Struggles with Morality

Making moral choices in our modern world can be confusing and difficult. With so many temptations and influences pulling us in all directions, and the pressures of life driving us toward the seemingly “easy” path, it is comforting to know that Jesus Christ, through His Church, has blessed us with clear moral framework to guide us toward a happy, fulfilling life. This framework helps turn us away from sin and toward virtue and truth.

It makes perfect sense that our Creator, who made us and designed us to work in a certain way, would know what’s best for us. Fortunately, He gifted the Church with His advice on how to live our lives in such a way that we could be free and happy. By giving us a roadmap, Christ gave us the ability to be freed from the negative effects of immorality and unhappiness, because true freedom allows us to live fully.

Do you now struggle, or have you struggled in the past, with some of these moral sins listed below? Please take time to explore the resources we have provided for you here, by clicking on each of the titles below. You can find hope and healing through the Sacrament of Confession.

Explore more of Jason Evert’s teachings on Theology of the Body and other moral issues on his YouTube channel.

Abortion

Unfortunately, abortion is perhaps the gravest and most rampant moral problem of our age. Millions of innocent lives have been lost in the past several decades to abortion, and a significant number of parents have also been affected by their loss, leaving post-abortive moms and dads starving for forgiveness, hope, and healing.

Why is abortion sinful?

Abortion is sinful because it is the killing of an innocent child in the mother’s womb. Science—not simply the Church—says that life begins at conception. The fifth commandment is very clear: Thou shalt not kill, and the sin of abortion goes directly against the fifth commandment. The Catholic Church fervently stands up for the value of all human life, starting at conception, and proclaims that abortion at any stage or in any situation is never justified and is always mortally sinful.

Hope, healing, and forgiveness after an abortion

There is good news. If you’ve had an abortion, you CAN be forgiven. The Lord is waiting for you with open arms.  The Bible reminds us that, no matter how large or small our sins may be, God’s grace is more powerful than our sins. He loves us more than we love ourselves, and He is always ready, willing and able to receive us back into His loving arms, when we are ready and willing to turn to Him with a contrite heart. This is one of the beauties of sacramental Confession—it renews us, heals us, and restores our broken relationship with God. Countless women and men have experienced the healing powers of Reconciliation after their abortions and have discovered a new sense of peace. Consider the beauty of God’s love and forgiveness, demonstrated in Scripture:

“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool” (Isaiah 1:18).

“The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger for ever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor requite us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:8-12).

 

*The Catholic Church is a strong defender of the dignity of life, from conception to natural death. To learn about the Church’s teachings on euthanasia, click here.

Cohabitation

Unfortunately, cohabitation has been on the rise in our culture for quite some time. Many couples are cohabiting, rather than making the commitment to marriage. This isn’t just a sinful practice; it is a bad idea for many reasons, including the fact that marriages preceded by cohabitation are far more likely to end in divorce. The Church desires people to have happy, lasting, fruitful, strong marriages, which is why she discourages couples from cohabitating. Cohabitation can have a profoundly damaging impact on relationships.

Why is cohabitation sinful?

Cohabitation generally refers to a man and a woman living together as husband and wife (having sexual relations) without being married. Sexual intercourse by its design, however, is meant for a married man and woman, who have committed themselves to one another in a sacramental matrimonial bond before and with God. Sex outside of marriage cannot fulfill what God intended or what a couple truly desires in the deep recesses of their hearts—happiness and total commitment to one another.

Even if you intend to marry the person with whom you are cohabitating, Catholic Church teaching—and often just plain experience—makes it clear that true love is incompatible with “trial” marriages. Statistics also show that couples who cohabitate have marriages that are more likely to end in divorce and have overall poorer quality relationships than those couples who do not cohabitate.

The Church is like a loving parent, who cares about the decisions of her children and wants what is best for them. For this reason, the Church tries to steer all couples away from cohabitation, because of the damage it can do to families. Please take time to read the articles below to learn more about the Church’s teaching on cohabitation, as well as social science trends and information about couples who cohabitate.

The good news is that if you are cohabiting, you can change the situation you are in. It is never too late to make changes in your relationship that can have a positive impact on both of you as a couple for years to come.

 

Contraception

 

Contraception is a hot topic in our current culture, and, unfortunately, many misunderstand why the Church teaches that contraception is sinful and harmful for the contraceptive couple. Because the Church wants men and women to experience the fullness of joy and fulfillment that God intends for them, the Church seeks to steer them away from vices and sins that can be harmful to them spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Contraception is one of these harmful things. By inserting unnatural birth control methods where God intended purely natural love to exist, individuals can bring harm to their bodies and souls—whether or not they may realize it.

What is contraception and why is it sinful?

