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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: eternal damnation for a wank?
AffirmingCatholic
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I just watched a show in which a young man was agonizing over making a confession for masterbation. I know the RCC teaches this is a mortal sin, but honestly, does anyone really believe you'll burn in Hell for all eternity for having a wank?

[ 10. August 2007, 00:11: Message edited by: Duo Seraphim ]

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Ama, et fac quod vis

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Anglican_Brat
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I sometimes wonder that if the Vatican really enforced its rules concerning denying communion to all people engaged in mortal sin, how many people would exactly end up being allowed to receive the Holy Sacrament. If the statistics are to be believed, 90% of people masturbate regularly. As well, many couples use ABC. I'm guessing that if the Vatican actually took a hard line on its communion rules, it would only be Pope Benedict and a few of his close cardinals who would receive the Host.

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The Silent Acolyte

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And, are the odds twice as bad for having a reciprocating wank with a buddy?
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Geneviève

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And you can be certain Benedict and his cardinals never indulge because?

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Bullfrog.

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No. Frankly, if God is that kind of jerk, I'll have nothing to do with him.

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Some say that man is the root of all evil
Others say God's a drunkard for pain
Me, I believe that the Garden of Eden
Was burned to make way for a train. --Josh Ritter, Harrisburg

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Anglican_Brat
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quote:
Originally posted by DaisyM:
And you can be certain Benedict and his cardinals never indulge because?

Well I'm assuming that at least the Pope and his advisers follow the catechism faithfully. Thus saith the Catechism

2352 By masturbation is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. "Both the Magisterium 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."137 "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."

My advice is that if the Church doesn't want us engaging in mortal sin that it should set up a good match making service so that we can find our suitable spouses in an efficient manner and so obey Catholic teaching on sexuality in a faithful way.

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Geneviève

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Sounds to me like that young man may be (emphasis on "may") afflicted with scrupulosity. Most unpleasant for the sufferer.

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"Ineffable" defined: "I cannot and will not be effed with." (Courtesy of CCTooSweet in Running the Books)

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Jahlove
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quote:
Originally posted by bc_anglican:
quote:
Originally posted by DaisyM:
And you can be certain Benedict and his cardinals never indulge because?

Well I'm assuming that at least the Pope and his advisers follow the catechism faithfully. Thus saith the Catechism

2352 By masturbation is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. "Both the Magisterium 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."137 "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."

My advice is that if the Church doesn't want us engaging in mortal sin that it should set up a good match making service so that we can find our suitable spouses in an efficient manner and so obey Catholic teaching on sexuality in a faithful way.

Shall we just have the rest of para. 2352 beyond this cut-off -

2352 By masturbation is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. "Both the Magisterium 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."[137] "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."[138]
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.


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“Sing like no one's listening, love like you've never been hurt, dance like nobody's watching, and live like its heaven on earth.” - Mark Twain

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Cod
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I doubt the RCC really cares either. Its laws seem to be interpreted worldwide in Italian fashion, ie, they're standards to aim at if you feel like it.

I've never known of any local RC churches holding whist (should that be wrist?) drives to raise funds to tell us all what a bad thing shaking hands with the guv'nor is.

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"I fart in your general direction."
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Duo Seraphim
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quote:
Originally posted by Jahlove:

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.

Quite. It is far too simplistic to say that masturbation is a sin let alone a mortal sin, when the real position is actually far more nuanced than that.

Frankly, if they put me in charge of the taxonomy of sins, masturbation would be pretty low on the list. It just doesn't suggest that fundamental sundering from God through grave sin, persisting until death that says "mortal sin" to me.

For anyone to agonise about confessing to masturbation suggests either that their understanding of the sacrament of Reconciliation could do with some work or that there may be some issue of scruplosity
there.

Poor chap - he needs a sensible pragmatic parish priest, who's seen and heard it all, to take a reasonable and pastoral approach.

[ 22. June 2007, 04:01: Message edited by: Duo Seraphim ]

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Mere Nick
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quote:
Originally posted by AffirmingCatholic:
I just watched a show in which a young man was agonizing over making a confession for masterbation. I know the RCC teaches this is a mortal sin, but honestly, does anyone really believe you'll burn in Hell for all eternity for having a wank?

That's one of the great things about my job, no one comes into my office and tells me that they've been pulling their pud. Must be a real rough job hearing about such things.

