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Ask Fr. Francis: Sexual Sin, Which One is Worse?

The following is an excerpt from Fr. Francis Ching, CC answers tough questions about the Catholic faith.

Fr. Francis Ching PortraitQuestion:

I have been trying to quit my bad habit of patronizing massage parlors for ages as I now know it is conflicting with the sixth commandment. My sex drive pushes me so hard that I use masturbation with porn videos so to avoid the action of buying sexual satisfaction. Which action is more serious?

Fr. Francis' answer:

“The truth is, this is a battle that can be won, and it has been won by many, as long as we keep faithfully holding onto Jesus and resisting the devil.”

First of all, thanks for your honesty. It is not easy to admit one’s darkness so openly.

As far as the gravity of the action is considered, fornication of course is more serious than viewing pornography and masturbation. However, as they are all grave matters, if with knowledge and freely chosen, they are all mortal sins. So the end result is just as deadly.

Pastorally speaking, however, we must never be deterred from fighting the good fight even when we find ourselves falling with the same serious sins every day. The fact that we acknowledge that they are displeasing to the Lord, harmful to ourselves, and still want to make a change, that struggle itself is already meritorious, and is the result of God’s grace working in us.

Many people today struggle with pornography and masturbation. Most of them are men, but increasingly with women as well. I don’t think we are supposed to have so much easy access to the internet in the privacy of our bedroom or even bathroom. I don’t think our brains are designed to have that degree of self-control. Once pornography gets into that space, it is like inviting the devil into your bedroom and bathroom when no one else is keeping you accountable. Today we disguise it as personal privacy. But let’s face it, letting the devil through into our privacy is evil.

Before I talk about tactics for fighting these sins, I would like to ask you please do not be ashamed of your sex drive. Our sex drive is a gift from God. It is not evil. It was meant to drive us to authentic intimacy and sacrificial love towards others. It is the over-sexualized world today that brainwashed us that the only purpose of our sex drive is to act it out sexually. That is a perversion of the true beauty of our sexuality, and a counterfeit that totally darkens the glory of God’s original design. When you find yourself having this sex drive, ultimately therefore, you should view it as an invitation for you to channel it into charity towards someone else.

I have seen many programs on fighting this battle, and it comes down to these points...

Read the full answer here!

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