Is masturbation a Mortal Sin??
Yes, yes it is.
*It’s always grave matter, but not always a mortal sin.
For a mortal sin to occur, three things must be present:
- Grave matter
- Sufficient reflection
- Full consent to commit the sin
So, while it is always considered grave matter, it is not always mortally sinful. Best to have a consulation with one’s priest, to discuss in further detail, and get a better sense of where you stand with this particular sin. When in doubt, always turn to confession! God bless.*
My question is by what standard is it a sin? Is it a sin because it is spilling seed, or because it involves “lusting in one’s heart”. I have always taken it to be the latter, but in discussions of this on Catholic Answers, this issue of lusting in one’s heart has not been brought up.
Secondly, the issue of proper reflection is very tricky. If one, for example, succombs to lust, has one really been blinded by the lust, and thus incapable of reflection? Is one wilfully ignoring the promptings of conscience? Or is one going into sin with full knowlege and relying on confession and absolution later?
I don’t think the answer is the same for each person. But I think it a bad and evil thing to imagine that when you feel the promptings of lust, you can chalk up anything you do to lack of proper reflection, temporary lack of awareness of sin. I don’t think God is amused.
*Agreed, but it would stand to reason, that if one lies to himself, the answer will be what he wants to hear. :o Better to be completely honest with one’s self, what might draw someone to lust in the first place…and of course, go to confession often, to rid one’s self of this sin, if it happens to take hold in his/her life. [But, masturbation is always deemed grave sin, one’s *culpability however, is affected by a few instances, habit, maturity, addiction, mental state of mind, etc., as stated in the CCC.]
I think the ‘standard’ isn’t spilling seed or just lusting in one’s heart. I think it’s because it’s a misuse of our sexuality. This is God’s gift which enables us to express union and to bond with our spouse and it is through this that we allow life to come into the world. It is the church’s teaching that to misuse this in any way is objectively gravely sinful.
Masturbation is a normal expression of sexuality among many single persons. I recall how my Dad once said that “90% of teen boys will admit to it, and the other 10% are liars.” That probably is an exaggeration, but it isn’t far from the truth. It is not to be encouraged, perhaps, but making such normal behavior a sin is silly. Too often the Church comes across as anti-sex even if it doesn’t mean to. For example, the whole notion of ‘purity’ is tied to sex in church parlance. There is nothing necessarily impure about sex. Obviously, active sexuality is not to be encouraged among our youth, and our culture is badly flawed in this respect. The media is a damaging influence. But the other extreme is wrong, too. My father always emphasized that sex is a gift from God, a reason for gratitude and celebration, but not to be misused.
The Catholic emphasis upon celibacy among priests and nuns adds to the impression that there is something less than 'pure' about sex. Actually, I have always felt badly for them because they do not have a wonderful experiences associated with marital sex. I believe there would be less sex scandal in the church if the clergy were permitted to marry if they chose to. And even consider the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. It's as though sin is involved with conception, which, of course, is ridiculous. Conception is another of the great gifts of God. It appears to me that Catholicism has an inner conflict when it comes to sex. On the one hand, official documents seem to sanctify marital sex, amd large families appear to be encouraged by the prohibition of artificial birth control (a prohibition ignored by most Catholic couples). On the other hand, the church assigns a higher value to virginity, identifies 'purity' with abstention from sex, etc. In my book of saints, nearly every female saint is first identified as 'virgin'. Sexual promiscuity is morally wrong as well as dangerous in these times of rampant sexually transmitted diseases. We also, of course, have way too many births to single mothers, a major source both of poverty and crime. But to make an issue out of masturbation when other concerns are so much more serious is a mistake. In fact, masturbation sometimes serves as a hedge against irresponsible sexual relations that lead to injury both to others and to oneself. God bless the whole world - no exceptions.