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"Well that's it, boys. I've been redeemed. The preacher's done warshed away all my sins and transgressions. It's the straight and narrow from here on out, and heaven everlasting's my reward."
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Gareth
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Is there any Biblical authority for this particular rule?

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Anglican_Brat
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By convention, the story of Onan in Genesis is generally taken to condemn masturbation, even though most Bible scholars believe that Onan practiced coitus interruptus rather than masturbation.

Generally in terms of Roman Catholicism, the condemnation of masturbation arises from the general belief that sexuality is intrinsically tied to pro-creation. Any non-procreative sexual act, including oral and anal sex between heterosexual married couples, is immoral because it does not lead to procreation.

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babybear
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quote:
Originally posted by bc_anglican:
Any non-procreative sexual act, including oral and anal sex between heterosexual married couples, is immoral because it does not lead to procreation.

Where does this idea come from?
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Vikki Pollard
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I was at a house church in the Eighties where there was a 'Word' on this subject, and everyone who had sinned in this way was told to come forward for prayer for forgiveness.

And we did!! [Ultra confused]

My only comfort was, it did seem to be most of us... [Paranoid]

ETA I was taught that Onan's sin was related to not wanting his brother's inheritance to pass on to his own detriment, and that the masturbation slant is a total red herring. But then, the Church has always preferred to focus on sexual sin whilst certain people fill their coffers without being challenged.

[ 22. June 2007, 06:55: Message edited by: Vikki Pollard ]

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by babybear:
quote:
Originally posted by bc_anglican:
Any non-procreative sexual act, including oral and anal sex between heterosexual married couples, is immoral because it does not lead to procreation.

Where does this idea come from?
Frustrated celibate priests who are jealous of the fun other people might be having.

The doctrine of Mary's perpetual virginity also comes from this non-Biblical stable. Can't have her enjoying sex can we?

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daisymay

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quote:
Originally posted by Vikki Pollard:
I was at a house church in the Eighties where there was a 'Word' on this subject, and everyone who had sinned in this way was told to come forward for prayer for forgiveness.

And we did!! [Ultra confused]

My only comfort was, it did seem to be most of us... [Paranoid]

ETA I was taught that Onan's sin was related to not wanting his brother's inheritance to pass on to his own detriment, and that the masturbation slant is a total red herring. But then, the Church has always preferred to focus on sexual sin whilst certain people fill their coffers without being challenged.

Wow! I think our restoration house church was teaching (men!!!) that masturbation was an OK act! There was certainly discussion among our men, particularly the elders, but not the women - the "shepherds" must have been unaware that it happens in all genders.

Onan definitely wasn't masturbating according to the story, just trying to make sure he didn't produce a kid for the woman to inherit what he wanted. And what a mess he decided to make.
[Roll Eyes] And it's passed on over centuries.

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Robert Armin

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When the new Catechism came out (in the early 90s?) I remember a newspaper review that picked up on this. It claimed that masturbation was a more serious sin than violent revolution, according to the book. However, when I went to the Library and tried to check the claim, I couldn't find any evidence to back this up. Could anyone who knows their Catechism better than I do comment on this one way or the other?

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multipara
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There goes Mudfrog again: since when is women (Our Blessed Lady included) having sex synonymous with enjoying it?

It is salutary to remember that married clergy were the norm until the 11 th century (monks excepted) and that sexual incontinence was up there with all the other sins of self-indulgence.

Blessed is the woman whose male partner is both competent and considerate...

I have to say all that masturbation stuff went straight over my very well-catechised head. I didn't hear the word till I was 15 or so and when I checked out Cassell's New English Dictionary it gave 2 definitions :(1) the practice of self-abuse and (2) onanism. I asked my 16 year old sister ( oracle in residence) what self abuse was and she looked vague and said "Dunno-whipping yourself, maybe?"

I was fnally enlightened at 18 or 19 by a fellow medical student who was far cleverer and more wordly-wise than myself. He offered the suggestion that it all went back to ancient notions f fertility and he used the analogy of God as Great Phallus fertilising all and sundry and that to reject this (by whatever means) was contrary to the Divine Plan..

Well, it sounded good at the time.

m

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quod scripsi, scripsi

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Edward Green
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In my Evangelical days I tried everything. Including helpful scriptures on the ceiling above my bed. Never worked.

I had one friend who did manage to abstain. At a conference he once woke me in the middle of the night to pray with him for the sin on having had a wet dream.

