Is masturbation a sin?

Tim - but at the same time, it’s safe to say that masturbation, like murder, fornication, adultery, etc is OBJECTIVELY a Mortal Sin.

Let’s not water it down… it’s very grave.

However, masturbation is also very addictive. So the addiction can lesson the culpability… but in the end only God judges.

Even though it’s not technically correct, most people use the terms “grave sin” / “grave matter” and “mortal sin” interchangeably because all grave sins are OBJECTIVELY mortal sins, even though subjectively they may not be.

Point is - you always have to confess masturbation.

God Bless

It depends on your age.

Just because something is a grave matter doesn’t make it a mortal sin. That’s only 1/3 of it.

There are some instances where the culpability for masturbation is reduced to non-mortal levels because of a lack of deliberate consent or full knowledge.

This is right.

To be a mortal sin something needs more than just grave matter; it also needs full knowledge and deliberate consent. And that applies to EVERY mortal sin; there are no exceptions.

If somebody doesn’t have full knowledge then his culpability is reduced below mortal levels. If somebody doesn’t deliberately consent then his culpability is reduced below mortal levels.

Meaning those not yet at the age of reason cannot commit a mortal sin sure.

Yes you can - and yes it is.

Such is referring to the objective nature of the a sin itself.

Murder is a mortal sin.
Masturbation is a mortal sin.
Desiring to kill or seriously wound another is a mortal sin.
etc

Now on the subjective level - in order to “commit” a mortal sin - yes one needs not only a grave matter but full knowledge and complete consent.

The OP was asking if it was a sin and how serious of a sin it is. It being “masturbation”.

So yes Masturbation is a mortal sin (grave sin/serious sin - same thing).

Note though that I then noted that it is “grave matter for mortal sin” as well. And I provided the various links from the Catechism for the OP. Pointing to a further “unasked” question of culpability.

Is it grave matter- yes.

Is it mortal sin - yes.

And yes God judges masturbation to yes be a mortal sin.

That is its nature and and we know this through his Church - which teaches that it is. So yes it is a mortal sin.

But as to the culpability of person Y - well yes that God knows best and can judge best. As to if they committed a mortal sin on Tuesday at 8pm.

In reference to subjective culpability - yes.

But not in reference to the objective nature of a the sin.

Murder is always a mortal sin. In itself.

But a person who has done such may not be culpable of mortal sin due to the lack of knowledge etc. The lack of culpability does not change the nature though of murder.

Yes you can - and yes it is.

Such is referring to the objective nature of the a sin itself.

Murder is a mortal sin.
Masturbation is a mortal sin.
Adultery is a mortal sin.
Desiring to kill or seriously wound another is a mortal sin.
etc

Now on the subjective level - in order to “commit” a mortal sin - yes one needs not only a grave matter but full knowledge and complete consent.

The OP was asking if it was a sin and how serious of a sin it is. It being “masturbation”.

So yes Masturbation is a mortal sin (grave sin/serious sin - same thing).

Note though that I then noted that it is “grave matter for mortal sin” as well. And I provided the various links from the Catechism for the OP. Pointing to a further “unasked” question of culpability.

Is it grave matter- yes.

Is it called a mortal sin - yes. Just if someone asked me is murder a mortal sin - I can quite truly say - yes.

And yes God judges masturbation to yes be a mortal sin.

That is its nature and and we know this through his Church - which teaches that it is. So yes it is a mortal sin.

But as to the culpability of person Y - well yes that God knows best and can judge best. As to if they committed a mortal sin on Tuesday at 8pm.

A person might have engage in the said act - but due to various factors (see CCC) their culpability was reduced at that time and they did not *commit *a mortal sin (their culpability having been reduced to venial).

One distinguishes between the *objective *nature of the act - removed from the person and the subjective culpability in terms of a “particular actual act” of a particular actual person.

Of course! But also teens.

The Confessor can judge a particular case.

There is no “hey they are a teen so they do not commit mortal sin here”.

Have we discussed this before?
The Youcat, seems to disagree.

No it would not.

There is no “hey they are a teen so they do not commit mortal sin here”. No “blanket” judgement.

