"masturbation is not a sin"


#1

I went to confession about half an hour ago and I’m still upset by the experience.

I went to confess the sin of masturbation. It’s not something I would normally discuss on these forums, but what the priest said after I confessed disturbed me deeply. Here are some of his words as best I can remember them:

“I went on sabbatical recently and consulted with other priests about masturbation, to discover its status as a sin. The view of masturbation has changed dramatically. It’s very different from what I was taught in seminary many years ago. We just don’t talk about masturbation anymore. It’s part of human nature, and people cannot be held responsible for acting according to their nature. The church’s position on this changed after Vatican II. We now know that mortal sin is extremely rare. To commit a mortal sin, you have to genuinely hate God. Virtually no one commits mortal sin.”

I was extremely upset, and was sorely tempted to respond along the lines of:

“So if it’s alright to act according to my nature, can I just have sex with anyone I feel lust for? Or is an act of conjugal love outside of marriage unacceptable while a selfish act of masturbation outside of marriage is acceptable? That doesn’t make a lick of sense. If we go this far down this modernist road of ‘God doesn’t care what you do with your genitalia’, we may as well throw out the church’s entire moral teaching on sexuality. If our actions are justified by ‘our natures’, who needs God?”

Instead, I responded:

“I will continue to view this act as a mortal sin, with all respect.”

The priest then quickly gave me absolution (no act of contrition). I said “thank you, father” and left.

Your thoughts? He seemed to give the impression that the entire Canadian church thinks this way (I know it doesn’t, I’ve had at least five good confessors who acknowledge the gravity of this sin). I should also point out that this confession took place in a Cathedral, the seat of the Archdiocese of Kingston. Every other experience I’ve had there was fully orthodox, but now I’m afraid to enter the confessional again just to be told I shouldn’t be there.


#2

I’m so sorry you had to experience that. Pray for that priest - he needs your prayers to remember his purpose and calling.

I think you responded well to him. You were respectful but stated your position clearly.

I hope you can find another priest whom you will feel comfortable with in the future.

~Liza


#3

Thanks. I’ll pray for him. I’m extremely worried about the kind of instruction others are getting. This kind of thing can do serious harm to so many people. To confirm someone in their sin is to commit a real violence against them.


#4

Wow. Thanks for sharing ( I know it’s not easy sharing one’s confessional experiences as it is deeply personal ).

Are you allowed to go to the Bishop with this? Or is it “what stays in the confessional stays in the confessional.” I have never had any such experience in any of the Calgary parishes.

It would be nice if committing a mortal sin was rare, but unfortunately, we aren’t so fortunate.


#5

I’m considering sending his office an email to request that he go over this subject with the priests at the Cathedral. Does anyone have any authoritative church documents declaring masturbation a grave sin? I want to be able to back up my position.


#6

Check the catechism of the church.

Micki


#7

This experience could shortly be shared by many of us - I was quite surprised to hear from several seminarinas from two different German dioceses that the spiritual of the seminary did indeed tell them that masturbation was not a sin but good and necessary for the right treatment of sexuality while living celibately :rolleyes:

Hopefully, this is just an exception… but… hm.


#8

Thanks! Here are the passages which pertain to masturbation:

2352 "By masturbation is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. “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.” “The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose.” For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of “the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved.”

2396 “Among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices.”

This should be useful.


#9

I think many people seem to forget that our “nature” is wounded and corrupted. Concupiscience, the tendency to sin, is in our nature. This is why St. Paul says we have to crucify the flesh to the spirit.

The Catechism is from well after Vatican II so it should be a good resource. Where do people come up with these ideas that certian things have been changed? It seems they just make things up and pass them on…:frowning:


#10

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Offenses against chastity

2352 By masturbation is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. "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."137 “The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose.” For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of "the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved."138

The Church does not change its position on moral issues.