What is the RC position on this?

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Yorick

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The RCC position on this should be to issue similarly reasonable laws which prevent equally natural and inevitable human activities, such as breathing and eating.

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این نیز بگذرد

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R.A.M.
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I'm not sure about the RC position, but many of the church fathers, saints and others agonised over wet dreams, or "Nocturnal emissions".

St Hugh of Lincoln suffered from them and had an understanding with a servant who would discretely and immediately dispose of the incriminating sheets.

I am pretty sure that Theodore's penitential goes pretty easy on them.

St Augustine generally assumed that they are a sign of our fallen nature, and to try and completely master our lust would be futile. I believe there was an understanding that a limited number of NE was unavoidable, but too many was a sign that you encouraged them.

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kentishmaid
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quote:
Originally posted by babybear:
quote:
Originally posted by bc_anglican:
Any non-procreative sexual act, including oral and anal sex between heterosexual married couples, is immoral because it does not lead to procreation.

Where does this idea come from?
I think (although I can't remember precisely) that it comes from Thomas Aquinas and his theory of Natural Law. (He also believed that it wasn't permissible for a woman to be on top during intercourse as some of the sperm might slip out).

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El Greco
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quote:
Originally posted by Real Ale Methodist:
I'm not sure about the RC position, but many of the church fathers, saints and others agonised over wet dreams, or "Nocturnal emissions".

As far as I can tell, the Eastern tradition makes a distinction between wet dreams that are caused by our own sexual thoughts for women we are not supposed to have thoughts about during the day, and wet dreams that are caused by demons. In the first case we are to examine ourselves and have our issues resolved; in the latter case we aren't to pay any attention at all. In all cases, the emission itself is not sinful at all; all human fluids are part of God's good creation. It's what goes in our subconscious and unconscious that we are to examine as part of our spiritual journey.

I don't know if a third distinction has been made by the ancients, namely wet dreams that are part of man's physiology... But I don't know if they had such an understanding of human biology...

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El Greco
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
in the latter case we aren't to pay any attention at all.

The idea being that demons want to make you feel distressed and unworthy and prevent you through the uneasiness they create to approach God with a clear conscience. So, when it's not because of unresolved issues we have, we are blameless and we shouldn't get distracted by it.

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Ξέρω εγώ κάτι που μπορούσε, Καίσαρ, να σας σώσει.

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ken
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there is a neighbour of mine, a man of about my own age, whose wife left him and married someone else and had more children (as mine did me, though he isn't me) who says he has at least once been refused absolution by a priest here in England because he could not honestly say that he would not masturbate again and so was not truly penitent. But if ha had said it he'd have been lying because he knows perfetly well that like everybody else he probably will.

Seems specially harsh in that he (like me) is in a class of people the Roman church explicitly denies any morally good hope of sexual activity or normal family life to - because the only way to encompass such a thing would be to either imagine the death of the former spouse, or the break-up of their new family. I'm sure many divorced persons fantasise about both of those possible events, but I would have thought that dwelling on either of them was a much graver occasion of sin than sexual fantasies or masturbation.

Someone seems to be playing Bach on the radio [Biased] Or is is Mendelsohn channeling JSB....?

Some days you can see the point of Martin Luther.

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Cod
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I began attending church at fifteen years of age, by which time I'd been *ahem* for about two or three years. I think I tried a couple of times to abstain but I couldn't manage it.

Despite being a very zealous Christian at that age, I honestly thought that the possibility that masturbation was a serious sin was surely ridiculous. I could have subjected myself to a good deal of angst, and I'm very glad that I didn't.

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multipara
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Funny, isn't it, that all the agonisers on this thread have been male....

m

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quod scripsi, scripsi

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Yorick

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quote:
Originally posted by multipara:
Funny, isn't it, that all the agonisers on this thread have been male...

I'm not quite sure what you're implying here.

Are you saying that men are more likely to agonise over masturbation, or that women don't masturbate, or that women don't agonise over it, or that they don't post about their agonising over it? What?

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این نیز بگذرد

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Janine

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quote:
Originally posted by kentishmaid:
quote:
Originally posted by babybear:
quote:
Originally posted by bc_anglican:
Any non-procreative sexual act... is immoral because it does not lead to procreation.

Where does this idea come from?
I think... that it comes from Thomas Aquinas and his theory of Natural Law. (He also believed that it wasn't permissible for a woman to be on top during intercourse as some of the sperm might slip out).
Ol' Tommy was a virgin, then, was he? Nice.

