Is Masturbation a Mortal or Venial Sin?

So I talked to a priest a couple of weeks ago about masturbation. He then asked me if I had ever heard about the “Old Church and New Church”, Vatican I and Vatican II.

I told him no I had not and he went on to explain that during Vatican I masturbation was considered a very grave, serious, and mortal sin. He said after that and during Vatican II, it was concluded that masturbation is only a venial sin now.

This didn’t sound accurate, but then again I’m still learning a lot about the faith all the time.

Does anyone have anymore information or insight on this?

You are correct to be skeptical. There is no such thing as the “old church and new chuch”.

Something that is objectively grave matter (which masterbation is) cannot suddenly become “not” grave matter. It was, is, and always will be grave matter, a sin against the sixth commandment.

I would encourage you to get a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church which is a resource that you can always find the answers in. I would also encourage you to get a copy of the US Adult Catechim put out by the USCCB because it is a bit easier read.

Thank you.

Check this out, CrimsonThorn.

In addition to what 1ke said (essentially, absolutely nothing changed nor can change that masturbation is grave matter), I do want to point out, in case you are not aware, that grave matter does not automatically equate to mortal sin, particularly if there’s an element of addiction involved.

However, that said, we are good at lying to ourselves, so I recommend the policy of treating anything we do knowing it is grave matter as though it is mortal unless and until an orthodox confessor (in particular, one who doesn’t think the grave matter part has changed) tells us that it’s not.

Masturbation is a serious sin because it can lead to other impure thoughts
which does offend our body,especially outside the sacrament of marriage.

As I’m certain you’re aware, the Church does have canons that it can enforce under pain of mortal sin, thus making them grave matter, but not objectively so.

I think I might have met the priest you’re talking about once…then again I’ve heard that A LOT of older priests are like that…:frowning: (I assume the priest you’re refering to is older…)

To more directly answer your question, he is wrong.

Make a search of the “Ask an apologist” forum (go to search, enter the term you are searching for, and on the list to the right choose the forum “ask an apologist” to search from) to this topic :slight_smile:

I am not sure if this works if I do it for you, but I’ve tried:

(the first post is not specifical to masturbation I think, but probably also itneresting, I haven’t read it really)

Sorry, I just disagree with this notion that all masturbation is sinful.

Could be sometimes. A MORTAL sin? Like murder or adultery? Hardly seems to rise to that level. Only married people can have a ‘sexual release’? And if a man (or woman) is married, wants to ‘have sex’, and the partner says ‘no’ then I guess that they will just have to lay in bed frustrated?

I think masturbation is essentially NORMAL, and to give people the idea that it is a MORTAL sin is just wrong. Their are things to feel guilty about, but not this.

You can go argue with the Catechism of the Catholic Church.


Yep, it is what it is, whether or not one agrees with it.

I think that you are quite confused about sin, guilt and feelings. I encourage you to take a peek at the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to get a better idea of the differences.

I do think, with this subject, it is important to note that Scripture is silent about this. I also think that it is difficult, in a Church that has as its central claim, to be the TRUE church, to admit (or believe) that it might be wrong about some things. The Church has, over the ages, been wrong about some things. I just think that masturbation, while it MAY be sinful in certain circumstances, is not always so. In fact, I’d say I view it as a normal thing. And certainly, to name it as a ‘mortal’ sin seems quite excessive to me, putting it on the same level as murder or adultery? I just don’t believe that is the case.

You say that a Church that claims to be true must also admit that it has flaws? So the true church should say it is not really true? That doesn’t even make sense.

In scripture, Jesus said that “The gates of Hell would not prevail against it (the Church.” The Magisterium is infallible, by the declaration of Christ. The Holy Spirit guides His Church through all tribulations, and never permits it to go wrong on matters of faith and morals.

Perhaps that priest also thinks that V2 declared apostasy, blasphemy, perjury, and sacrilege to be now “venial” instead of mortal? :eek:

If any priest in the confessional told me that certain sins were now re-categorized, I would demand to know references and citations for that.

First if you are a Catholic you are quite ignorant of what the Church teaches and your views do not really matter. You do not have any authority to bind or loose things and you still have an obligation to abide by what the Church teaches.

If you are not a Catholic then you should go back to read your OT and NT one more time and you will see how the sinfulness associated with masturbation has been addressed several times.

Finally you have to prove when and how the Church has been wrong with her teachings, you have made a very strong statement and you better be able to prove it if you do not want to look like a fool.

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