Is physical mortification permissible as a penance?


#1

Don’t you ever just feel like you need to punch yourself when you do something wrong?
Jk
I would like to know though if it is permissible in the US, because my friend from the Philipeans told me that over there, people hit themselves on the back with real whips and even cuts themselves on the back so that more blood comes out. :confused:

Sorry for posting so much, I just have a lot of questions that randomly come to me in the middle of doing things. I’d also be afraid to ask my Spiritual Director this because he would think I’m crazy.


#2

Enough said.

Mortification has a long history in Christianity and is certainly a valid form of penance. It is validated by writings of Popes and Church fathers. But generally it is recommended to be undertaken with the guidance of a spiritual director. So in your case, it doesn’t sound like it would be suitable. If you feel called to practice this, you need to run it by your spiritual director.


#3

Thank you for responding. :thumbsup:


#4

Yes, but contemporary culture, including most Catholics, aren’t open-minded enough to recognize it as potentially helpful. We exist in a very squeamish society, so I would keep it under wraps if I were you. This ain’t the Philippines :stuck_out_tongue:


#5

I agree that mortification is a valid form of penance but I’m not so sure about physical mortification being recommended.

The CCC does not say physical mortification is okay.

CCC 1430 Jesus’ call to conversion and penance, like that of the prophets before him, does not aim first at outward works, “sackcloth and ashes,” fasting and mortification, but at the conversion of the heart, interior conversion. Without this, such penances remain sterile and false; however, interior conversion urges expression in visible signs, gestures and works of penance.

CCC 2015 The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle. Spiritual progress entails the ascesis and mortification that gradually lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes:

He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows.

Father John Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary:

MORTIFICATION. The practice of Christian asceticism in order to overcome sin and master one’s sinful tendencies, and through penance and austerity to strengthen the will in the practice of virtue and grow in the likeness of Christ. Natural mortification is a normal part of self-discipline; supernatural mortification, based on faith, seeks to grow in holiness through merit gained by co-operating with the grace of God. (Etym. Latin mortificatio, a killing, a putting to death.)


#6

I agree that mortification is a valid form of penance but I’m not so sure about physical mortification being recommended.

The CCC does not say physical mortification is okay.

CCC 1430 Jesus’ call to conversion and penance, like that of the prophets before him, does not aim first at outward works, “sackcloth and ashes,” fasting and mortification, but at the conversion of the heart, interior conversion. Without this, such penances remain sterile and false; however, interior conversion urges expression in visible signs, gestures and works of penance.

CCC 2015 The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle. Spiritual progress entails the ascesis and mortification that gradually lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes:

He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows.

Father John Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary:

MORTIFICATION. The practice of Christian asceticism in order to overcome sin and master one’s sinful tendencies, and through penance and austerity to strengthen the will in the practice of virtue and grow in the likeness of Christ. Natural mortification is a normal part of self-discipline; supernatural mortification, based on faith, seeks to grow in holiness through merit gained by co-operating with the grace of God. (Etym. Latin mortificatio, a killing, a putting to death.)


#7

and the CCC doesn’t condemn physical mortification either.if the op has a spiritual director this is a question for him to answer,not internet sages.:shrug:


#8

I agree but the fact the CCC does not even mention physical mortification in my opinion means it is not encouraged but rather other forms of mortification should be looked at.
I also agree that the OP should talk to a priest/spiritual director.

Frankly, and this is my opinion only, anyone who seeks suffering through physical mortification may need help. I don’t see such actions as normal.
The Church teaches that we should accept suffering if it comes our way but it does not teach we should seek out suffering.


#9

tell it to Blessed John Paul ,and Saint Josemaría Escrivá


#10

I don’t understand your point.
My point is that the Church does not encourage or teach that we should perform physical self-mortification. If I am wrong please show me where the Church teaches or encourages such a practice. I can find nothing in the CCC.


#11

Both of whom were arguably far better grounded in their spiritual lives than the average lay person. I don’t think they can be used as examples to give carte blanche to someone to begin whipping themselves or engaging in other forms of physical / bodily self-mortification.


#12

don’t put words in my mouth ,i didn’t give carte blanche to anything or anyone .my main point was and is that the op should discern this with their spiritual director. have to ask ,do you believe that the “average lay person” isn’t capable of the level of sanctity of Blessed John Paul ,and Saint Josemaría Escrivá ?


#13

and the Church doesn’t discourage it ,show me in CCC that it does.


#14

and Opus Dei allows the it,and the Church knows and hasn’t stopped them :shrug:


#15

The CCC is silent on physical mortification but mentions other forms of mortification. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand what that means!
Your view is akin to saying if something is not mentioned in the GIRM then it is allowed. Not so!


#16

opus dei


closed #17

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