Well, I mean, if he'd had any experience, he'd know there's no way to keep it in, be the woman up, down or sideways. Unless perhaps she were to lie stiffly still as a stick for, like, a month. With her hips canted way, way up.

Or, maybe, he did have some experience, but his ladylove had a vagina with an industrial-grade vacuum suction.

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Yorick

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quote:
Originally posted by Janine:
Or, maybe, he did have some experience, but his ladylove had a vagina with an industrial-grade vacuum suction.

Nah- I used to know a girl like that, and even she couldn't keep it in.

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این نیز بگذرد

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multipara
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dw. trust me, women don't give a rat's. There are 3 options: they don't masturbate, don't care or either of the above.

As for vacuum extraction;you are one of the profession so surely you know a that thoseof usin possession of vaginae bow to the superior ability of the Ventouse or suction curette,

What are you, a physician?

m

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quod scripsi, scripsi

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Yorick

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quote:
Originally posted by multipara:
... thoseof usin possession of vaginae...

Exactly how many vaginae do you actually have then?

[Big Grin]

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این نیز بگذرد

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IngoB

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quote:
Originally posted by dogwonderer:
The RCC position on this should be to issue similarly reasonable laws which prevent equally natural and inevitable human activities, such as breathing and eating.

Natural is a tricky word, but inevitable? I will die within minutes if I don't breathe and within weeks if I don't eat. But I will not die ever if I do not masturbate (well, I will die eventually, but not because I failed to masturbate). And yes, I speak from long-term experience: both of masturbating, and not.

There's another crucial difference. Although I do not have research to back this up (and googeling for this sort of info is too painful), I'm fairly certain that the large majority of men use "visual aids" (e.g., pornographic pictures) and/or sexual fantasies (often not involving only their regular partner in a manner she would enjoy) to stimulate themselves during masturbation. Sex happens in the brain, they say, and that's true for masturbation also. While I can masturbate myself to orgasm purely mechanically, without any external "input" or internal "thinking", that is not normal for me, and as far as one gets to know such things, for other men. Thus masturbation, at least for men, almost invariably involves more than a "genital sneeze". It's not mere biology, the mind is being engaged.

The RC position is that the purpose of sex, and hence of orgasm and for men ejaculation of semen, is the unity of flesh of husband and wife (in principle open to new life). Clearly, this is not the case in solitary masturbation. Furthermore, the usual state of mind during masturbation (at least for men, I don't really know what's typical for women, frankly), is generally at odds with this intention.

It is simplistic to pretend that masturbation is a "genital sneeze" and has no more significance than a nasal one - as long as a Kleenex is handy. Sex matters, it matters a lot to most of us, and it matters to the mind as much as to the body. Male masturbation usually happens in a mental dream world where the only thing that matters is sexual gratification, neither "sex tools" (women) nor realistic consequences are of further interest. Look at 95% of all porn: it's more crude and limited by law than what's possible in the mind, but it's driven by market forces to show the right trend. Does it not matter at all if out minds engage in such dreams, associate them strongly with sexual pleasure by building up a habit? I think it matters. Under the right conditions, even gravely so...

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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Komensky
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But Ingo, surely eternal damnation is not the irrevocable punishment for masterbation. Is it?

K.

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"The English are not very spiritual people, so they invented cricket to give them some idea of eternity." - George Bernard Shaw

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Newman's Own
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For the record, the idea of Mary's perpetual virginity has nothing to do with either priestly celibacy nor sex as evil - this has been discussed on past threads.

Until very recently, it was by no means only Roman Catholics who saw masturbation as a great evil. One could find writings from a century ago which assumed that masturbation could cause anything from blindness to insanity - and heaven knows that those who organised the 'male purity societies' in the Victorian age not only had supposed horror stories of physical deterioration stemming from masturbation but would have seen a horrid lack of character in spilling sperm which should be conserved for later use in providing new subjects for the empire's benefit.

There is no Roman Catholic teaching that sexual acts must be aimed at procreation. A couple who are aged 85 are free to marry, as are people who are unable to bear children at any age. (I know a good deal about Church history and the like, but don't want to write a missive here. Suffice it to say that, even in relation to sex in marriage, there was a good deal of past emphasis on 'integrity' - where sperm are ultimately deposited, and whether barriers to this constituted unnatural sex. Among other things, I think it would be hard for us today, in an era where overpopulation is so emphasised, to grasp the concept of potential 'race suicide' which was common until the mid-1900s, even without gettting into RC 'natural law.' Wasted sperm was widely thought to deplete further fertility.)

