If you think masturbation is fine, think again because “among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices”. (CCC 2396) Many men and women masturbate and the world will say it is fine, or that, it’s good for our health. However, God tells us through his Church what’s best for the health of our souls.
Masturbation is the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action. 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.
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.Catechism of the Catholic Church 2352
From these lines of the Catechism, we can conclude that masturbation is always wrong, a grave error. It is a sin or a deed contrary to eternal law, an offense against God. (CCC 1849-50)
Is masturbation always a mortal sin?
Mortal sin is a sin that leads one’s soul to death (1 Jn 5:16-17). For a sin to be mortal, one has to have full knowledge and complete consent of a grave act. And, yes! Masturbation is always a mortal sin for a regular person without any psychological illness or any related conditions who deliberately masturbates in order to derive sexual pleasure.
Adolescents undergoing puberty or those persons in challenging conditions (they and God only know) may not be guilty of this mortal sin if the act is not repeatedly done and if they strive to be free from being slaves of this sin against chastity.
Is there a way to overcome masturbation?
There are a lot of ways and many have tried and were successful. Praying frequently and getting oneself busy with tasks and other activities (e.g. sports, develop new hobbies) are ones of the most effective ways to combat this evil.
Only God knows what is going on with our hearts and minds. His endless mercy tells us that he can forgive all kinds of sin if we believe and trust in his saving grace and not lose hope. He, dying on the cross, redeemed us from our sins and through baptism we were saved. But since we are humans and we fall, he rescues us through the sacraments he instituted. The sacraments are always available through the Church he built to sanctify souls that are stained by sins.
Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!