Is Masturbation Acceptable for a Catholic teen? HELP!

Here’s what 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.” Paragraph 2352

Those are a lot of big words. I’ll try to simplify it for you.

A mortal sin is complete rejection of God. It comes when you commit a grave offensive intentionally. That is to say that a mortal sin DOESN’T happen by accident. It isn’t the result of mere human weakness where you’ve been struggling and then stumble into it, fighting yourself along the way. Traditionally we speak of full consent. This means there is no division in your will. You’re engaging in an immoral action without reservation.

Ultimately, if you’re a practicing Catholic, seeking out God’s graces when you can, living a sacramental life with regular confession, then even if you’re falling into grave sins, chances are that you’re not completely morally culpable.

We all have divided hearts. We’re all on a spiritual journey to Heaven where we’re learning to give more and more of our hearts to Christ. So while Protestants see it as a one-time conversion experience, we are sort of in the “I believe. Help my unbelief.” We tend to always have one foot in and one foot out.

The gospel isn’t primarily about the moral law. The moral law is certainly a part of it, but it’s important to understand that God wants to write the law on your heart, to help develop your conscience. Chastity is a virtue you develop over time. It isn’t something you strive to preserve like virginity. It is something that starts out as a seed and grows. You have to nurture that garden it’s growing in.

So the important thing is to understand that masturbation is a sin. Don’t worry about the mortal and venial stuff. Recognize that you shouldn’t want to sin at all. Venial sins shouldn’t be the “Hey I can get away with these ones.” So simply go to confession and do what you can to avoid the sin. Beating yourself up afterward serves no purpose. It won’t help you avoid it in the future. It won’t somehow make up for the fact that you’ve already done it. Realize that the temptation to beat yourself up is a temptation as well. Accept yourself as a human being called to receive grace to become more than what you are, to become holy. This is something God does inside of you. Don’t despair that you are not a saint yet. Don’t fear that God will reject you for not being what he wants to transform you into.

Hey jakub,
A few thoughts…
Be careful about rationalizing sin. Sometimes as Catholics we get caught up in if a sin is mortal or not, but a sin is a sin. I am 30, I can tell you that your sex drive will not have any sort of dramatic drop off in the future. Jason Evert says you haven’t even reached your sexual peak yet. This won’t automatically get easier with time. There are men in their 60s and 70s who still struggle with sex addiction.

As others have mentioned, our sex drive is crucial, otherwise me and you wouldn’t be here.

It’s great that you’ve made a commitment to be done with porn, because that’s a sin in itself, and that can be very binding as well.

The guilt you feel is real, but if you keep doing this habit long enough, you’ll become numb to it.

There’s a book called Every Young Man’s Battle, you might give it a read. It’s by Protestants, but it’s got some helpful ideas in it.

You say the Bible never mentions masturbation, have you read Matthew 5:30?
…And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

Are you close to your Dad? Is he a practicing Catholic? Do you have any close friends who share your desire to know and live the truth? Confession can be helpful, but it can also be liberating to share your thoughts about this with someone outside of the booth. It’s not an easy subject, there’s a lot of shame around it, but Satan would rather us isolate ourselves and (try to) bury it. You seem like a smart guy. It seems you haven’t made up your mind as to whether or not masturbation is a sin. If the person you talk with about it has views different than the Church, it’s good to question why. If you keep seeking truth, you’ll find it.

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