You have been following the Vices and Virtues Series here on comshalom.org. Today we are going to talk about an addiction, called impurity, but also known as lust.
The infertile pleasure of lust
Lust is the disordered love of the flesh forbidden by the 6th and 9th commandments. Of the addictions, it is the most imperative and it has unfortunate consequences.
The Catechism teaches:
“Lust is a disorderly desire or an unrestrained enjoyment of venereal pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought after by itself, isolated from the purposes of procreation and union ”(CIC 2351).
A bridge to other evils
From impurity, innumerable sins are born, such as selfishness, jealousy, hatred, adultery. Jesus himself warns of the serious evils that arise from impurity:
“It is not what enters a man that makes him impure, but what comes out of him. Because from the heart come evil thoughts, deaths, adultery, fornication, thefts, false testimonies and blasphemies ”(Mt 15:11-19).
Lust in actions
There are several forms of luxurious acts. Today we bring here only three, masturbation, fornication and pornography. Regarding the three, we bring an excerpt from the Catechism:
1- Masturbation: This has become, for some years now, something considered ‘common’, both in men and women, especially young people.
It is taught, even in schools, as a person’s right and is encouraged, so that the student ‘knows’ and ‘enjoys’ his own body. But it is all a lie.
Masturbation is one of the most selfish and sad acts that exist, since man becomes the beginning, the middle and the end of his own pleasure; opposing the happy divine plan in which sexual pleasure, thought and wanted by God, was made to be enjoyed by spouses, in the celebration of love and communion that is the conjugal act.
Teaches the Catechism:
“Masturbation is understood as the voluntary stimulation of the genitals, to derive a sexual pleasure. In line with a constant tradition, both the Magisterium of the Church and the moral sense of the faithful have affirmed without hesitation that masturbation is an intrinsic and seriously disordered act. Whatever the reason, the deliberate use of the sexual faculty outside marriage contradicts its purpose, For here sexual pleasure is sought outside the sexual relationship which is required by the moral order, and in which the total meaning mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved”(CIC 2352).
The masturbatory act has nothing natural, since human nature was not created to live for itself, but to give itself to the other.
Just because there is the possibility of obtaining pleasure by manipulating your own body, doesn’t means that it was made for that (e.g. just because you have hands and the strength to kill, doesn’t mean that it is good to kill).
When it becomes an addiction, masturbation causes terrible consequences, on a spiritual, psychological and even biological level, such as premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction.
2- Fornication: the sexual act before marriage is seen by many as something ‘inevitable’ within a dating relationship; while for others it is considered necessary to get to ‘know the person’ well before getting married; for others it is just the ‘natural act’ of love, for which there is no need for a contract; for others it is just a moment of pleasure that you get at a party on a Saturday night, whether with someone you know or not, after all ‘everyone knows what they do with their body’.
Indeed, many experience fornication as something ‘normal’.
The greatest defense of fornication comes in the form of an attack against the matrimonial institution. It is presented as unnecessary or outdated.
However, you see that in all the arguments in favor of fornication, human beings are compared with animals, arguing that if animals maintain sexual intercourse in an indiscriminate way, why should human beings be different?
However, fornication consists in diminishing human sexual dignity into a pure matter while the bodily sexual union is diminished to a mere use of the genitals for the sake of pleasure. A truly devastating lie!
Sexual union is holy, for it was God who instituted it. Due to this sacredness, God did not want men to be related like animals driven by instincts, but he instituted the marriage union, in which the conjugal act can be lived with union of communion and love. Intimacy, mutual surrender, depth, fidelity, complicity, joy, true passion, are some of the factors that are only experienced in sexual intercourse within marriage, and which fornication cannot achieve, since this is only a momentary pleasure, inconstant and insecure.
The Catechism teaches about this:
“Fornication is the carnal unitizou between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of people and human sexuality, naturally ordered for the good of spouses, as well as for the generation and education of children. Furthermore, it is a serious scandal when there is corruption among young people. ” (CIC 2353)
3- Pornography: pornography is one of the largest markets in existence and the internet has made it much easier to spread.
The stimulation of sexual desire is the natural reaction of the human body to the images that awaken it. Let us remember that the senses are the door of the body (Mt 6:22).
This is not sinful in itself when thinking about the nakedness of Christian spouses, who stimulate the mutual desire that impels them to conjugal union. The sinfulness of lust is in malice and in the use of the other person for self-delight.
It generates great sins, such as rape, fornication and adultery, as we see in Sacred Scripture, when the two elders see Susana taking a bath and they desire her (Dn 13) or when David sees Uriah’s wife in the same situation (2 Sm 11).
Even if these acts are not committed externally, by voluntarily watching other people’s act of intimacy or fornication , the acts are then committed internally, which constitutes a serious sin against God and against the person being watched.
Jesus says that anyone who looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Mt 5:28).
Pornography destroys the dignity of those who are watching, but most of all it destroys the dignity of those who are on the other side of the camera. Even if the people watching are not physically touching their body, one way or another they are enjoying it, thus constituting a true act of prostitution.
By seeing another person’s act of intimacy, in some way and at a certain level, at least part of that other becomes mine, and it becomes fragmented. Let us imagine for a second just how fragmented the soul of a person whose naked body has been displayed and seen by thousands of people on the internet is.
There are even more extremes, in which true aberrations and depravities are sought by many who are no longer attracted by ‘conventional’ sex images. It is not uncommon to find websites offering images of sex with animals, things and even feces.
Watching pornography is not harmless. It destroys the soul and contributes to the slavery of many, many young people.
The Catechism teaches: “Pornography consists in removing sexual acts, real or simulated, from the intimacy of partners, in order to expose them to third parties, deliberately.”
It offends chastity, because it denatures the conjugal act, the intimate donation of spouses to each other. It is a serious attack on the dignity of the people involved (actors, traders, the public), since each one becomes for the other an object of vulgar pleasure and illicit profit. It plunges each other into the illusion of a fictional world. It is a serious sin.
“Civil authorities must prevent the production and distribution of pornographic material.” (CIC 2354)
In order for us to stop the addiction of lust, let us ask God for the grace of purity in our hearts. This is a favorable time for conversion.
Translation: Gabriela Gois