Contraception is “any action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act [sexual intercourse], or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” (Humanae Vitae 14, underline added). This includes the Pill, condoms, barrier methods and other such methods. Contraception is sinful because it violates the natural end that God intends for sex between a man and a woman: procreation. Contraception also interrupts the natural, authentic bonding intimacy and pleasure that God also wills for us to experience through sexual intercourse.

The harmful effects of contraception

In her fabulous article and research, Dr. Janet Smith uncovers many of the harmful effects of contraception: loss of a sense of authentic sexuality and intimacy, seeing babies as burdens rather than blessings, a decrease in fertility rate around the world, an increase in casual or recreational sex outside of marriage, higher sexual activity among teenagers, more STDs, an increase in unwed pregnancies, and increases in abortion, cohabitation, and divorce, among many other negative effects. Read more.

How Contraception Destroys Love by Dr. Edward Sri

Contraception’s Dark Fruits by Laura Locke

Catholic Answers Live Radio: How Contraception Harms Marriage

Does the Church just want you to have tons of babies then?

Many people mistakingly believe that the Catholic Church wants you to rebuke all contraceptive methods and instead just be prepared to be pregnant—a lot. This is far from reality, as the Church would never advise that couples raise more children than they can physically, emotionally, spiritually, or financially handle. Instead, an overwhelming number of couples continue to find huge benefits and blessings from their use of Natural Family Planning. The Catholic Church does believe in family planning…and with this method, it’s all natural, sin-free, harm-free, and guilt-free.

The good news is that if you are using artificial contraceptives, you don’t have to do so any longer. There are other options—options that are better for your health and life giving.

Natural Family Planning and Self-Mastery by Dr. Janet Smith

Couple to Couple League: Natural Family Planning

Catholic Answers Live Radio: Contraception Vs. NFP

cd-contraception

Contraception: Cracking the Myths

In this new revised edition of Professor Janet Smith’s groundbreaking expose on the effects of the pill on modern society, she presents a God-centered view of sexuality that can bring married couples a joy that they could have never imagined. Backed by statistics and armed with decades of research, Prof. Smith shows the crippling effect of the contraceptive culture on our relationship with God, our romantic relationships and marriages, the culture at large and our physical and mental health.

 

Homosexual Behavior

One thing must first be made clear: the Church loves people who experience same-sex attraction. This is because the Church, in imitation of Christ, loves all people. It is out of that love for others that she warns them about sinful activities that can harm their souls, like homosexual behavior. If you experience same-sex attraction, there is a way to be in communion with the Catholic Church. Homosexual desires are not in themselves sinful. It is only when a person acts on those sinful desires (or fantasizes about acting on them) that sin enters the picture.

What is homosexual behavior and why is it sinful?

Homosexual behavior involves acts intended to arouse or stimulate a sexual response with a person of the same sex. Homosexual behavior, like any other sinful behavior, is wrong because it goes against the natural and divine laws established by God for our good.

What does the Catholic Church say about homosexuality?

The Catechism teaches, “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved” (CCC 2357).

“They [those individuals with same-sex attraction] must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s cross the difficulties that they may encounter from their condition…Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection” (CCC 2357– 2359).

Are homosexuals welcome in the Catholic Church?

Some who struggle with same-sex attractions wonder if there’s any hope for them to be welcomed in or back into the Church. The answer to that question is an unambiguous “YES.” God calls each of us, whether homosexual or heterosexual, to chastity according to our circumstances in life. The Church is here to help all of us live in the light of truth.

Resources to help you

Courage

Reclaim Sexual Health

NARTH

Pornography

Unfortunately, thanks to the Internet, pornography is now widely available and easy to access, making it a terrible and sinful addiction for many in our modern society. We must understand the terrible reality of pornography in our culture today, so we can offer help to those who are suffering with this addiction. If you are struggling with the sin of pornography, you are not alone…and there are ways you can and must break free from it.

What is pornography and why is it sinful?

Pornography involves exploiting and objectifying the human body in order to sexually arouse the viewer. Of course, we know that the Catholic Church teaches that the human body should be respected, because of the dignity that Christ bestows on every person. So, pornography is wrong in that it gravely and directly goes against God’s intention to preserve the sacredness of the human body. In other words, pornography is gravely offensive to the virtue of chastity.

The harmful effects of pornography

Sadly, pornography affects so many more people than just the consumer…it hurts families, those working in the industry, and so many more.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that pornography “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” (CCC 2354).

This addiction to sin can be overcome

You can break free from your addiction to pornography. Or, if you have a spouse who is addicted to pornography, there is hope. Families can be healed and souls can be restored. God’s mercy is abundant, and is there for those who seek it.

Please use the resources here to further guide you in the learning and healing process.

“In the life of the body a man is sometimes sick, and unless he takes medicine, he will die. Even so in the spiritual life a man is sick on account of sin. For that reason he needs medicine so that he may be restored to health; and this grace is bestowed in the Sacrament of Penance.” –St. Thomas Aquinas