But if you take pleasure in committing even a slight sin, which you know to be a sin, and you do so trusting to your own abstinence and presuming on grace, without doing penance and reparation for it, know that it can become a mortal sin. Accordingly, if some sinful pleasure of any kind comes into your mind, you should right away think about where it is heading and repent.
“… God hates nothing so much as when you know you have sinned but do not care, trusting to your other meritorious actions, as if, because of them, God would put up with your sin, as if he could not be glorified without you, or as if he would let you do something evil with his permission, seeing all the good deeds you have done, since, even if you did a hundred good deeds for each wicked one, you still would not be able to pay God back for his goodness and love. So, then, maintain a rational fear of God and, even if you cannot prevent these thoughts, then at least bear them patiently and use your will to struggle against them. You will not be condemned because of their entering your head, unless you take pleasure in them, since it is not within your power to prevent them.
“Again, maintain your fear of God in order not to fall through pride, even though you do not consent to the thoughts. Anyone who stands firm stands by the power of God alone. Thus fear of God is like the gateway into heaven. Many there are who have fallen headlong to their deaths, because they cast off the fear of God and were then ashamed to make a confession before men, although they had not been ashamed to sin before God. Therefore, I shall refuse to absolve the sin of a person who has not cared enough to ask my pardon for a small sin. In this manner, sins are increased through habitual practice, and a venial sin that could have been pardoned through contrition becomes a serious one through a person’s negligence and scorn, as you can deduce from the case of this soul who has already been condemned.
“After having committed a venial and pardonable sin, he augmented it through habitual practice, trusting to his other good works, without thinking that I might take lesser sins into account. Caught in a net of habitual and inordinate pleasure, his soul neither corrected nor curbed his sinful intention, until the time for his sentencing stood at the gates and his final moment was approaching. This is why, as the end approached, his conscience was suddenly agitated and painfully afflicted because he was soon to die and he was afraid to lose the little, temporary good he had loved. Up until a sinner’s final moment God abides him, waiting to see if he is going to direct his free will away from his attachment to sin.
“However, if a soul’s will is not corrected, that soul is then confined by an end without end. What happens is that the devil, knowing that each person will be judged according to his conscience and intention, labors mightily at the end of life to distract the soul and turn it away from rectitude of intention, and God allows it to happen, since the soul refused to remain vigilant when it ought to have...” (The Revelations of St. Bridget of Sweden, Book 3, Chapter 19)
Again, Our Lord’s words are crystal clear: a deliberate venial sin becomes a mortal sin if it’s done with an intention of persevering in it. Our Lord also explained that even a slight sin without an intention of persevering in it “can become a mortal sin” if a person does not do “penance and reparation for it” and if they don’t feel any sorrow for their sin. But why? Jesus goes on to explain that as well, saying that “sins are increased through habitual practice” and that “a venial sin that could have been pardoned through contrition becomes a serious one through a person’s negligence and scorn, as you can deduce from the case of this soul who has already been condemned.” He then proceeds to describe this sorrowful and condemned person that tragically was living in sin even until death: “After having committed a venial and pardonable sin, he augmented [increased] it through habitual practice” and “Caught in a net of habitual and inordinate pleasure, his soul neither corrected nor curbed his sinful intention, until the time for his sentencing stood at the gates and his final moment was approaching.”
Considering all of the above, what then does God think of married couples who come together in the marital act in sinful lust and concupiscence and about those who work on inflaming their sinful lust rather than quieting it?
“They seek a warmth and sexual lust that will perish and love flesh that will be eaten by worms. … When the couple comes to bed, my Spirit leaves them immediately and the spirit of impurity approaches instead, because they only come together for the sake of lust and do not discuss or think about anything else with each other. … Such a married couple will never see my face unless they repent. For there is no sin so heavy or grave that penitence and repentance does not wash it away.” (Jesus Christ speaking to St. Bridget, in the Revelations of St. Bridget, Book 1, Chapter 26)
As we can see, Jesus Christ views such foul, impure spouses as described above as eternally condemned. Therefore, a couple may not do anything before, during or after the procreative act that is against the primary or secondary purpose of marriage: the begetting of children, and the quieting of concupiscence.
So contrary to modern day notion and common opinion (even amongst those who dare to call themselves by the name of Catholic and who should live like angels), a husband and wife are never allowed to “help” themselves with their hands or do other things to enhance their lust and in this way make themselves “ready” before the act as they so call it and their shameful and sinful excuse is. If a couple really believes in God they should pray to God before coming together and God will hear their prayers and make them ready without any further need by the couple to inflame their lust in a sinful way. Lubricants are of course also acceptable and the non-sinful and honorable way to use if there is a problem to complete the marital act. However, lubricants that increase sexual pleasure and that now are being manufactured and sold are of course totally unacceptable.
