I am worried about still being in a state of mortal sin

I posted on my experience back in June. Here is the whole story

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=796435

I went to confession right after this incident. I was legitimately sorry for what happened. The priest asked me if there was anything else I needed to confess besides the abortion. I also mentioned the premarital sex and the not going to church for the previous 15 years. I couldn’t remember anything else off the top of my head. The priest said, “Let me absolve you of all your sins. That way you can start off with a clean slate with God.” I did the prescribed penance. Since then, I have been going to Mass every week, whether it is Saturday evening or 10 or 12 o’clock on Sunday. I went to confession once since then. I think I will go on a regular basis now. I mentioned little things like using the name of the Lord in vain. I’m sure everybody does that. I also mentioned masturbation. That is one thing I am really still struggling with. I got into the habit of doing it when I was a teenager, before I knew it was a sin. Once you get into the habit, it is really hard to break. It is probably like quitting smoking. I really did try to break the habit. I did manage to go a couple weeks without masturbating, but then I slipped up and did it again. I’m sure that God can see I am honestly trying to stop. But my worry is, that is an embarrassing thing to confess, and what is the use of confessing it if I will have to keep confessing it over and over again? I also know that for something to be a mortal sin, it must be committed with full knowledge and complete consent. It is possible that in my case, that second part may not apply. I know also that consideration is made for force of habit. Should I keep confessing this? Even though I was absolved of the previous sins, I worry that I don’t have much margin for error with God now. I’m sorry for the length.

Keep confessing it and honestly try to stop doing it. You said you were away from the church for 15 years. Normally it takes time to break those habits. Don’t be too hard on yourself when you fail, but honestly try not to do those things. Even though you were previously absolved (those sins are indeed forgiven), any serious sins that you do after each confession would need to also be confessed. Confession is not a one time cure all, but it needs to be used as often as necessary. The grace given through going to confession will help to break the habit. You should also be sure to receive the Eucharist (only if your not in a state of mortal sin) as often as possible.

God will do a lot of the work for you, but you do need to cooperate with the graces you receive from these sacraments, and truely try to change yourself. Discouragement and a sense of hopelessness to ever live a chaste life are the devils weapons. Confession and the Eucharist are the antidote for the poison, partake liberally.

You must confess all mortal sins, in kind and number.

Masturbation is grave matter, therefore, it must be confessed each time. Jesus will give you the graces you need to conquer this sin, through the sacrament of reconciliation. Embarrassment is normal for every penitent. Sin brings about shame, wanting to hide, and a desire to justify ourselves. But only the healing offered in confession makes us whole again.

This is a little bit embarrassing bring up.

Definitely, God will see that you are trying and will provide the grace for you to acheive this.

One source of this grace is confession, so please don’t think it is futile. Regular confession is a great remedy for our sins, serious and less serious. The absolution gives us the courage to persist, while many priest have great advice for this sin and many others too.

As for embarrassment…well, it should be embarrassing. But hopefully you will be able to use that as a further incentive to keep trying to stop. One reason for personal confessions is that we are accountable to other people for our sins, and we have to name the sin and take responsibility for it. But equally, the absolution is given in person and we can be certain of it, in a very tangible way.

Keep trying! God bless.

Of course. Sin always causes shame. As I said before, we either want to hide the sin or we want to find a way to justify it. Neither will bring healing or peace. Confession is the only remedy. Do it matter-of-factly, say it quick, get that difficult part over with at the start of your confession.
Just say “I masturbated X number of times”
Then continue with the rest of your confession, confessing all mortal sins in kind and number, and confessing venial sins that you would like to start working on overcoming.
You can do this. Confession really does help you. God bless you!

We all have vices of one kind or another, whether corporeal or spiritual. Another thing is, Do you pray for yourself? I mean seriously and often. Sometimes we can get locked into devotion prayer for others (family, friends, Pope, clergy, sick etc.) which is great, but when we struggle or are faced with temptation sometimes our immediate thought is, “oh, I can beat this temptation” and forget to pray for ourselves, often and earnestly. I don’t know if that’s at all true for you; I’ve been guilty of that prideful sin myself. So I resolved to start recognizing myself as needing my prayers along with (and sometimes more so) praying for everyone else. Oddly enough, some of those old temptations aren’t as much a problem anymore.:o

You need to ask your confessor when it’s a mortal sin. Masturbation is a grave matter, but force of habit, hormones, mental illness can impact that. I sincerely doubt you’ll find what you are looking for on here. You’ll get the usual: some quotes from the catechism and different opinions.

I really don’t think you need to be embarrassed. It’s probably more common than you think.

Don’t worry about your “margin of error” with God. If you made a good confession, those sins are forgiven. Of course, you’ll want to pray and do many good works to avoid purgatory! :thumbsup::yup:

I would suggest having normal hours and praying the rosary when you go to sleep. I suspect if you eliminate lying around in bed being bored or even being alone a lot, you won’t be as tempted (or as interested) in masturbation. :thumbsup:

Your sins are forgive and you have a clean slate. What you have is the fear of God in you now and that is good. God has always loved you and never stopped loving you. Look at the story of St. Paul. Jesus loved Saint Paul and you haven’t killed anyone as far as I know

You could call a moving van and they could help you move out of that state. I hear it has pretty high taxes, a corrupt government, and rather hot living conditions. Just ask the Rich Man in the story of The Rich Man And Lazarus!:smiley:

Do you honestly think it is possible to avoid purgatory at this point? Obviously, I was forgiven for the abortion, but that doesn’t remit temporal punishment. I played a big part in it. I pushed her to do it, then I did nothing to talk her out of it when she decided to do it and I felt horrible about it. Then I paid for it. I went to the same priest about the masturbation. I am worried that if I go to confession once a month, after the second or third time, he may say, “What good does it do for me to absolve you if you are just going to keep on doing it.” He is pretty nice though.