I think it would be highly unlikely, in the current state of knowledge about biology and psychology, that anyone would be barred from communion because of masturbation. If I may be Thomistic for a moment, mortal sin (that is, sin which would require sacramental confession before one may receive communion) requires full reflection and consent of the will. (The entire concept of mortal sin is based on where one's will is turned - it does not imply that sins not in this category are not to be avoided.) Masturbation may still be considered an objective wrong, but I doubt too many individual cases would meet the criteria for 'mortal sin' in the first place.

I doubt that masturbation would pose a problem in the spiritual life unless, for example, it became an 'idol' for someone, or was used by a spouse to avoid intimacy with his wife - or otherwise pointed to a larger problem. I can understand its being seen as grave at a time when less was known of biology and psychology, and certainly when it was thought to cause madness and so forth - but I would not be surprised (though this statement could not be made publicly) if many, or most, Roman priests would be glad never to hear it mentioned again.

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Cheers,
Elizabeth
“History as Revelation is seldom very revealing, and histories of holiness are full of holes.” - Dermot Quinn

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multipara
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dw; as many as I need.

m

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quod scripsi, scripsi

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IngoB

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quote:
Originally posted by kentishmaid:
I think (although I can't remember precisely) that it comes from Thomas Aquinas and his theory of Natural Law. (He also believed that it wasn't permissible for a woman to be on top during intercourse as some of the sperm might slip out).

Pardon? Where did St Thomas Aquinas discuss sexual positions like that? That would be rather uncharacteristic, it sounds more like a moral manual two to three hundred years down the track. Could you please provide a reference for this claim?

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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Yorick

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Well put, Ingo. I respect what you're saying, and understand the RC position on this (however indefensible I personally believe it to be). I believe you are right about the 'mind' component of masturbation (and IME it works the same way for females too, BTW)

On the subject (at a slight tangent) what is the RC position on people achieving sexual satisfaction through masturbation who are incapable of child-bearing (i.e., post-menopausal, or infertile)? Are such people sinners for masturbating to orgasm? The seed wouldn't be wasted if procreation were impossible anyway.

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این نیز بگذرد

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Yorick

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quote:
Originally posted by multipara:
dw; as many as I need.

Wow. The mind boggles! What's your max? [Snigger]

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این نیز بگذرد

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multipara
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dw, this is a grey area. No sensible priest would go there; itis generally a case of either "don't ask, don't tell" or "nothing is impossible with God".

Works well for most.

m

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quod scripsi, scripsi

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Divine Outlaw
Gin-soaked boy
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I think the teaching is utterly confused. Note that it talks about 'sexual pleasure' not the 'sexual act'. 'Sexual pleasure' is something, presumably, broader than 'orgasm': mastrubating stopping short of orgasm is, we assume, a wicked thing. But people find sexual pleasure in all sorts of things. Uncontroversially, kissing and holding hands. If we believe Freud at any level, in a lot more than that. Do they mean 'genital acts which issue in sexual pleasure'? Why is that not arbitrary?

I also suspect that 'the moral sense of the faithful' might be a little less uniform on this issue than the excerpt quoted suggests. The so-called 'constant tradition' seems to subsist in the fact that most Christians have said very little about it most of the time. And, in any case, given that most of those weren't privy to modern biology or psychology, there seeems to me to be a real question whether they were asking the same question as we would be when they enquired into the moral status of mastrubation.

All of which might sound very liberal. I don't think it is. I think that we do well not to place ill-thought out loads on peoples' backs, lest they turn away from the Church all together. It would, apparently, be better for us to have a millstone hung around our neck...

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insert amusing sig. here

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Cardinal Pole Vault

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quote:
Originally posted by dogwonderer:
quote:
Originally posted by Janine:
Or, maybe, he did have some experience, but his ladylove had a vagina with an industrial-grade vacuum suction.

Nah- I used to know a girl like that, and even she couldn't keep it in.
[Killing me]

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"Make tea, not war"

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dj_ordinaire
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quote:
Originally posted by Janine:
Ol' Tommy was a virgin, then, was he? Nice.