Can it happen that a particular teen have done said act and not committed mortal sin? Yes. See my long posts up above and the Catechism discussion of this.

A Confessor can evaluate the particular case…

Will Catholics ever get over this desire to parse all sins into being either “venial” or “mortal?”

All sin is sin, though in differing degrees. What you have listed above are sins of grave matter but the blanket term of “mortal” neither makes sense nor helps to understand the subject. In this case, the Church considers all sins involving the misuse of the sexual act as being sins of grave matter. Depending upon the culpability of the person involved, however, the Church maintains that certain considerations of psychology or physiology can either diminish or reduce the the gravity of the act for the individual. In that case, then, masturbation was not a “mortal” sin. The blanket statement doesn’t work. In any event, it has aways been the Church’s position that it is unrepentant mortal sin that puts one’s soul at risk. A person who willfully commits murder and adultery has more to worry about than whether what they did was “mortal” or not; their actions are outward signs of their rejection of God which is not something most people who fall into masturbation intend.

YOUCAT 409: Is masturbation an offense against love?

Masturbation is an offense against love, because it makes the excitement of sexual pleasure an end in itself and uncouples it from the holistic unfolding of love between a man and a woman. That is why “sex with yourself” is a contradiction in terms. [2352]

The Church does not demonize masturbation, but she warns against trivializing it. In fact many young people and adults are in danger of becoming isolated in their consumption of lewd pictures, films, and Internet services instead of finding love in a personal relationship. Loneliness can lead to a blind alley in which masturbation becomes an addiction. Living by the motto “For sex I do not need anyone; I will have it myself, however and whenever I need it” makes nobody happy.

Objectively, yes, but that implies that the person who commits such a sin 1) knows that it’s serious sin, 2) have full knowledge of what it is they are doing and 3) deliberately choose to do it anyway. So, that right there already lets the air out of the “objectively sinful” balloon. The fact that the Church allows for psychological, physiological, force of acquired habit, etc. as legitimate reasons to mitigate the seriousness of the act tends to lesson the blanket declaration of being “mortal.”

Interesting. I guess if one can speak for how God judges then there really isn’t anything left to say.

Or maybe not. Somehow I really doubt that God gets hung up on the legalism of it all, as if the Catholic faith works like an algebraic equation where sins and variables are put in and solving for x determines whether something is mortal or venial.

What does that even mean? If someone masturbates, does God check to see if they went to confession before they died and if they didn’t, BAM!!!, off to hell they go? I really don’t think it works like that.

Hi Tim,
I don’t think anyone is disputing what you are saying here. I think people are simply disputing how to teach about sin.

For example, my father (baptized Catholic, now attending a Baptist Church) said once to me that masturbation was a mortal sin when he was a kid and then wasn’t a mortal sin after Vatican II. I’ve heard others his age say similar things.

A lot of people who have not studied theology (formally or as a hobby) do not understand what grave matters are, nor do they understand the criteria for a sin to be mortal (I know this first hand listening to my pastor trying to explain it to 60/70 year old women in our Bible Study).

But all Catholics understand Mortal Sin vs Venial Sin.

When some asks “is masturbation a mortal sin,” my answer is always “the Church teaches that masturbation is a grave sin, so yes, objectively it is a mortal sin that needs to be confessed.”

When people are asking, it’s usually because they want to know if they have to confess it or not.

NOW - when people try to say masturbation is a venial sin, thats where I will go in depth about “grave matter” and explain how a grave matter becomes mortal vs. venial.

We don’t want to be giving answers that make someone feel that they don’t have to go to confession, because they do (not implying that’s what you are doing, simply stating that why many of us are quick to answer “yes” to the Mortal Sin question).

God Bless

If one dies outside of the state of grace, in unrepented mortal sin. Hell is the destination.
That is as Catholic as it gets.
One must die in a state of grace for purgatory and/or heaven.
Do you understand it that way?

It means what I said.

That masturbation is a mortals sin - objectively.

God teaches us this through his Church.

This is not about subjective culpability.

But the nature of the act itself. Removed from any particular person. See my longer posts above.

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