would the following statements be problematic?
Hi I did not know if this was the right sub-forum to post this thread in

I was given a book a while back on discerning the priesthood. The book is predominately about discerning the diocesan priesthood but can also be used for anyone in general that is discerning. The name of the book is called To Save A Thousand Souls.

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A while back I was reading this book since it was given to me. Overall it seems pretty good and gives good advice for those that are discerning the priesthood. However there is a particular section in one of the chapters that I find problematic. I don't know if it is actually heretical or if it might just be my understanding of moral theology.

In Chapter 13 of the book it talks about holiness and chastity specifically for those that are discerning the priesthood. The name of the Chapter is called Celibacy, Chastity, Charity and Cheerfulness.

The part of this chapter that I find problematic is when it starts talking about people discerning the priesthood that are struggling with masturbation (self-abuse). It states that obviously self-abuse is a sin of grave matter. It states that those who struggle with this type of thing also have the duty to strive for holiness and purity and to overcome this vice. However the chapter also states that those who fell into this sin, can still receive Holy Communion so long as they desire to go to confession as soon as possible. Is this not wrong? I am going to type the actual text of the section I have in mind below so that you can see it in full context and have a better idea:

In other words, even though masturbation is always a grave matter, every occurrence of masturbation in a young man's life is not necessarily a mortal sin. With this in mind, some spiritual directors recommend the following to some of their directees, if they fall by masturbating:

- Immediately try to make a perfect Act of Contrition: "Jesus, I am sorry for this sin and for all of my sins precisely because I love You and you deserve all of my love. This is the greatest motivation for my sorrow. I am sorry because I love you."

- Believe that God has truly forgiven the sin of self-abuse as a result of your perfect Act of Contrition, and that you are restored to a state of grace, if the sin was mortal.

- Receive Holy Communion with love when attending Mass (hopefully on a daily basis), even if you have not been able to get to Confession since your sin

- Understand that, even though God has forgiven your sin, you will still have to go to Confession in order to be reconciled with your Church. Going to weekly Confession should be part of your spiritual plan of life. Confess this sin with your other sins weekly whenever it is committed.

With regard to receiving Holy Communion after the sin of masturbation, your spiritual director or confessor will need to be consulted. Canon 916 of the Code of Canon Law indicates that Holy Communion should not be received when conscious of grave sin without prior sacramental Confession unless a grave reason is present and there is no opportunity of confessing. In this case, the canon says that a person can make a perfect act of contrition with the intention of confession as soon as possible. Your spiritual director or regular confessor knows your soul and is the best person to help judge if the grave matter of masturbation is in fact a mortal sin in your case. He is also aware of the conditions mentioned above that can lessen the culpability of a man with regard this sin, and he will guide you in this matter.

Is it true that self-abuse is not always mortal?  Also how about what the book says regarding being able to receive Holy Communion even if you did fall into this sin, even if it was mortal so long as you did a perfect act of contrition and you desire to go to confession?
Yes, it is true that it is not always mortal.  Although it is grave matter, a mortal sin requires full consent of the will.  In cases where this full consent is lacking, it would be a venial sin.  For example, if it is a matter of habit or addiction, then the force of this habit can reduce culpability.  Similarly, any situation in which the ability to give a full and deliberate consent of the will is jeopardised, culpability can be reduced. (CCC 2352)

As for whether a person in such a condition should receive Holy Communion, it truly depends on the individual circumstances and is best discussed with his confessor.  If the person is certain that it is not mortal due to circumstances beyond his control (for example, a habit which occurs only in his sleep, such that it would be impossible for him to give full and deliberate consent towards the act), then he would not be wrong to still receive Holy Communion, though he would be prudent still to seek absolution when possible.
I've heard good things about this book, but it seems a bit imprudent to me for the book to recommend this.  The exceptions should really be determined on a case-by-case basis and by a spiritual director or confessor who knows the person well.  Normally, a person should go to confession first.  You don't have to receive communion every time you go to Mass, and you can go to confession as often as you need and as time allows.  If scrupulosity is becoming a problem, a good confessor can help with that far better than a good book.

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