Likewise, if a woman was not able to quiet her concupiscence before the completion of the procreative act, it is unlawful for her (or her husband) to help herself afterwards. If husband and wife engage in unlawful activities such as masturbation, oral sex, or any other unnecessary or non-procreative evil act, they always commit a mortal sin. Barren couples and people with defects or old age still fulfills the primary end of marriage through normal intercourse by being open to conception and desiring children and not being against conception if it should occur. Husband and wife are forbidden to indulge in all unnecessary sexual acts, that is, to masturbate themselves or their spouse or to fondle with their hands in improper, shameful bodily places (like the genital and breast area) and in this way enhance their lust. Masturbation, lewd or sensual kisses and touches is as forbidden during the procreative act as it is at any other time for any person. To avoid falling into mortal sin, a good husband and wife must learn to pray to God for relief in their concupiscence and lust. (The Most Holy Rosary is also the best weapon to use in order to conquer the Devil’s temptations.) If a pious couple really wants help from God, He will help them and remove the concupiscence and sinful lust from them. It is also many times necessary to offer up penances to God like fasting and eating less tasty food in order to acquire this goal. These small penances coupled with spiritual reading and prayer will help a couple to stem their sinful inclinations, as long as they stay out of mortal and venial sins.
God almost never allows sinners to be freed from their attachment to sin unless they first offer up “penance and reparation for it.” Our Lord is crystal clear that penance is a great necessity for freeing the soul from the bondage of sin.
Jesus Christ speaking to St. Bridget: “But if you take pleasure in committing even a slight sin, which you know to be a sin, and you do so trusting to your own abstinence and presuming on grace, without doing penance and reparation for it, know that it can become a mortal sin.” (St. Bridget’s Revelations, Book 3, Chapter 19)
It is also of the greatest importance that husband and wife are not influenced by the evil and demonic teachings that are rampant in the secular world – even amongst those who dare to call themselves “Catholic” or “traditional Catholic”, or even worse, “Priest” or “Bishop”. These perverted people will tell you things such as, “that almost nothing is wrong in the marital act as long as the primary purpose of the act was achieved at some point. Whatever happens before, during or afterwards, was part of that act and is therefore licit and permitted.”This statement, as we have seen, is clearly false and have been thoroughly refuted by the teaching of Pope Pius XI that condemns all non-procreative sexual acts, as well as from the teaching of Pope Innocent XI that condemns the heretical idea that the marital act performed for pleasure only is without any fault or venial defect.
In truth, all men and women of good will can of course see that the words of Holy Scripture – that prophesies and directly describes our lamentable, evil time where almost universal perversion rules all of society – has been directly fulfilled to the letter by those who hold such perverted views concerning the marital sexual act. “Knowing this first, that in the last days there shall come deceitful scoffers, walking after their own lusts...” (2 Peter 3:3) “Now the Spirit manifestly saith, that in the last times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to spirits of error, and doctrines of devils, Speaking lies in hypocrisy, and having their conscience seared...” (1 Timothy 4:1-2)
Anyone therefore that agrees with or acts upon the teachings of such demonically inspired people will lose their souls, since they are rejecting the natural law that God has imprinted on their hearts, which tells them that such activities are inherently wrong, evil, selfish, unnecessary, and above all, shameful. “For the things that are done by them in secret are shameful, even to mention.” (Ephesians 5:12)
Some pleasures are intrinsically evil and hence always forbidden
That some pleasures are intrinsically evil is taught by the Natural Law and by the positive laws of God’s Church. Certain sins give a pleasure unique to themselves and hence are intrinsically evil pleasures. This is attested to in the following verse: “The discourse of sinners is hateful, and their laughter is at the pleasures of sin.” (Ecclesiasticus 27:14) For instance, the pleasure one gets from murdering a man is an intrinsically evil pleasure. The pleasure one gets from demeaning and degrading someone who is not as smart or rich or physically attractive as oneself is an intrinsically evil pleasure. The pleasure one gets from enjoying riotous assemblies is an intrinsically evil pleasure. “Take no pleasure in riotous assemblies, be they ever so small: for their consternation is continual.” (Ecclesiasticus 18:32) The love of money is an intrinsically evil pleasure. “There is not a more wicked thing than to love money.” (Ecclesiasticus 10:10) The pleasure one gets from mind-altering drugs such as LSD or marijuana is an intrinsically evil pleasure just as getting drunk is. When I was trying to convert a young boy, he told me that marijuana is good because God created it and it makes him feel good. I told him that God also created poison and some poisons taste good and may make you feel good for a while but will nevertheless kill you. This example applies perfectly to sexual pleasure because to some it tastes and feels good for a while but it surely kills the soul if not fought against and controlled.
