Hello members. I’m a bit conflicted with a recent confession experience I had.
Background: I am currently addicted to masturbation, and attend confession almost every week because of it. Recently, my usual priest said not to worry about it too much, and that it isn’t very serious, implying that I don’t need to confess as often as I do.
So this priest seems to believe that (at least in my case) my sin is not mortal. While I would be inclined to agree since full consent probably isn’t there, I tend to be extremely cautious around any grave sin, just in case.
So now I’m wondering: Is it okay to take the guy’s word for it? Can I occasionally miss confession and still safely receive communion? Am I being borderline scrupulous? Or should I continue to take this as seriously as I do?
The common advice you see here, which is excellent advice, is to talk to your confessor and trust what he says. This is all the more important for someone with scruples. He is in a much better position to guide you than random strangers on the internet.
A difficult issue, which many suffer with. The state of chastity is a blessed state, and I would say impossible to achieve without God’s grace. It is not just the physical act, but what may go alongside that may cause harm to spiritual progress, eg lust, pornography, degradation to our internal imagery of men and women, spiritual isolation during the act, guilt, self recriminations and so on, so I can fully sympathise with your concerns.
More benefit may be gained by praying for and valuing the grace of chastity, and while it may take some time and perseverance, alongside continued prayer before God grants the fullness of a chaste life, it is no small reward when recieved, and worth thanking God that it may continue to last.
I pray that you continue to aspire to such a state with perseverance and taking comfort and strength that God’s grace is sufficient to enter and abide within chastity.
Just to add further to my comments, your priest sees far more of you than we do, not that we can’t offer a response, but his response would be far fuller than ours.
Would try not to see him as just another guy, especially when in confession, as confession is a sacrament and a profound meeting with God, like receiving the Eucharist which you rightly value highly. Both of these sacraments impart to you many graces, which we need to cooperate with to receive full benefit. Would like to what your priest says more as instruction than advice.
Sometimes what we are told by a priest in confession feels counterintuitive but I’ve found in those cases it was my intuition being in error, not the instructions recieved in the sacrament. Remember your priest is the one charged with the welfare of the souls in his parish.
There are ways in which some sins have lesser gravity. For instance, with the sin you speak of now, it can be a psychological hang up if a person is suffering extreme depression, therefore the culpability is lessened.. however, still not good in any way shape or form, but this may be why the priest is trying to unravel the pressure that you feel- which might be causing more harm than good toward real conversion and transformation. Remember, God is not trying to trick you or damn you. God is trying to help you. God loves you. I wouldn't take it as if the priest is saying its not a mortal sin though. We don't know your life or what was said in confession to the priest. If you have questions or concerns about it, please go back to the priest to ask.
Why are you asking US if its ok for your to receive Holy Communion? Receiving Holy Communion is personal- between you and God. >>>>>** Read the chapter Romans 14. **<<<<<
Catechism of the Catholic Church
2352 - By masturbation is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the genital organ in order to derive sexual pleasure. “Both the Magesterium 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.”
To form an equitable judgment about the subjects’ moral responsibility and to guide pastoral action, one must take into account the affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety, or other psychological or social factors that lessen or even extenuate moral culpability.
The above is taken directly taken from the Catechism, which was written first for the clergy to guide their pastoral actions. Yes the Church recognizes the gravity of the action, but also recognizes those fallible conditions of human weakness that affect the actions of a given individual.
My guess is that your priest is drawing on this teaching of the Magesterium in an effort to guide you. Don’t discount his advice, and if it causes you further concern, talk to him about it.
An addiction is serious. It can affect your relationships, employment etc. it means you do not have control over when and where you engage in the act.
Please on top of spiritual guidance, seek professional mental health help.
Thanks so far. Judging by the responses, accepting any advice given by a priest is recommended, and I should go back to ask for clarification.
It isn’t that I trust people on the internet above a priest. My intended question was more a general one, ie: Can an individual priest’s judgement be entrusted without worrying? My exact personal situation isn’t relevant to my main question, and was only provided for context.
Why are you asking US if its ok for your to receive Holy Communion? Receiving Holy Communion is personal- between you and God. >>>>> Read the chapter Romans 14.
I think I see where you’re coming from. But again, this question was a general one, probably better phrased as: Is it ever okay to receive communion without confessing a sin that, by default, is a grave sin (particularly if a priest has deemed it okay)?
Not second guessing your confessor, just going by what you’ve said,
If you freely choose to do something that you know the Catholic Church teaches as mortal, and then you do it freely, then by doing it freely, you gave your consent fully to do it. Otherwise you wouldn’t have done it in the first place…right? There is no mystery here.
