acquired habit or not. My suggestion would be to stop going on computers/smart phones when you’re in confined spaces and try to keep busy that way it will be more difficult for you to be tempted. I pray you defeat this.
I’m a great clicker of links. It might help if you refuse to click on links that have provocative pictures. Or if you stumble on to a porn site, immediately close the window/tab before you have a chance to get enthralled.
Watching less TV might help; I’m thinking of the ads and content that are, basically, light porn. I stopped watching shows like “America’s Dumbest”, because one of my sins is enjoying laughing at people whom I think are stupid. I was amazed at how much “lite porn” I noticed on TV after staying away for a while. It seems reasonable to me to think that these things that you might not even notice at the time could make you crave the sin.
If you can, try to notice the triggers - what were you doing when the craving hit? Stay away from doing that. (Which sounds much easier than it is.)
I struggle with the same problems. Especially the masturbation. But keep confessing yes there are factors that lessen culpability. What helps me more than anything is the rosary. When you pray the rosary all the time you either give sin up or the rosary.
Your not the first & not the last with this situation…
And the big secret to rid yourself from this is…
Keep yourself occupied by coming to this site and talking to people about things other
than yourself… fill your days with work if you can…you will fail …
but thats ok,at least your trying to change your mode of thought… I still go to porn sites … but now it’s maybe once a week, or two weeks, several months ago it was everyday…
If this is really a habitual sin, and you really want to beat it, you need to cut off the near occasion of sin. That means either (a) making it so that you somehow cannot access porn on your smart phone, or (b) ditching the smartphone. In the future, you might be able to resist temptation, but now, the Lord wants you to flee from it.
This is a tough thing, I imagine, for you to hear. But these are the types of situations where God wants to know if we are really serious about being holy.
You are going to conquer this, my brother, with the Lord’s help. Be encouraged!
For some reason I can’t edit the main thread so I’m posting the following as a reply.
EDIT: This probably isn’t important, but I felt like adding it anyway: One of the strong factors that plays a roll in making me commit this sin is that sometimes, I’ll be all alone in a confined area with really nothing to do, and all of a sudden a thought about masturbation or pornography will pop into my head. I always think to myself when this occurs, “God doesn’t want me to do this, it displeases Him. It would be a disgrace if I were to commit this sin”. But the more I think this, the more I’m tempted. Sometimes, it gets so bad in fact, that I’ll start becoming depressed and upset. My stomach will turn into a knot and I’ll get a headache. The reason this is such a big factor is because I always see the two sins as a way to get rid of the depression and sadness. And that is primarily why I fall.
That sounds like a normal dynamic, when it comes to something like masturbation and pornography. It certainly is similar to my own experience.
You say that the idea that your sin *displeases *God doesn’t help you. But why not think about it this way – when you resist sin, when you are a warrior for Christ, then you *please *God! The Lord of all the universe, your Heavenly Daddy, looks down on you and says, “Well done”. He enjoys your decision to choose for yourself, for your loved ones, to choose for him – rather than to choose to escape.
There is probably pain that the sinful behavior helps you avoid. This pain needs to be confronted. You have to be willing for your whole life to be thrown upside-down, so that Christ might live in you, even in the parts of you that you want to hide from.
People will tell you “this struggle is normal”, and “not to worry too much when you fall.” That is correct, in a sense. But bondage to sin, even if “normal”, is not what the Father intends for us. You can be free, but freedom requires you to take risks: to consider why you are seeking out disgrace and shame, instead of purity and life. Don’t be afraid of the answer – you are an adopted son of the living God, so you have an Advocate who will always come to your defense.
Let me know if you’d like to correspond privately about this. I’ve received some measure of freedom in this area, and I want to help others get freedom too.
While your culpability may be reduced due to this sin’s habitual nature, don’t fall into the trap of telling yourself that this is beyond your control because it is “habitual”. Sin is couching at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.
The best advice I’ve heard for this type of sin is to avoid the temptation. If you get tempted when you are on your computer before bed, don’t use the computer before bed. If this is difficult, replace it with a different activity such as reading or praying. Put yourself in a different mindset.
It’s good that you’re going to confession. Keep doing that. Even if it’s every week.