Dear Doctimus Prime,
Below are some of the questions a beautiful friend of mine asked and made a good attempt of answering them. It is good you read my diary entry on the Sacrament of Penance to get a full picture <a href= https://fromjaytoyou.wordpress.com/2014/08/29/23-i-believe-in-the-forgiveness-of-sins/?preview=true

Q. When is an act a mortal sin?
A. Three things are needed to make an action sinful: Firstly, it must be a grave matter (for instance, a case fornication or sexual stimulation that leads to orgasm); secondly, full knowledge of it (in this case one must know that sexual stimulation that ends in orgasm is a sin); Thirdly is consent (he or she must allow herself to attain satisfaction our orgasm in this case). If any of these factors is absence, it can lessen the gravity of the sin.

Q. Do you think that it is harder for some to resist temptation to sexual sins than others?
A. I think that if a person is sexually active (even if they’ve only done it once), it becomes harder to resist the temptation. If such persons value their sanctity (because God wants us to be completely free from sin), they will make the effort to resist temptation of the OCCASION of sin.


Q. How does someone make a confession of heavy petting with a friend?
A. When it comes to confession, it is best to state it as it is: “I was involved in heavy petting with my boyfriend/girlfriend that ended in sexual satisfaction even though we didn’t have sex.

Q. Does this mean that heavy petting that didn’t end in sexual satisfaction should not be confessed?
A. If it did not end in satisfaction, it is most likely because the persons fought the temptation and stopped. It also means that they realised their mistake and really did not intend for that to happen. It’s to that end a venial sin. It could be confessed but it does not stop such a person from receiving communion if they couldn’t make it for confession. When a person goes for confession, it’s helpful to ask questions. The priest is also there to teach. He will help the person out if they have any difficulty discerning if a sin is mortal or venial.


Q. We tend to think of confession only as neccesary when one commits sin that stops one from receiving communion. Is that the right attitude?
A. Confession is a lot more than that. It is a place of healing, instruction and renewal. You are healed of the wound of sin, counselled about the consequences of sin and how to avoid it and strengthened by grace not to fall into it in the future.

Q. There are scores of singles who think that heavy petting is okay. So isn’t it just somehow to keep running to the confessional every time a person engages in heavy petting?
A. First, heavy petting is not okay for unmarried persons. Sexual intimacy is a gift of God meant to be enjoyed exclusively in the context of marriage. With that said, if they are serious about spending their life together, they should set ground rules and help each other stay chaste and faithful until marriage. Sexual intimacy outside marriage is simply stealing from one’s future relationship account to satisfy the wants (not even needs) of the present. And you know what  happens when you run out of funds?

If this is clarified, it becomes clear what a penitent who is coming to confession for reason of petting is asking for. Remember too that for confession to be efficacious, the penintent must be aware of the gravity of their sin, be truly sorry for ever falling into it and also have a firm resolve never to go back to it (or at least not to expose oneself knowingly to the OCCASION of sin).


Q. What are the sins that can keep you from communion? And what happens if you receive communion after committing them but before confession?
A. So long as a action meets the three requirements I stated earlier, which means it is a mortal sin, you should not receive communion because you’ll be receiving it unworthily. 1Cor 11:27 speaks of receiving the Eucharist in an “unworthy manner” as a profanation of the body and blood of Christ. A profanation is an act of unbelief, an act of disrespect.


#4 Masturbeducation


Dear Doctimus Prime,
One thing I have learnt in my little over one month in a parish Church is that you have to be ready at all time, for just about anything. I have to rise to every occasion and situation, knowing that the person in front of me might have nowhere else to go and no one else to turn to. In the parish office where I am on call every other week, I am called upon to be several things to several different people: a counsellor, a spiritual director, a social worker, a healer, a psychologist, a listener, a friend, a brother, a father. In fewer words, I am all things to all men just like Saint Paul (cf 1Cor 9:19-23).

One occasion was a moment of deep reflection for me. I was sure of what to say but I wasn’t sure how to say it. It was a morning like every other before it. I just got into the office. I said my prayers and turned on the AC. I unpacked my laptop and some books and settled down to some reading, half expecting someone to knock on the door. “Business” was going good until he showed up. He looked to be fourteen and still in secondary school. He looked a little pale, so I am guessing there was something terribly wrong.
“Good morning Father” he said. I smiled and said “Good morning” as I motioned him to sit down.
He felt a little uneasy and distracted. I was looking straight at him but he was looking at everything else in the room besides me.
“Is there something I can help you with,” I said after waiting a while for him to present his case.
“Father, can you hear my confession?”
“I am not a priest. I am a deacon. I don’t hear confessions” was my reply.
“Okay…sorry” he was a little distracted.
Is something the matter?” I pressed.
“Can I tell you something?” was his reply.
He waits a little while, trying to make up his mind. I usually give people the opportunity to decide if they want to share with me or not. Insisting that they speak only puts them on the defensive and makes them suspicious.
“Father, I have this problem. I am always ashamed of speaking about it. I know it is wrong and I have been trying to overcome it. I have gone to confession before and tried to stop it but it is difficult and it is weighing me down… I masturbate Father.”
By this time, he is looking down at something at the foot of my desk. I could tell from his looks that he expects more from himself and is disappointed that he had let his habit come to this.

Masturbation is understood to be the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. The genital organs, as sexual faculties, are NATURALLY for use within marriage for the purpose of mutual self-giving of couples and also for procreation. Any other use for sexual display is, therefore, a derailment from the ORIGINAL INTENTION for which they are made. Masturbation is, to this end, an UNNATURAL use of the genitals for sexual pleasure. The scriptures do not mention masturbation but it gives other instances of unnatural sexual behaviour. The popular examples are those of Onan who spilled his semen whenever he had relations with Tamar, his late brother’s wife (cf. Gen 38: 9,10), and of Saint Paul to the Corinthians in which he tells them to desist from sexual immorality (1Cor 6:18-20). So I knew what to say; I just didn’t know how to say it.

“What’s your name?”
“How old are you Ben?”
“Do you have any other siblings?”
“Yes, my little sister.”
“Do you know what pornography is?”
“Have you ever viewed pornography before?”
He hesitates at first but then answers in the affirmative. I took a long imperceptible breath and then said. Where there is masturbation, pornography isn’t far off.

“You seem like a good boy. I have no reason to believe otherwise. I am happy that you been able to accept the fact that you need help. That is a brave thing to do. You must also understand that you will always have sexual urges as a grown person. It is sign that you have become a man. But you must learn SELF MASTERY over your feelings. To keep yourself sane and away from masturbation, you must cut yourself away from everything and everyone who is a negative influence on you. Avoid the use of pornography. It is like bringing fire close to petrol. Don’t be in a place all by yourself if you don’t have to. And take your spiritual life seriously. Pray the Rosary. Ask the Virgin Mary to intercede for you. Jesus does not refuse her anything (cf Jn 2:5,6). Go to confession and communion regularly. By receiving Jesus physically into you, you will receive strength to overcome your weaknesses. God loves you my boy. He will always help you with the strength you need.
Do you mind if I say a little prayer with you?


He nods and bends his head. We say a prayer and I blessed him. His face had brightened up after the prayer. He was almost smiling when he said “Thank you Father”. It is no use asking him to call me Reverend. They always relapse.
“Don’t hesitate to come see me if there is something else you need my help with, okay?”
And so ends another day of experience and learning for me. I am sure God wishes to reach people. And he does it through the little advise and prayers we say with others. I always want to extend a helping hand if it will be of any good.

*PS: Special birthday shout out to my Associate, Ms Betty Ogbue. God bless you.