Friday, February 09, 2007

An offense against chastity

1) Adoration tonight, 7-8 pm, SAA Church. All are invited!
2) DC Hood vs. St John the Baptist, 7 pm, SJB gym. Go ‘Hood!
An anonymous blogger asked, “Why is mastrabation a sin?” Another anon answered, “Masturbation is a sin because it is a sexual act meant only to satisfy one's self. Sexual intimacy, as designed by God, is meant only for a husband and wife who are open to life. It is an act meant for giving of one self to the other spouse. This sounds totally radical compared to the secular messages about sex! This would definately be a good question for Father Greg or for adult classes.”

Thanks, Anons, especially the one who answered this. I should sign you up to answer more of these questions! Let’s start with what Jesus says about this. We read in Mk 7:21-23 that “unchastity” is among a list of “evils” that “come from within and they defile”. Jesus includes unchastity in the same sentence as murder, adultery, and theft! Next, St. Paul writes in Galatians 6:19-20 that impurity is among the “works of the flesh” (along with idolatry, hatreds, drinking bouts, etc.). He says that “those who do such things will not enter the kingdom of God” (v. 21).

The Catechism teaches that masturbation is a grave sin against chastity and purity. It defines it as “the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure” and characterizes it as “an intrinsically and gravely disordered action” (#2352). It explains further:
‘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.’

The main reason why masturbation is a sin is because it misuses the gift of sex that God has given us. It is a selfish act only. As the second Anon pointed out, it does not involve a) the union between husband and wife, and b) procreation; these are the two reasons that God has given us the precious gift of sex. Any sexual act that occurs outside of union and procreation is gravely wrong because God does not intend it.

The act of masturbation has become for many, many people an habitual act. Society tells us, and even teaches to our kids, that there is nothing wrong with it, and it is natural. Our Lord has taught differently! Now, having said that, there might be psychological or personal factors that play a role in the act of masturbation. Catholic psychologists have taught us that loneliness, anxiety, and boredom are three of the main causes that lead a person to masturbate. As the Catechism indicates, these and other factors are to be considered when judging the moral culpability of the person with regards to masturbation:

“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, if not even reduce to a minimum, moral culpability” (# 2352).

There is much more to say about this, other offenses against chastity, and chastity in general. I will keep it in mind about offering a talk on chastity in the future. Thanks!


At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Children masturbating due to a natural curiousity about their bodies seems innocent. I hope the Church would not condemn that.

At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are some people just incapable of chastity?

At 8:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think I could ever be in one of FG's adult classes, because even anonomously am embarassed to ask this. I hope it's not inappropraite...

Within a marriage a couple must be open to life when consumating an intimate act. I understand that. However, in order for that to happen only the husband needs to have any kind of "response". For many women to have that same "response" what you have described as sinful contact must occur. It seems a little one sided here! Does the church just not like women?

At 5:27 PM, Anonymous Jessica said...

Prior to his becoming pope, JPII wrote the book Love and Responsibility. In this book, he wrote of just the situation commented on by the above person on p.270-8, particularly p.272.

Here's a (really) quick summary of what it says: In the marital act--for it to be a true expression of love, as God created it to be: "it is necessary to insist that intercourse must not serve merely as a means of allowing sexual excitement to reach its climax in one of the partners, ie. the man alone, but that climax must be reached in harmony, not at the expense of one partner, but with both partners fully involved." (yes, that's the pope writing:)

He goes on to say that the reality that it takes longer for a woman to become aroused means that a man should deny himself immediate sexual gratification and work to see that he and his wife reach climax 'as far as possible...simultaneously." The man's desire should stem not from a hedonistic desire, but out of a desire to love and serve his wife in the marital bed. By acting in such a way, a man grows in the virtue of loving his wife like Christ loves the Church (see Ephesians 5)

I encourage this person to read Love & Responsibility and if this is daunting get books by Christopher West who helps explain the Church's teaching on marriage and sexuality. I assure you it is a beautiful teaching which fully appreciates women for who they were created to be; That is--we were created to be loved as persons and not used as objects for male gratification. Happy Reading--may it bring you closer to our Lord and his Church.

At 10:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are really wonderful to respond with this- I will read. I hoped there would be some teaching about this somewhere- just didn't know where.


Post a Comment

<< Home