When is masturbation a mortal sin?

You are absolutely correct. We can get lost in trying to “explain” things. The teachings of the Catholic Church are quite simple, actually, as is the beauty of her teachings. When one gets lost in explanations and intellectualizing (rationalizing, sometimes), we find ourselves in a murky grey area that sometimes can also become the insidious cancer of relativism. Not good.

Agreed. The catechism describes murder as a “grave sin”, but terms masturbation as a “gravely disordered action.” So is eating buggers for that matter, but probably not sinful. I find it quite confusing that most priests I’ve read on the subject consider it a venial sin while most lay-people emphatically consider it mortal. There would never be this type of differing opinions on murder, adultery, etc. which leads me to wonder if many of the priests out there who consider it venial may be right. It’s not a sin I’ve struggled with since becoming catholic until recently. I don’t know what to make of it. I had been attending mass several times during the week for the last 2 years, but the last several weeks it’s only been on Sundays so that I can go to confession with the assumption being it’s a mortal sin. It’s far too confusing to assume otherwise.

I would confess it regardless of whether you crossed the line into mortal sin or venial sin or any sin at all. The reason being is that it is something you struggle with and it can fall very easily into being a mortal sin. The devil hates humility. When we try to hide something, especially a weakness of ours, the devil will try and work on us all the more and the sin will grow. But the devil flees in front of humility! He is powerless in front of it. Confession means admitting we are weak, and Christ is the one who loves us in our weakness.

Tell the confessor this is a sin you are struggling with. He may be able to give you advice what to do in these temptations, and the grace of Confession will give you strength to resist.

So, you know it was wrong, and it is wrong, but; you didn’t freely choose to do it

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