Is this the simply the priest's opinion or Church teaching?

I committed a lustful sin two times and confessed it to two different priests. I was truely sorry for the sin and committed to not doing it again but I failed and did it again. This time I confessed it to a different priest and he said that lustful thinking and masturbation was not a serious sin and was very common. He that that I would probably fail again, and that I should not run to the confessional each time. He said that I could say an act of contrition to myself to have God forgive the sin instead. He made me think that this lustful sin was not mortal because it was not a serious issue. Was the priest right in what he told me???

Dear Swim,

The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes “Persona humana 9” from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in stating: “Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action.” In other words, it is objectively a mortal sin and must be confessed.

I’m sure the priest meant well and considered such counsel as “pastoral.” But he did you no favors in contradicting the teaching of the Church.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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