The problem with masturbation, is that it turns a person inward. To seek gratification in such a way, without mitigating circumstances (habit, addiction, maturity, etc) is turning one inward, and thus, it takes a person out of the design of God’s plan for sexuality. Just because something ‘feels good,’ doesn’t mean it is a moral good. Something can feel natural, or very good…or even have health benefits…but it doesn’t mean it IS morally good. Also, masturbation can never provide anything but fleeting pleasure. It doesn’t unite anyone…it doesn’t cause procreation to occur. If we use our sex organs in ways that don’t produce the fruits that God would like for them to produce, then who is in the wrong…us or God? Us most definitely! :o
Do I think that any of us can judge another person regarding sexual sin? Not really, it is between the person and God, but when we look at God’s word…His design for sex is for it to be ordered for a married couple to procreate with and unite to each other. If we look at a non-married couple, why wouldn’t sex be ‘ok’ for them to do then, going with your line of thinking? If sex outside of marriage is not ok, why would masturabation be ok? Both acts are outside of marriage…*
There is no question that sin, falling short of the glory of God, is the lot of humankind. While I am aware of the apparent contradictions with regard to the Roman Church’s encouraging chastity and fertility at once, I don’t see that as a problem. The problem is that we live in a world where sexuality is in your face no matter where you go. I could personally attest to the seductive way our society makes us think that pleasure is its own reward, but I won’t.
When we read St. Paul’s lamentations over his own sins, we can conclude that they were the habitual sins that we all face. His lamentations were real, his fear for his own salvation equally real. We have no less than St. Paul as an example of a repentant sinner, seeking God’s pardon. We need to get our minds off of sex, and onto God’s grace, mercy and His plan for us.
Uhm, yeah, you obviously have no idea what the Immaculate Conception is.
**The Immaculate Conception
** **490 **To become the mother of the Savior, Mary “was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role.” The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as “full of grace”. In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God’s grace.
491 Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:
*] The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.
492 The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son”. The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love”.
493 The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God “the All-Holy” (Panagia), and celebrate her as “free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature”. By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.
I agree with this and as a former Protestant, I have to say that this is generallly the Protestant view as well, so Roys response is not representative
You have no idea of this subject either. The sex scandals among protestant clergy is higher than among Catholic Priests…you just don’t hear about them in the MSM as much because of the whole anti-Catholic attitude in the MSM.
peace be to you
I just have to respond to this whole thread, particularly this post, because the church is very clear about these matters in teaching and practice. Someone correct me if I am wrong (by Church teaching), I am going to address my understanding of masturbation in particular and address some of the issues surrounding sex made here:
Sex is not a sin (quite the contrary), BUT only if sexual practices lead to a chance for conception AND it is a unitive act between a man and a woman
Masturbation is wrong because it is fails on both counts, ie there is no chance for conception AND it is not unitive
Masturbation is always grave matter, whether it is mortal is limited by circumstances defined by the Catechism AND by the judgment of the priest in turn (remember the authority of the Magisterium to bind and loose sin given by Christ)
The Church doesn’t come across as anti-sex, in fact, Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body goes into (sometimes excruciating) detail about this; our bodies our outward signs of God’s spiritual relationship with man and the Church. The joining between the Church(the Bride) and Christ (the Bridegroom) is mirrored in the male/female dyad that “forms one flesh” and also in the father/son and generation of the Holy Spirit.
Sex is ANYTHING but wrong, in fact the only issue is our misuse of our sexual capacities that don’t reflect these relationships that is the issue. I can’t disagree enough that the Church sounds anti-sexual, but it does take the fact that the Sacrament of marriage has sex (the Marital embrace ie sex is the outward sign) very seriously and doesn’t back down on this point.
Marriage with sex and the responsibilities of raising children is a vocation in the Church. Likewise, celibacy by nuns and priest/monks(the Bride), etc is a different vocation from family, where one is joined to Christ (Bridegroom again) - don’t feel “bad” for them, truthfully I believe most get over sexual desire and move onto a bliss that a closer union with God makes possible that quite frankly makes human love and sex pale in comparison.
As a side-note homosexuality is a condition due to the impact of sin on our material world (degrading the Creation and twisting it), and a special cross to bear for those it applies to; and it also fails the test of creative and unitary functions and this is why it is rejected.
And lastly I have to take issue particularly with this statement:
“But to make an issue out of masturbation when other concerns are so much more serious is a mistake. In fact, masturbation sometimes serves as a hedge against irresponsible sexual relations that lead to injury both to others and to oneself.”
This could not be further from the truth, masturbation rejects both our spiritual makeup that engender us towards the opposite sex and tends to make one less likely to pursue relationships by focusing inwards, not to mention decreasing or making impossible a move to holiness by focusing on impure thoughts, and ultimately defying God by not utilizing our sexuality within His intent for us. Masturbation, if you have been exposed to Church teaching (heh you have now) and essentially aren’t suffering some true psychosis, is nothing short of a mortal sin that could land you in the hot place if you are unlucky enough to die with it on your soul. Sorry, but to me that makes it a very serious concern for all involved.