But let’s play an absurd what if, to make a point
What if habit, in committing any mortal sin, eliminated one’s personal fault for committing that mortal sin?. Not saying it does, just making this a what if
Then the natural result from that, given the fallen nature of man, all one has to do then, is commit the mortal sin (of choice) as much as possible to develop a habit in that sin, in order to lessen or even eliminate any personal fault for committing any particular mortal sin…right?
Yeah, I know, pretty absurd…right?
If anything, people are far too lax when it comes to looking at themselves and their sins. It’s probably why Jesus made the following warning.
You already know, one is NOT to receive communion knowing they are in mortal sin
Scrupulous for example, would be to constantly make what is a venial sin into a mortal sin. Or constantly make something that is not a sin into sin or even a mortal sin. IOW scrupulosity tends to over exaggerate
I don’t see you doing that.
It’s a mortal sin. I see you taking a diligent and responsible action to rid yourself of the sin
That said, If you don’t have the same confidence in your confessor, find a new confessor.
^This was essentially my position at the time of posting. Worst case scenario, it is in fact a completely mortal sin - and thus, I should continue to confess weekly and skip communion if I missed confession. And I should confess elsewhere if necessary.
However, most respondents seem to be siding with the priest’s intuition.
Alright, well I had a chance to ask for clarification earlier this evening. Those who recommended personally questioning my misunderstandings, thank you. The implications I had perceived turned out to be correct. And thanks everyone else for your support. If you could, please pray my spiritual well-being if you have a moment.
I think masturbation is a tricky one, because it’s so often mitigated by force of habit. (I’m pretty sure it’s the only place in the catechism where the church specifically stresses the possibility of mitigation). Sounds like in your case the priest has determined that it’s venial.
You just need to be very careful not to let yourself think “oh, it’s venial, I’m fine”. You still need to making a sincere effort to cut out this bad habit. Good luck: in our over sexualized culture, this is an issue that a ton of Catholic men (and some women) struggle with.
I hope you read this reply. I too struggle with masturbation and have been addicted to it since the age of 9. I am female and my gender makes it that much harder to find good advice, since most recovery tips are male-oriented. I go to confession up to five times a week and it is bordering on the ridiculous. I completely understand how much you want to receive communion and how hard it is to abstain from receiving while everybody else trots up to the altar without a care in the world.
If I had a dime for every priest who told me that it is OK to receive Communion with the sin of masturbation on my soul, I could afford to enroll in one of those expensive addiction recovery programs. Many people on here will tell you that your priest is right. If he is your confessor, that is, if you have been going to him for years and he knows you well, then I would make an appointment with him outside of confession and further discuss your concerns. Masturbation is indeed grave matter, but receiving the Holy Eucharist in a state of mortal sin is even graver matter.
With that being said, I strongly encourage you to examine the motives behind your masturbation problem. Are you doing everything you can to avoid masturbating? Are you taking colder, shorter showers? Are you not looking at porn and doing all you can to avoid it? Are you acting chastely with your significant other (if you have one?) Only if you are avoiding all occasions of sin can you justify receiving communion with masturbation on your soul. I get it; sometimes it just happens and you end up masturbating in your sleep, when you first wake up, or during some other circumstance that doesn’t have a direct trigger. But if you could have avoided the situation that let to you masturbating and chose not to, I would refrain from communion.
One final thing. Someone else on here mentioned that you probably shouldn’t be seeking the answers to such a serious question in an online forum. They are right–you have received a hodgepodge of answers that have probably made you even more confused. Talk to a good priest and use good judgement. And remember, you can still receive an ample amount of grace by making an act of spiritual communion if you cannot receive Jesus sacramentally. Jesus will reward you all the more for respecting Him in the Eucharist.
I can’t even begin to tell you how sorry I am to hear that.
Here’s one of those frightful passages in scripture RE: priests who give bad advice Hosea 4:6
"My people are destroyed for lackofknowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. "
Yet since masturbation is grave sin in itself, one then didn’t avoid*** all ***occasion of sin particularly mortal sin, therefore, one is NOT justified to receive communion without sacramental reconciliation
Pray very much to our Blessed Lady and carry a Rosary with you at ALL TIMES; even in the shower and to bed!
While the culpability is lessened, masturbation is as a NORM, Is a MORTAL sin. As SUCH you have a grave MORAL obligation not to make lite of this evil habit, and MUST endeavor, with the Help of God, to overcome it.
It would be advisable to meet with your Confessor and discuss whether or NOT you may receive Holy Communion. You’re showing PRUDENCE by asking:thumbsup: