John Doe wrote:

Hi, guys —

My best friend died a little over a year ago (when we were just Sophomores in high school), and I gravely miss him. I do think, however, that his death was for a reason. I know for a fact that his death turned me away from my evil ways, and my faith in God grew so much more. My friend, as I recall, was a Protestant. My heart aches every time I think of the possibility that I may not be able to see him again, unless I misunderstand the Church's teaching on the possibility of salvation outside the Catholic Church.

  • Is it true that I may not be able to see him again?

I'm almost certain that he died without mortal sins while alive.

On to the second part of my question:

My previous evil ways have left me with a very strong lust and although I have tried so hard to stop masturbation, I have always messed up in the past (usually after about a week). I feel terrible every time I mess up. I also struggle with pornography in the form of [suppressed], and really wish that I was normal in this aspect, as I know that this is against the natural laws of nature. I really can't help it though; it was not a choice.

  • Do you have any advice on this?

Lastly, sometimes I find myself looking at pornography but then I stop my urge to masturbate and stop looking at the porn.

  • Is looking at the porn(ography) still a sin?

Thank you very much!

John Doe

  { Will I see my Protestant friend again and can you provide advice for my battles with pornography? }

Mary Ann replied:

John,

Do two things:

  1. Pray to the Blessed Mother. She is an unfailing source of purity.
  2. Immerse yourself in Scripture.

You can go to Dads.org - Family Life Center International web site and find their pornography resources.

As for your addiction to masturbation and porn, God, and the Church, understand how your freedom is impaired by addiction, but you must treat it as a recovering alcoholic treats alcohol — don't touch it. Go to Confession when you fail, so that you can get the added spiritual healing and grace that it brings.

As for the specific porn, be aware that you are being desensitized and you stand the risk of ruining your chances for a happy marriage and fatherhood. You risk ruining your relationships with children, and becoming involved in acts that are heinous and terribly destructive to children. You are also feeding a huge and evil industry. Of course, you are on the road to risking your soul if you do not change.

As for your friend, he will be saved if he followed the light God gave him. Without the Catholic Church, there would be no grace for anyone, but because of the presence of the Body of Christ in the world, even non-members can be saved, if they are truly following the light of conscience (which would have eventually brought them to knowledge of the faith).

As for you, yes, pornography and masturbation are grave evils. Their guilt can be mitigated by compulsion, neurosis, and addiction, but if you do not fight it, you are gravely culpable. It is not a sin to see something. It is a sin to look at porn with the intent of gratifying your lust. If you look at it briefly and put it away in a fight against the temptation, then you have avoided grave sin, probably, but you really must destroy all sources of such things in your life.

Mary Ann

Mike replied:

Hi John,

On the second part of your question.

Besides what my colleague Mary Ann has said, I would try to get to daily Mass if possible.
Every day, I go to Mass in a state of grace and receive the Blessed Sacrament, I leave the church thanking the Lord for giving me the opportunity to beat the heck out of Satan.

Try to also set aside 15 minutes in the morning to say a 5-decade Rosary.
As Fr. John Corapi has said, "It [his rosary] is his M-16, in spiritual combat."

This is what Our Blessed Mother said to St. Dominic when he handed him the Rosary:

"Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?"

"Oh, my Lady," answered Saint Dominic, "you know far better than I do, because next to your Son Jesus Christ you have always been the chief instrument of our salvation."

Then Our Lady replied, "I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the principal weapon has always been the Angelic Psalter, which is the foundation-stone of the New Testament. Therefore, if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter."

The Angelic Psalter, Our Blessed Mother is referring to is the Rosary.

My advice: Treat it like the American Express card: Don't leave home without it : )

but treat it the way the Church wants to you treat it, as a holy sacramental, not a superstitious charm or rabbit's foot. Catholic's don't believe in good luck; we believe in Divine Providence, or should.

On Concupiscence.

Due to the remnants of original sin on every ones soul, we will always struggle with this. The key, like my colleague Mary Ann said, is staying close to the sacrament of Confession, but remember, in order for a good Confession, the penitent has to have a firm purpose of amendment.  For some, this can be very hard, but as long as you are sincerely trying:

  • getting rid of the browser bookmarks
  • any books, magazines, VHS tapes, videos, DVDs
  • etc.

Don't worry. Just get up, go to Confession and then go to Mass or say the Rosary.

The Sacraments and prayer are the way we beat the heck out of satan after he has beaten the heck out of us.

I would also personally recommend wearing and being enrolled in it. Any priest can invest you in the Brown Scapular with these instructions: [MS-WORD][PDF]

Hand him either this MS-Word or PDF print-out and ask if a priest or your pastor would use it and bless your Scapular.

You said:
I also struggle with pornography in the form of [suppressed], and really wish that I was normal in this aspect, . . .

Finally, don't beat up on yourself. You are normal! Yes, we should do the best we can live a sacramental life and stay in a state of grace. That said, again, we will always struggle with the sins of the flesh until we die. The Lord Jesus understands this Biblical truth when He said:

The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)

That doesn't mean to give up the fight but just do the best you can without rationalizing that a pleasure that was intended to bring forth new life cannot be rationalized as a good for ones own self-pleasure.

Mike

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