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Dear Father,

(…) I’d like to ask you a short question: If masturbation is a mortal sin, why doesn’t the Lord help to overcome it?

If it is intrinsic in nature, why can’t He change that nature (having complete availability on my side), He who can change everything to his liking if we give him our free will?? 

And then … do you have to go to confession every time you have fallen? What if you don’t feel repentance? Or what if you feel repentance, but after a while you commit the same sin again?

I hope to receive an answer soon, in the meantime thank you for your availability. I ask you to pray for me and if it is possible to keep this email private, without any publication. An intimate answer to an intimate question.

Kind regards and hear from you soon.

Answer from the Priest

Dear friend,

I am answering you immediately, as you can see.

1. The Lord helps overcome masturbation.

St. Thomas affirms that “the smallest grace is enough to resist any concupiscence and to avoid any mortal sin that is committed by transgressing the commandments

of the law: in fact a minimum of charity is enough to love God more than greed loves” thousands of pieces of gold and silver “(Ps 118.72)” (Sum theological, III, 70.4).

2. Saying “the smallest grace” is the same as saying “the smallest act of love for the Lord”.

When you are attacked try to say, “Lord, I don’t want to commit this sin for your sake.”

“I want to give you a sign of my love for you”.

You will immediately feel great strength.

A force that will last for a long time.

3. You tell me: “If it is intrinsic in nature”.

It is not intrinsic to nature and this is shown by the fact that there are people who have never fallen into this fragility. And if they fell, they soon got up again.

I see these people very determined, indeed very strong internally and in their lifestyle.

4. Rather it can be said that it is very frequent in nature when it is marked by sin.

But from sin, with the help of grace which is an authentic divine force, one can stay away from it. And, if you fall, you can get up again.

5. You tell me: “why can’t He change this nature (having complete availability on my side), He who changes everything at his liking if we give Him our free will?”.

This availability cannot be an empty desire or words without goodwill.

To pass an exam, it is not enough to have the desire to pass it. Goodwill is also needed.

So also here.

6. To your specific question on the need to confess such a sin, I say that one must confess each time one falls back or in any case before receiving Holy Communion.

St. Thomas recalls that “under a certain aspect the sin of impurity is the one that more than any other makes man indisposed to receive the Eucharist, since because of this sin more than for any other the spirit is subjected to the flesh, and is therefore prevented from the fervor of charity that is required in this sacrament “(Sum theological, III, 80, 5, ad 2).

7. Repentance consists in an act of will by which sin is repudiated and it is determined not to commit it anymore.

It is not related to feeling. 

An act of will is enough, even if one feels dry inside.

8. And if, even when repentance has been experienced, shortly afterwards one falls back, one gets up again, in the same way that if one gets their clothes dirty, he doesn’t keep them dirty because they know that they could get dirty again.

9. As you can see, I cut the most personal parts of your email, even omitting to indicate the male or female gender of the sender.

So I felt free to publish the question and to give the answer that can benefit many.

I wish you well, I remind you to the Lord and I bless you.

Father Angelo