[quote="LeafByNiggle, post:39, topic:242695"]
By that same reasoning, one might say that abuse of the sexual organs is only a grave matter when there is intent to harm. And I'm sure you don't mean to say that. In the case of masturbation, the mere fact that the sexual organs are being used contrary to their design is reason enough to say that it is a grave matter. So don't set up higher standards for smoking being grave unless you are willing to apply those same standards to masturbation.
I am not questioning your beliefs. I am asking how the Church explains this difference. And the fact is that smoking in moderation is definitely not declared sinful by the Church, and I want to know why, in a way that is consistent with the Church's position on masturbation. Now you have intimated that the difference is attributable to the qualitative difference in the two gifts - lungs vs reproductive organs. And I do see your point about reproduction being more essential to eternal life than breathing. But I don't see this difference as big enough to justify why abuse of some parts is grave and abuse of other parts is not. It seems to me that the gift of reproduction would not be much of a gift if we did not also have the gift of lungs to take that first breath after being born. And you have to be careful elevating the act of conception too much higher in importance than the biological life it leads to (e.g. breathing with your lungs), otherwise you get a justification for abortion. Don't see how that follows? Well, one might adapt your argument as follows: "If the lungs fail, the body just dies. But the person still has the possibility of eternal life. So let's abort that fetus and we can at least be assured that the child will have eternal life.". Of course I do not subscribe to this ridiculous notion. But it is one possible conclusion from you line of reasoning that shows how abuse of parts of the body the "merely sustain life" is insignificant when compared to abuse of the reproductive parts.
Its not about the outcomes, its about the gift. Which has a greater value. If your Dad gave you two gifts, one was a tongue depressor and the other was a family heirloom that has been handed down for 50 generations and you were selected to be the caretaker for this generation, which one would you treasure more?
Which one would offend your Dad more if you walked over and threw them both in the garbage?
There is a real difference in the nature of the gifts. We cannot assume that just because there is a coincindental similarity in that they both happen to have a biological element that they are both the same. They are not. The gravity of the sin when we misuse or abuse of the gifts we receive, likewise is not always the same.
Abortion is not even close to being a logical line of reasoning to what I am saying. I don't know where you are going with that?