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ConfusedAndStressed Carl wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am asking for help because I am deeply confused and stressed. I am a sinner; I have committed sins of:

  • incest
  • homosexuality
  • masturbation
  • and most Sundays have not been going to church.

I did not know that any of these were actually sins until I decided to Google these issues as they relate to the Catholic faith.

I am really confused, since people say if you commit these sins, you might forfeit your salvation or entrance into Heaven. I am a very religious person. I pray almost every night before I go back to sleep and if I forget, I feel deeply sorrowful the next day. I have a few questions, if you will kindly answer them:

  1. Can I be saved from these sins?
  2. Is masturbation a serious sin?
  3. Is watching porn a sin as well?

Carl

  { Can I be saved from these sins, is masturbation a serious sin, and is watching porn a sin as well? }

Mary Ann replied:

Dear Carl,

You need the help of a good priest. All of what you talk about is sinful behavior, if engaged in freely and knowingly.

If one does not know something is a sin, then he is not guilty of the sin. Often people become habituated to certain activities through events that happen to them, like child abuse. Many sexual sins can become habitual, and sometimes there is an element of compulsion and addiction, which makes it harder to stop.

A good confessor can help you. When you confess your sins, God will not only forgive anything you may be guilty of, but He will give you healing graces and more freedom.

You must also pray and rely on God, no matter how often you fail.

God bless,

Mary Ann

Paul replied:

Dear Carl,

1. Yes
2. Yes
3. Yes

But as Mary Ann mentioned, you needed to know it was wrong at the time you performed these acts and freely consent to them for you to be guilty of these sins. If you are guilty, Christ is waiting for you in the Sacrament of Confession to completely forgive you, if you are sorry and resolve to try and sin no more.

Your apparent sincere sorrow and desire to be right with God is admirable.

Sexual sins can be more addictive than heroin, so the key here is perseverance — not only with your own power but by the power of grace that God wants to give you in the sacrament of Confession (and the Eucharist). Persevere and do not despair; God knows our weaknesses, and has set up this wonderful sacrament to forgive us whenever we fall. Confession and Communion are the one-two punch to keep out the devil.

Peace,

Paul

Mike replied:

Hi, Carl —

Beside what my colleagues have said, I wanted to point you to some related postings from
our knowledge base.

Take a crack at our searchable knowledge base next time:

http://www.AskACatholic.com/SiteSearch

There are a lot of quick answers there, so give it a try.

In one posting I said:

First we have to remember, due to the effects of original sin, we will always struggle with concupiscence.  The only time we won't struggle, is when we are six feet in the ground : )

So strive to do the right thing like Mary Ann and Paul have suggested, but don't beat up on yourself.

Mike

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