With how the world is changing now, people normalize things that they think are right without considering morality. They follow what the majority practices. Fornication, masturbation, and birth control to name a few become widely accepted in a way that people would talk about them as typical parts of life. However, some still think these are immoral, not engaging with them or asking for forgiveness from God when they committed them. Although can be forgiven, admitting and confessing sexual sins to a priest can be awkward. In this blog post, we will discuss how to confess watching pornography.
Watching Pornography is a Sin
Before we discuss how to confess watching porn, let’s tackle first how is it a sin.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church,
CCC 2354 Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials.
Clearly, the Catholic Church is against it and considers it as grave.
Mortal or Venial Sin
Now that we know that it is a sin, what is it? A mortal or venial?
Before we answer that, let’s first have a quick recap of the definitions of the two.
The Catholic Church categorizes sins depending on their gravity. It could be mortal or venial.
A sin is mortal if the following conditions are met.
- It must involve grave matter
- Committed with full knowledge that it is a grave sin
- Committed with deliberate consent
Let’s use watching pornography as an example.
If one had watched pornography, aware that it is a sin but still committed it, then there is a mortal sin.
To discuss further.
First, watching porn is a grave matter as it is against chastity.
Another one is that the person committed it with full knowledge. It means there was a consciousness that it was a sin.
Lastly, committed it with full consent. In spite of the fact that there was an awareness of how sinful it was, it was still intentionally practiced.
Note that all conditions must be present. If it does not contain even just one of these conditions, it will then fall as a venial sin.
However, although venial sins need not be confessed, it is still encouraged especially when the matter is grave like watching porn.
So now, let’s answer the question.
How to confess watching pornography?
According to Fr. JM, CSsR, you can confess lustful sins in general without mentioning the smallest details. In addition, you also have to divulge the frequency you committed them.
For example, if you watched multiple times, you just have to say to your confessor, a priest, that you had watched porn and tell him you did it many times.
The priest will then offer you counsel, ask for penances, and finally absolve you from your sins.
If it is your first time confessing, you can visit this Comprehensive Guide to Confession for beginners.
For a list of other mortal sins, you can check this out.
After confession, there is a propensity for people to go back to their old ways. We are human and we can fall from sin again. Although it is understandable, we should still do everything we can to be better!
Here are some of the resources that could help you in fighting lustful sins specifically watching pornography.
If you are struggling with pornography, you can check these.
Since watching pornography and masturbation are committed at the same time, the above resources can help you with these both sins.
Confessing embarrassing sins like watching porn is a tough task. It takes a lot of courage to uncover your secret and hear what the priest would say to you afterward. However, at the end of the day, what matters is our conviction to change for the better. To be holier than we were before. Going to confession is a big first leap you could take. This is the best way to start anew and grow spiritually.
St. Gerard Majella, Patron Saint of Good Confessions, pray for us.