Does the CC accept self-mortification as an acceptable penance for a 16 year old? thanks.


My understanding is that corporal mortification is generally frowned on, but permitted under the guidance of a spiritual director (confessor). I doubt many priests would recommend corporal penance for someone as young as this.


What brockmac said. Corporal mortification only with direction. He can do other kinds of self-mortification like giving up video games for a period, and overall attitude things like not grumbling about doing scut work and uniting sufferings with Christ. Someone can probably recommend a good book on that.


no, to be honest, I was kinda talking about, like, hitting myself with a belt on the back- I really feel like I deserve that for what I’ve just done. I hope I get punished somehow- cause I really deserve it.


You are better off going to Confession and receiving God’s forgiveness, and then let the priest give you a penance. And then don’t dwell on the sin any more, just try not to do it again.


I think you should talk to a priest about this! Whatever you have done, you are forgiven, and if you’ve gone to confession, you’ve been absolved. There are many ways to grow in humility and other virtues than beating yourself. Fasting, giving time/talent/treasure. It’s hard to tell from your post, but do you have any doubts about God’s mercy and the penance given during confession being enough? You might research scruples.


I cannot go to confession. I have only received the ‘baptism of desire’. But, long story short, I cannot legally get baptised until I’m 18 (I’m thinking about priesthood). So in that light, what should I do? I can;'t really receive forgiveness. Normally, when I sin I say to God, “In light of my future baptism and consequent confession, please forgive me Lord, I am nothing but a dirty sinner.” Does this suffice, should I do more? I really wish and pray that I could be baptsied, but I can’t- that’s just the way it is.


But, long story short, I cannot legally get baptised until I’m 18 (I’m thinking about priesthood).

I’m baffled. I’ve never heard of being required to wait for baptism. Is there some parent/child rule I am not aware of? :confused:


Ya, I know, it’s a baffling situation. But true- and it puts me in a really awkward position.


It sounds like you are truly contrite. God knows your heart. If you are planning on confessing once able to, even if you die tomorrow God will take that into account. Take relief in God’s mercy. This is the act of contrition, which we say after confessing to a priest.

O my God,
I am heartily sorry for
having offended Thee,
and I detest all my sins,
because I dread the loss of heaven,
and the pains of hell;
but most of all because
they offend Thee, my God,
Who are all good and
deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve,
with the help of Thy grace,
to confess my sins,
to do penance,
to avoid the near occasion of sin,
and to amend my life.

Carefully read it and pray it with the intent to follow through with what it says (amending your life so as not to sin again). You will still need to confess someday, but take peace in knowing you have God’s love and mercy. God knows we will slip up. Mother Angelica says, what leads a person to a Holy life is picking yourself up after you sin and growing from it. It is a gift from God that you feel sorry for your sins and wish to repent. I will keep you in my prayers :slight_smile:


You might not be able to go to confession but still you might want to talk to a priest. Nothing is hopeless. Perhaps with GUIDANCE and I stress the word GUIDANCE you can make some sort of amends to the person you harmed if that is the case.


I still having a difficult time believing he can’t be baptized if he requests it. Can anyone enlighten?


I didn’t harm a person, I, I don’t know how to say this- let’s leave it at this- I offended God greatly, greatly.


Find a compassionate priest or someone you can trust (perhaps a Christian or Catholic Therapist - your local Catholic Church can quide you to a competant advisor to give you guidance). We all have “offended God, greatly, greatly” You do not need to deal with this guilt alone and I strongly advice you not to punish yourself in any way.

This coming Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday. Even if you are not baptised you can go to Mass and pray for God’s Divine Mercy.


I want to add:

It is possible that the most difficult teaching that non-Christians encounter is the belief and knowledge, that God does love all His children and has infinite Divine Mercy and forgiveness for all of us.


Oh, maybe I’ve mislead you. I do go to mass and study Church doctrine- it probably makes up the greater part of my life- I just REALLY, REALLY hate it when I do this particular sin because it feels, to me, as if I;ve given right in to Satan. The sin is outlined in section 2352 of the Catechism.


It’s my understanding that young people under a certain age cannot be baptised without their parent’s consent. I thought the age was 16, but in view of the OP’s post, maybe it’s 18, when they become legal adults…


No, that’s not the reason. I can;t because my Children’s Aid says that I can’t till I’m 18.


I used to use corporal punishment on myself I stopped thought because I eventually realized that it was becoming destructive in and of itself. Our bodies are often the tools most available to us for self discipline on many levels so some times self-mortification can seem an almost natural thing.

Here is what I found though. Often the level of contrition that makes corporal punishment desirable can become a form of self hatred. I hated the things I did wrong so much that I grew to hate myself for falling prey to them. I wanted hurt and punish myself for these failings. During this time I worked with street kids who were into drugs, prostitution and self mutilation. Eventually, though I realized I was just like them. I viewed it through a lens of self piety but in the end I simply found myself unworthy and unlovable.

Humility and contrition are beautiful things but as Solomon said there is a time and place for everything and even these things can be taken out of season. If there was a flower in your yard and you knew beyond all doubt that God loved that that flower would you cut it or stomp on it? Of course not you love God so you love what he loves and you would cherish the flower.

Now, I don’t know your situation so I’m not trying to pry in or say what you’re feeling is the same as what happened to me. Maybe you’re in a totally different place in life. I’m just telling you my experiences in case they do sound familiar to you and/or as warning to be careful with this line.

The other posters have given you good advice talk to your priest and pray a lot which I’m sure you do, and try to not only embrace the love and awe you feel for God but accept the love and grace that He has for you.

God bless and take care.


give Caesar his due, but pay back to God what belongs to God. Anyone who requests baptism can be baptized it does not have to be an elaborate ceremony, it can be just you and a priest and some water. How would anyone know unless you told them? You need to speak to a priest about a few things—baptism, scrupulosity, and emotional balance in your life. No one can stop you from making an appointment and speaking to a priest!

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