Understanding the churches teaching on masturbation

Hello. I am told by my local priest that masturbation is not a big sin and not to worry about it. how am I to understand this teaching of the church? is there exceptions to the rule or something? I’ve read in the catechism different to what the priest told me. so whats goin on? I’d love some clarity on the issue.

I’m fairly certain a priest wouldn’t give you tacit permission to do it, if that’s what you’re hoping for.

I’m not hoping to indulge in any sin big or small, the only thing I hope for is an answer to my question. :thumbsup:

In that case, I’ll just do this :popcorn: and watch the responses. :smiley:

It is my understanding that masturbation is grave matter. If done with a free will and with full knowledge, it would be a mortal sin, a big sin.

However, the will of someone who is habituated or addicted or as it were enslaved to such a sin may no longer be entirely free and so for him it may no longer be a mortal sin, but it would still be a venial sin.

The catechism of the Catholic Church states masturbation is a mortal sin. It is a gravely disordered use of the organs God gave only to be used by a husband and wife to create children. It is breaking of the commandment not to have intercourse outside of marriage. Not to commit adultery also means not to masturbate -individually doing what a husband and wife do to create children. If you die in a state of mortal sin unconfessed, or unrepented (if you could not get to confession before you died), then you cannot get into heaven. The Catholic Church teaches dying in a state of mortal sin unrepented means you end up in hell for all eternity.)

Also pornograpjy is a mortal sin, to look at another person deliberately impurely is a mortal sin. Jesus said ‘Whoever looks at a woman lustfully (completely deliberately entertaining evil thoughts) has already committed adultery with her in his heart.’ And many of the photos in the modern media, the fashion, the books, films , and tv programmes are filled with pornographic content. Our Lady of Fatima said: ‘More souls go to hell for sins of the flesh than for any other sin.’ I read of a deliverance person saying that the demon of pornography is a very powerful evil spirit.

No judgement on any priests but a priest can be misinformed. If it’s in Catholic Church teaching, in the catechism, it cannot be changed by any priest, we all have to be obedient to God’s law. We cannot make up our own rules and pick and choose the commandments we want. Masturbation is a mortal sin that cuts one off from god’s grace, meaning you cannot receive communion until you confess, and if you die unconfessed/ unrepented you end up in Hell. Every mortal sin leaves a scar on the soul, some which leave addictions/ passions/ desires/ obsessions/ habits/ cravings/ thoughts/ temptations -that may not heal! Eg: an alcoholic or drug addict has to always keep up a guard against the sin that ensnared them.
Masturbation can leave impure lustful tendencies on the soul. You can reach complete healing. It has to be done through confession, discipline, and prayer. some priests may not have been taught the official church teachings in seminar. Did not Jesus say in the bible; ‘If the blind leads the blind will they both not fall into a pit? (Into hell).’ And ‘My people perish (end up in hell) because of lack of knowledge (ignorance of the church’s laws).’

Also: I cannot judge any clergy person who teaches incorrect teachings, as Jesus said in the bible, ‘The judgement you judge will be the judgement measured back upon you.’

Yeah, that’s ALL WRONG. The catechism doesn’t define any “mortal sins”. It defines grave matter. See post above this incorrect one for the correct answer. “Sin” involves a subjective element. The mere commission of ANY act without the requisite intent is not a mortal sin.

This reply is in line with what I’ve read about this topic. The whole issue of addiction is troubling to me. I don’t want to hijack this thread so I might post a topic about addiction and “grave matter” or “mortal sins” in a new thread.

Yes remember here in this one there is many culpability issues. Loneliness and habit. Wrong attitudes toward women. It is best to confess this and go to Mass and pray to the holy spirit. That helps me much. I struggle with this problem too. But generally speaking no it is not normal and considered “grave matter”.


And someone can not be in their right mind. In a suicide for example. Free will and full knowledge and consent is questionable. So in the Masturbation issue.


It is certainly a shame when one cannot rely on a parish priest for solid information on sexual morals, divorce and remarriage, and many of the other issues that we face in our everyday lives.

Catholic teaching on masturbation

Masturbation is objectively a serious sin, that is a mortal sin. For many, particularly in youth, it is a difficult sin to master, particularly in today’s world of flagrant sexual display and loose morality.

Catholic moral theology acknowledges that certain conditions may reduce our responsibility for committing this sin, but sins still harm us and we have a responsibility to seek help and diligently strive to overcome them.

The Lord is patient and merciful. He desperately wants to free us from the slavery of sin. But we have to do our part, too.

A competent priest (obviously NOT the one you consulted) who supports the Church’s sexual morality and teaching on masturbation can be of great help as spiritual counsel.

Grave matter is mortal sin.

Sure it describes the mortal sins with the words ‘grave matter.’

So pornography, adultery, homosexuality, are not mortal sins? It says in the bible ‘the unchaste, the impure, the homosexuals, … will not enter the kingdom of heaven.’ God’s word. Mortal sin excludes one from entering Heaven.

Hello Friend, I understand your reference to church teaching,

I understand the point on deliberate, full knowledge, free will intent being necessary to make something a mortal sin, but because ‘the Law of God is written on our hearts’ (as God said to Moses in the Bible) and that all people have the Holy Spirit, a conscience and a guardian angel, have possibly grown up in the catholic or christian faith and maybe taught well in catholic values, -I myself would wonder how many are accountable or not for being in mortal sin? I do not know. Better safe than sorry for anyone involved in these sins: confess, and if you have read this post you now know it is Grave matter and can no longer participate in this sin without it being mortal. People who are aetheists or other faiths could be in mortal sin then of

Mortal sin is if something is ‘grave matter’ (which masturbation is), free will (deliberate, not an accident, which this sin generally is) and full knowledge (committing the sin while knowing it’s a mortal sin, or even just knowing it’s a sin, or even knowing masturbation is seriously morally impurely wrong. St Ignatius of Loyola wrote that deliberate venial sins can be mortal sins depending subjectively). Is it worth missing out on the eternal joy of Heaven?
Grave matter -It’s so subjective that no one should sin in grave matter, and should confess it for fear of it being mortal sin.

I would tend to believe that nearly always unless someone is ignorant of the truth, it was an accident, or not on purpose, :pornography, adultery, homosexuality, are not mortal sins? It says in the bible ‘the unchaste, the impure, the homosexuals, … will not enter the kingdom of heaven.’ God’s word. Mortal sin excludes one from entering Heaven.

I’m not judging anyone bound in these sins. I cannot judge anyone I do not know their life story.

I would argue that it could be very difficult to commit masturbation, pornography, adultery, homosexual relations without ending in mortal sin? Or without the acts themselves being mortal sin if a person is deliberate and has a good teaching/ upbringing in morals or catholic teaching?

Thank you all for the replies.

The morality of an intrinsically wrong act, such as masturbation, is an “absolute” matter - that is, there ought not to be varying opinions among properly informed persons. The Catechism states that it is a grave matter, and that is correct. Always correct.

There is a separate matter which is the culpability for the act that an individual bears. That is a matter for God to judge.

We do well not to count on God judging us as having reduced culpability, but rather to at all times do our best and to seek forgiveness through reconciliation if we fail.

Perhaps your priest is advising you not to “worry” that you have, or may, succumb? But I am sure he would endorse the advice in the last paragraph.

Actually there is a little more to mortal sin than Grave matter. That’s just a start. In my CCC §§ 1849-64. 1859 and 60 can’t be forgotten.


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