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ImSoWorried wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am a female who is 14 years old and I have question.

  • Would it be a mortal sin to almost sin?

The problem: I'm reading middle-school fantasy and see the following sentence: She was naked from the waist down. I then get all excited and skim the next few sentences, looking for more, and then my conscience kicks in and I go Oh no, mortal sin, stop then I stop looking . . . panicked that I might have lost my state of grace. I technically hadn't sinned since I hadn't read any sexual material and, if I had seen any, I know I would stop reading but . . .

  • Would this have been a mortal sin since I almost sinned . . . briefly looking for more?

I went to Confession and received Communion yesterday but I don't know what to do if this happens in the future.

Please answer my questions.


  { Would it be a mortal sin if I read something and almost sinned, seeing I briefly looked for more? }

and in a similar question:

Susanna wrote:

Hi, guys —

I'm a 14-year-old female and I was hoping you could answer my question.

  • Is almost committing a mortal sin, a mortal sin?

Say I'm typing something into a web-search. I realize that if I press search, I might see sinful/impure pictures. I mentally shrug it of, with an opinion Eh, mortal sin is fun . . . excitement! Arousal!, etc. who cares, and continue typing however I feel guilty and stop typing and never press the search button.

  • Would that be a sin?

Technically the sin hadn't been committed however I did type for a few seconds with the intent of finding the impure pictures.


  { Is almost committing a mortal sin, a mortal sin? }

Bob replied:

Dear ImSoWorried,

You did not commit a mortal sin but keep in mind that some reading material doesn't make it easy to avoid sexual fantasy. You might want to find better books if you come across material that is too provocative. Whether you are 14 or an adult, anyone is going to be naturally curious when there is the possibility of something erotic. If you did something that bothers you:

  • move on
  • don't dwell on it
  • invite God in to the moment for courage, and
  • bring it to Confession if you really think that you indulged too much.

Chastity must be guarded but don't beat yourself up at every sexual thought or provocation. It is part of your development to:

  • learn to deal with this
  • understand your sexuality
  • embrace it, and
  • prepare your sexuality for the right context:
    • marriage
    • the single life or
    • even religious life, if God were to call you that way.

In all those vocations however the best way to be chaste is to stay close to God and keep Him even closer in moments of temptation. He is not looking to beat you down for the mistakes but build you up to face the difficulties.

Just take things day by day; you're doing fine.

Peace and God Bless you.

Bob Kirby

Bob replied:


It is a venial sin but sort of like playing with fire. Ask the Lord for help when you are truly tempted because without Him you will get burned.

There are many evils around us and they can be found in abundance on the Internet. Pornography is one such evil. Avoid it at all costs. Like drugs or cigarettes, it affects the brain in ways that are addiction forming and difficult to break once a habit is formed. It's greatest danger however is how it rots the soul.

Adolescent life is full of curiosity and sexuality ranks chief among those developments. Let your delight be God's desire for your fulfillment and happiness. He wants you to have a rich life — full of beauty and goodness. He will keep you clear of dark things and lead you to the light, joyful things. Love, romance, even sex — which God designed for the beautiful gift of family in the context of marriage — is all possible. He will lead you on the right path.

Don't be distracted by darkness. Satan would rather you fall into a pit so, put the matches down and pick up something good to read.



ImSoWorried replied:

Hi, guys—

First of all , thanks for taking the time to answer all of my questions. Your answers have helped me a lot! I have one more question:

  • What would constitute consent of the will?

Because of my female anatomy (I will not go into details) when I lean down, I will sometimes very briefly experience a feeling like masturbation.

Well, today I was about to lean down to pick something up, and I thought Oh, when I lean down I will have accidentally masturbated, but I (hopefully) didn't really mean it.

Sometimes my mind makes plans to do evil things but I don't intend to carry them out however I leaned down and the thing happened. Since it was so fast, I don't think I had much control, though I could have done something about it. (I'm not really sure.)

  • Is this a mortal sin, or not?
  • I kind of of lacked consent, though remember about the evil plans I mentioned in my initial e-mail?

I'm worried I really planned to do it.

  • Can anyone even mortally sin in such a short period of time . . . less than a second, like a blink?, two blinks, tops?

Aaargh. I'm sorry. I'm probably being OCD again.

Please answer me.


Bob replied:


You are, as you say, being a bit OCD again. I am not a girl, so I don't understand the feeling but I was an adolescent boy and, on this issue, that is not a walk in the park either. You are living through a time when your body is going through hormonal changes and things that were not stimulating before could be now.

Just stay close to God, don't worry, and move on. Bring issues of conscience to Confession but this kind of stuff is not mortal sin.

Mortal sins generally don't happen in a blink, because you can't give full consent of the will in that time. Even our legal system notes a distinction between first degree and second degree murder because crimes of passion don't allow sufficient reflection to invest the full will.

We are imperfect beings, called to perfection, but far from it. Miraculously God loves us anyway and is bringing us along until we are perfected.

Just pray often.


Bob Kirby

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