That’s not at all how it works. Any priest will know that this can be a very hard sin to stop, and often it is a gradual process, with some steps forward, some steps backward, and a continual struggle. Regular confession is an important part of this struggle and any good priest will encourage you, not discourage you!

The important thing is that you resolve to stop (try to stop), not that you are actually likely to do this immediately. As long as you are sorry for your sin and have a firm resolution to not sin again (which is different from whether it is likely or not), absolution will not be with-held.

You repented. You confessed. You ARE forgiven. You are amending your life.

Have you heard of Rachel’s Vineyard, the post-abortive ministry of the Catholic Church? I have heard recently that they have a ministry for men, too, who are grieving over their involvement with the abortion of their child.
You can also learn about acts of reparation and indulgences. These are things the Church, in Her wisdom, gives us to do to participate in atonement for the sins which we commit or which others commit.
Finally, your priest will not turn you away unless you demonstrate impenitence. And it has to be blatant impenitence for any priest to ever consider doing such a thing. You are obviously concerned about growing in holiness and making up for your past life and conquering vice. If we, on the internet, can sense that, how much more will your confessor sense that? Do not let fear of rejection keep you away from the loving forgiveness Jesus wants to give you. Do not despair. Trust in God’s mercy. Think of a child learning how to walk. In the beginning, the toddler will frequently stumble and fall and cry. He will need encouragement, consoling, and someone to pick him up and dust him off and tell him to try again. No one blames the toddler for his neediness. It is just expected. Consider yourself a spiritual toddler and extend yourself the same sort of compassion you would give the baby learning how to walk. Just keep reaching out your hand for Jesus, and He will lift you up and hold your hand and show you how to walk with Him.

I would say that if any good came of my experience in June, it is me getting back into religion.

I have another question. Say I make it a point to go to confession once a month. I’m not going to remember each specific time I masturbated. Last time, all I said was I am doing it a lot, and struggling to break the habit. The priest didn’t say I had to mention the number of times.

If at all possible go to confession more than once a month. It would probably be helpful to go every week. You can say “about 2-3 times per week for the past month.” It doesn’t have to be the exact amount, but it should be a close estimate.

That’s a good point. I guess it would be one thing if I went back to the same priest second time and told him I got another woman pregnant and pushed her to have an abortion and paid for it again. After making an appointment with him the first time. That would be blatant impenitence. I know that will never happen again. But everyone knows masturbation is a hard habit to break.

Yes, you must confess mortal sins in kind and number. If you cannot recall the number of times precisely, you may estimate as close as you are able to recall. This is part of the examination of conscience we all must do to prepare to make a good confession. Also, remember to confess all mortal sins before receiving Holy Communion again. Catholics must be in a state of grace before reception of Holy Communion, otherwise we compound our sin. So, if you fall into temptation and commit a serious sin, go to confession as soon as you can, before the next time you receive Holy Communion. Do not wait for your appointed time once a month.
One very beneficial activity for you now is reading through an approved catechism of the Catholic Church. If you are a young person still, you may like the YouCat, the approved catechism for youth. If you are already a mature adult, you may prefer the official, larger version. Just read a page or two per day, or more when you get to parts you find very interesting.:thumbsup:
This will help you with your questions.:slight_smile:
And of course, keep asking questions here! There are a lot of people who would love to help you.

Why would you want to avoid purgatory? Purgatory is part of the journey to unity with God. What is the alternative to purgatory? Think about that…Going to heaven without a struggle is not the option most of us will have. The other option is hell. Purgatory! Yes please Lord, purgatory!

What I observe in you is what I deal with… a prideful lack of trust. I have walked a similar path as you have. I had my child aborted 26 years ago. Sadly I can’t even remember the date. Abortion does not only kill the child, it kills the parents as well, spiritually.

Begin to work on pride and trust in what the Church and your confessor tell you. You cannot approach God too often for healing. He wants you to approach confession. If the priest gives you absolution for your sin, you are forgiven. God is merciful as well as just. He wants us to trust in his Divine Mercy. Trust asks us to accept his forgiveness and let it begin to heal us. I will tell you, it took me years, and many confessions, and it is still an ongoing process. Our sin enslaves us. We begin to define ourselves by the atrocities we committed. We cling to it like a security blanket because we are afraid of converting and carrying the cross, afraid of things like purgatory, afraid of being that new creation that God wants us to be. If I stop clinging to my sin, my road is opened to all kinds of hard work. That road is intimidating, but trusting and carrying the cross is the only way out.

Think of this…the pride that won’t let you accept God’s forgiveness is the same pride that tells you pleasure is the answer to life’s struggles. Pride rejects God’s plan for you.
Trust him. Do the best you can, and LET God do his work. And be patient, it took me years to heal (decades) from the death that abortion is.

There is another thing I wanted to add. I have ADHD. I am not trying to make excuses, but with ADHD, things like impulse control are impaired. I got some advice on this from my friend’s uncle, who is a priest. He said that for a sin to be mortal, it must be grave matter, committed with full knowledge, and complete consent. He said that is my case, it is very possible that that last one may not apply, but that I should still keep trying to stop and still keep confessing it.

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