#11

Here’s a copy of the email I sent to the Cathedral and to the Office of the Archbishop. I recycled some of the things from this thread:

Hi,

I have a very serious concern about advice I received in confession at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Kingston today. I’m going to speak very explicitly; I confessed to the sin of masturbation.

Once I confessed this, the priest told me very clearly that masturbation was not a sin. Here are his words as best as I can remember them:

“I went on sabbatical recently and consulted with other priests about masturbation, to discover its status as a sin. The view of masturbation has changed dramatically. It’s very different from what I was taught in seminary many years ago. We just don’t talk about masturbation anymore. It’s part of human nature, and people cannot be held responsible for acting according to their nature. The church’s position on this changed after Vatican II. We now know that mortal sin is extremely rare. To commit a mortal sin, you have to genuinely hate God. Virtually no one commits mortal sin.”

This is a serious violation of Catholic teaching on human sexuality. This is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says on the subject:

2352 "By masturbation is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. “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.” “The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose.” For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of “the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved.”

2396 “Among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices.”

This teaching cannot be reconciled with what the priest told me. The priest’s teaching on the frequency of mortal sin is also contrary to the teaching of the church. I’m requesting that the Archbishop speak to the priests of the Cathedral about this and give them orthodox Catholic instruction. I’m sorry if I seem to be overstepping my bounds as a simple parishioner, but I will not drop this subject until I’ve been given assurances that some action has been taken to deal with this. I’m extremely worried about the kind of instruction others are getting. This kind of thing can do serious harm to so many people. To confirm someone in their sin is to commit a real violence against them.

Thank you,
(my name)
%between%


#12

Dauphin,

You are to be commended for notifying your Bishop of this grave matter.

You are absolutely correct that erroneous ideas such as these can do harm to many people.

God bless you.


#13

Thank you.:slight_smile:


#14

Just the fact that you were *confessing *it should have made the priest aware that you knew it was a sin! :mad:


#15

That’s just the thing. He knew I was aware, and was trying to ‘correct’ my ‘error’.:banghead:


#16

Good that you made the bishop aware of this. This type of misinformation can cause people to develop long-term sinful habits which can become extremely difficult to break.


#17

The problem here is that even Priests, who, through their education in philosophy and the Natural Law should know better. Your confessor failed to acknowledge that the Church STILL holds that the sin, objectively taken in itself, IS grave matter.

The degree of subjective culpability may vary in respect of the individual circumstances, such as whether or not one knows it is grave matter, and possibly the impaired freedom of choice that might result from addiction or mental incompetence.

Even it it were not a mortal sin because of the subjective factors, as **objectively grave matter **it certainly merits a mention in the confessional.

Find a good priest. And maybe send this guy a little essay on the subject.


#18

I just completed my RCIA instruction in April and the church has not changed its stance on sex of any kind outside of marriage. There are certain sex acts allowed between husband and wife and none are considered acceptable outside of marriage.

In fact, I had a discussion in confession about sexual thoughts. I was still trying to understand when those thoughts crossed the line. Father said that it’s normal to think about sex and that he thinks about it also. However, he said it’s not okay to think about the actual act and to imagine or fantasize about it with someone. So, if you cannot even think about completing the act with anyone but your spouse, then masturbation would also fall under this category. It’s the same for gays. You can be gay and receive communion unless you are a practicing homosexual because then you are not with your spouse. The same goes for hetero couples who cohabit.

I’ve also never heard that mortal sin is rare. Why are there always lines at my church for confession then?


#19

I’m going to go Ask an Apologist or look it up in the CCC, but I thought the seal of the confessional applied to the penitent (the one who comes to confess) as well as to the priest. I remember reading that somewhere.

Shocking, although not so much anymore : ( that priests do not know their faith or practice it. I think another Reformation is on the way, via Theology of the Body!

God bless,
Mimi


#20

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=92306&highlight=seal+of+the+confessional

I am mistaken!

:blush:


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