Well, he was a friar, and when his brothers tried to tempt him out of his vows by sending a prostitute up to his room to seduce him (after having had him kidnapped, I think) he is said to have driven her out with a flaming torch. So one imagines so!

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Flinging wide the gates...

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Yorick

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quote:
Originally posted by Divine Outlaw Dwarf:
I think that we do well not to place ill-thought out loads on peoples' backs

[Eek!]

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این نیز بگذرد

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Cardinal Pole Vault

Papal Bull
# 4193

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quote:
Originally posted by Divine Outlaw Dwarf:
I think the teaching is utterly confused. Note that it talks about 'sexual pleasure' not the 'sexual act'. 'Sexual pleasure' is something, presumably, broader than 'orgasm': mastrubating stopping short of orgasm is, we assume, a wicked thing.

I would have thought that masturbation up to (but not inlcuding orgasm) would be less 'wicked' than masturbation that lead to orgasm. In the former, no 'seed is spilled' and so precious sperm hasn't been wasted:

Every sperm is sacred, every sperm is great!
If a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate!


Unless, of course, I've misunderstood, and you meant 'wicked' in the sense that my 14 year old brother uses it

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"Make tea, not war"

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Mudfrog
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I thought you'd like these

wank

jerk

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"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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Cardinal Pole Vault

Papal Bull
# 4193

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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I thought you'd like these

wank

jerk

I love the Brick Testament. Found it very useful when teaching RE (especially to 6th Formers!)

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"Make tea, not war"

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kentishmaid
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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Pardon? Where did St Thomas Aquinas discuss sexual positions like that? That would be rather uncharacteristic, it sounds more like a moral manual two to three hundred years down the track. Could you please provide a reference for this claim?

I'm so sorry, I can't honestly remember. It came up when I was studying ethics as part of my Theology course and I no longer have the notes. I may well be entirely mistaken, in which case I apologise.

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"Who'll be the lady, who'll be the lord, when we are ruled by the love of one another?"

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Newman's Own
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[Roll Eyes] Until recent decades, the common perspective in RC moral theology would have been that, though married couples could use (for example) oral sex as foreplay, 'integrity' demanded that the act be completed by ejaculation into the vagina. In fact, when Paul VI organised the birth control commission, one of the matters under discussion was whether, since "The Pill" did not involve barriers to depositing the sperm properly, it fit into the same category as barrier methods of contraception.

(Irony tag on - but we've all read IngoB's past contributions on the 'natural family planning topic.)
Today, a married couple who get their orgasms in ways other than intercourse on the days of the month when conception is unlikely are practically candidates for beatification. Fifty years ago, intentionally "not completing the act" would have been seen as a violation of natural law and of 'integrity.'

I suppose my main point is that, if there had been the knowledge of biology (and reproduction) and psychology which there is today, masturbation would have rarely, if ever, been a matter for theological discussion. IngoB makes some interesting points here about fantasies and pornography - I could see those as being potential problems, possibly interfering with sexual intimacy and so forth - but I don't know that sexual fantasies are sinful in themselves either. Masturbation, fantasy, and so forth could be elements of a larger problem (and it would be highly individual, where one who was finding them to be major distractions would need assistance from a qualified director), but not necessarily.

It occurs to me that Christian attitudes towards sexual morality (in any sense) essentially centre on esteem for covenant in marriage. I often regret that details of how sperm is spilt (and Augustine's hankering for the use of reason and will we would have had without 'the fall,' for which one example he gives is having total control over one's erections) had not grown so totally out of proportion.

Recently, I saw the film "Kinsey." What Alfred Kinsey's father (a US Methodist) was subjected to because of a problem with masturbation as a boy (something about wearing an apparatus on his penis) tops anything I could possibly imagine in RC practise!

I think many people would not feel an obligation to mention masturbation in sacramental confession in the first place. I'm wondering if the priest who denied ken's friend absolution weren't backed into a corner (probably legalistic types.) If someone confessed something as a mortal sin, he has to illustrate that he intends to give the sin up... and people who (like this friend) tell others details of their confessions might be the ones who'd make sure the whole parish knew that those who enjoy a wank and are troubled better go to Father John's queue because he'll say it's not a sin... and then the ultra traddies will put out a newsletter saying John is a heretic...

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Cheers,
Elizabeth
“History as Revelation is seldom very revealing, and histories of holiness are full of holes.” - Dermot Quinn

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