Not trying to jump down your throat, but I want to make sure that folks know that sex is anything but wrong in the Church’s eyes, but also that there are very well thought-out statements by the Church on it’s handling of these matters.
In our sex-obsessed culture these days every Catholic should get familiar with the JPII’s Theology of the Body to understand these issues. I guarantee you that will have a much deeper appreciation of sex, and respect for it, not to mention putting almost all these questions to bed (no pun intended).;):
Just can't let your statement go unchallenged. There has been sexual scandal among Protestant clergy, of course, as in every profession. Most of this, frankly, occurs among what might be called self-proclaimed, peripheral clergy who do not belong to any of the major denominations. What I mean is, since there are all sorts of 'ministers', many of them virtually uneducated who start their own churches, some even basically fraudulent, I do not regard these as legitimate clergy. I recall 'Catholic priests' in places like Haiti and Africa who simulatenously practice voodoo and have a wife or two or more. This is point 1. But when the Boston Globe first brought forward the sexual problem among Catholic clergy in the Boston area, the investigatory crew looked into Protestant clergy in that same area. They concluded that the incidence among Protestants was much lower than among Catholic clergy. Neither tradition, however, has been spared the scandal entirely. Nearly every Protestant clergyperson I know is married, and I do believe that this provides a normal and healthy outlet for God-given sexuality. Also, I always have felt badly for Catholic clergy, not only because they are deprived of life mates and children, but also because so many of them can become quite lonely. "It is not good for man to be alone" - Genesis. It seems that today few parishes have several priests as they did when I was a child. I know a number of priests who did marry, one of them (a friend) who married the principal of the parochial school of his parish. His only regret is that he didn't do this earlier. So often priests are ordained very young and later can feel boxed in. This lifestyle certainly is one reason so few young men are attracted to the priesthood today - and so many have left, too. Celibacy also is a factor in attracting gays to the priesthood. Many hope that this will conquer and abolish their same-sex attraction. And no one is going to ask them why they haven't married. And it has been one of few professions in which gays could serve and win respect, which has been in the past especially difficult for gays. It appears that gay priests have been more involved in sexual scandal than heterosexual ones. I could go on about this (and teenage victims) but have said enough. But, God bless everyone, of every creed and color and country. Christ is our one Lord, and faith in him should serve as a bridge and not a barrier. So many of the posters here - traditional Catholics - remind me of Protestant fundamentalists. They insist upon one way and only one way, and every other way is wrong.
Challenging me with your simple opinions means little…the facts speak for themselves. See this article heavily referenced for your further research:
And read the entire book by a non-Catholic researcher on the subject here:
As to your claim that there are priests in africa and haiti with multiple wives and practicing voodoo, I have no clue what that has to do with this issue…and if these claims are true, these men are living in complete opposition to Catholic teaching. :shrug:
Claiming innocence when rightly accused of wrongdoing is a normal way of avoiding the unpleasant negative consequences of bad behavior. “90% of human beings have lied to get out of trouble and the other 10% aren’t telling the truth about it.” It’s not be encouraged perhaps, but making such normal behavior a sin is silly.
I see, the bad actors on “your side” aren’t really on your team. My team, however, despite having a definite list of ordained men, is represented by anybody you can “recall”
Sometimes Masturbation and pornography is a good thing!
My friend and his wife could not conceive the “normal” way, so they sought help. At the fertility hosp. his wife was in sturr-ups while they directed him to a room to extract his seed. He didn’t pray for it to come out, he actually had to masturbate (scandelous, i know). Also in the room was a bunch of pornography to help him with the process.
And, on a side note. Another friend is a vet, and when going to vet school, all the students had to masturbate a dog in their class. In the world of breeding large/expensive or aggressive animals, animal doctors will do this to help protect the the female animal and then artificially inseminate.
With regard to masturbation for later fertilization, I suppose some exception to the general disapproval may be in order. Best to consult a priest, as this is a very peculiar situation, and not one to be made an example of.
With regard to the porn used to help in the extraction, the end does not justify the means, methinks.
With regard to the dog: thank you ever so much for sharing this story. It helped me clarify my thinking about canine artificial insemination. Actually, I had never thought of it before.
You should hear the story about how they had to get a sample from a 4,000lb bull. I’ll give you a hint: it involved a vibrating plug with a speed dial attached to it and a bucket. Working as a vet in farm country is interesting to say the least.