As my first post on this forum I want to start with a rather heavy topic. This is a normal topic, of many things that affect all of us, actually.
I was raised in a catholic home, which was fairly faithful to the church. We won’t judge you, as we are commanded not to. If you were raised in a Catholic family, praise the Lord.
At the age of 17, I completely lost my faith. **Did you really “have” it? do you mean that you rejected all the articles of faith that you had learned? Did you attend a Catholic school at any period of that time? Faith is something that has to be nurtured. **I spent the next 9 or so years trying to ‘normalize’ myself with the rest of society, believing that I could change fundamental parts of myself, among which included a more liberal attitude towards sex and a tolerance and acceptance of non-catholic ways of living. Also, I began to watch porn, and developed a pretty severe aversion to people of all sorts.
**There’s a technical program on faith and morals on EWTN, called “Both Servant and Free.” It deals a lot with philosophy and theology, but is is basically about things familiar to all of us. What’s important here is 1) our intellect and 2) our emotions. The essence of the program is that as Catholics we have a duty to train both our intellect and our emotions.
What you’re saying is that as you grew older and there were more options available to you, you became a slave to your passion, rather than remaining detached and free. Freedom is not a license to sin, but the blessing to choose to serve God, which is what we are all challenged to do in life.**
My problem now is that I’ve ‘sexualized’ my mind set. I have problems with intrusive sexual thoughts sometimes including my family, women in general, and even children(which REALLY disturbs me). These thoughts make it difficult to treat people as people, and not just objects. Because of this, I’ve completely stopped viewing porn.
It’s** good that you can realize that sexualizing all personal relationship is just that, it’s degrading to all involved, it’s exploitation of God’s gifts, it’s using sex in a situation which was not intended by God.
This is a classic dilemma in other modern moral problems. You have to think in a larger framework than just worrying about a sexual mindset. You need to “work out” your salvation in a general sense. You don’t have a problem restricted to the sexual part of life, you have a general problem relating to God.
When you look around you, the “world” is assaulting you with sexual messages everyplace – tv, internet, etc. The Bible calls this spiritual warfare.
You need to develop a perspective, for example, that baptism put you with Jesus, we might say, on one side of the Grand Canyon, and all those temptations are on the other side. Yeah, they’re still there, tempting you and all of us. But, you need to realize what holy ground you are standing on. You need to realize that you need to control your intellect and your emotions. You need a radical, life-changing commitment to Jesus Christ. you need the Church and the sacraments.**
I wanted to ask whether or not it is required to mention these thoughts to a priest through a confession of sins. Can a person really be sinning for having these thoughts? Can I hope to be free of these sexual thoughts? If so, how should I approach this?
Yes, you need to bring this up in confession and get control of it as soon as possible. Yes, we can sin in our thoughts. No, you cannot hope to be free of sexual thoughts, but they should be directed to living your life in a Christian context, in a committed marriage, for example.
all comments and suggestions would be helpful,
**You will be tempted by many things throughout your life, and you will have to sacrifice yourself to overcome these temptation. This is what Jesus was talking about when he said that we all have to take up our cross and follow him. These inclinations, that we can’t get rid of, are the cross we have to bear.
What both the Old and New Testaments say, the greatest commandment is “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”
Pay attention to that last one. “strength” We need to commit ourselves with all our strength, that is the fullest amound of our effort. And, we need to recall that Jesus said (to St Paul) “my grace is sufficient for you.” What is grace?
The grace we have includes the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and of all the revelation in the Bible and in the Church. This is what each of us has to train our mind and to control our passions.**