King Solomon is a good example of what happens to a man who doesn’t fight against bad pleasures and that lets himself get overcome by them. Today, sad to say, most people act in the precise same way as King Solomon did, for they do not fight against or resist any of the temptations that they are tempted with, whether lawful or unlawful, but commit them without any shame or scruple or pangs of conscience whatsoever. Carnal temptations led Solomon into mortal sins of immorality which led him into mortal sins of idolatry and apostasy: “And whatsoever my eyes desired, I refused them not: and I withheld not my heart from enjoying every pleasure, and delighting itself in the things which I had prepared: and esteemed this my portion, to make use of my own labour.” (Ecclesiastes 2:10) In truth, Pope St. Gregory the Great explains in his Moral Reflections 7:7 that “Immoderate relations with women led Solomon into idolatry. His immoderate relations with and devotion to women brought Solomon to such a state that he built a temple to idols. Indeed he was so addicted to lust and reduced to such infidelity that he did not fear to construct a temple to idols before constructing a temple to God.” (Gratian, Medieval Marriage Law, Case Thirty-Two, Question IV, Part 4, C. 13)
The Fall and Original Sin of Adam and Eve is the origin and cause of fleshly lusts and sexual desires
From where comes this fleshly lust, this momentary pleasure of the flesh that so deceives us and tempts us to commit sins and excesses of various sorts? It came after Adam and Eve committed the Original Sin—after their sin of disobedience against God and His Law in the garden of Eden.
The Holy Bible expressly reveals that Original Sin and thus all the temptations and defects that we now all experience and are plagued with entered the world and became a part of all Adam’s children (and descendants) because of Adam’s first sin, and that by this sin death followed, passing upon all Adam’s children and posterity for all generations to come: “Wherefore as by one man [Adam] sin entered into this world, and by sin death; and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned.” (Romans 5:12) The only thing that saves us from this sure death is the blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of Baptism that washes away the stain or guilt of Original Sin, but not its effect. In truth, “for as by the disobedience of one man [Adam], many were made sinners; so also by the obedience of One [Our Lord Jesus Christ], many shall be made just.” (Romans 5:19) God’s Holy Word not only makes clear the fact that death entered the world because of Adam’s transgression or first sin, but it also makes clear that sin entered the world because of him—thus passing upon all men.
The Church of course understood from the beginning that all our fleshly lusts and desires (whether inside or outside of marriage), arose as a direct result and evil effect of the sin of Adam and Eve, and that is why the Papal Magisterium and the Saints unanimously teach this doctrine of the Christian Faith.
St. Augustine, City of God, Book XIV, Chapter 12 (c. 426 A.D.): “… lust, which only afterwards sprung up as the penal consequence of [the original] sin, the iniquity of violating it was all the greater in proportion to the ease with which it might have been kept.”
St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Genesis 18:12: “‘Now, Adam had intercourse with his wife Eve.’ Consider when this happened. After their disobedience, after their loss of the Garden, then it was that the practice of intercourse had its beginning. You see, before their disobedience they followed a life like that of the angels, and there was no mention of intercourse. How could there be, when they were not subject to the needs of the body? So at the outset and from the beginning the practice of virginity was in force, but when through their indifference disobedience came on the scene and the ways of sin were opened, virginity took its leave for the reason that they had proved unworthy of such a degree of good things, and in its place the practice of intercourse took over for the future.”
St. Jerome: “Eve in paradise was a virgin… understand that virginity is natural and that marriage comes after the Fall.” (Quoted in Honest to Man: p. 120 by Margaret Knight)
St. Jerome, Against Jovinianus 1:16, A.D. 393: “And as regards Adam and Eve we must maintain that before the fall they were virgins in Paradise: but after they sinned, and were cast out of Paradise, they were immediately married.”
St. John Damascene (c. 676-749 A.D.): “Adam and Eve were created sexless; their sin in Eden led to the horrors of sexual reproduction. If only our earliest progenitors had obeyed God, we would be procreating less sinfully now.”
St. Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215 A.D.): “… the first man of our race did not await the appropriate time, desiring the favor of marriage before the proper hour and he fell into sin by not waiting the time of God’s will… they [Adam and Eve] were impelled to do it before the normal time because they were still young and were persuaded by deception.” (The Stromata or Miscellanies, On Marriage XIV:94, XVII:102-103)
St. Augustine, City of God, Book 14, Chapter 26 (c. 426 A.D.): “In Eden, it would have been possible to beget offspring without foul lust. The sexual organs would have been stimulated into necessary activity by will-power alone, just as the will controls other organs. Then, without being goaded on by the allurement of passion, the husband could have relaxed upon his wife’s breasts with complete peace of mind and bodily tranquility, that part of his body not activated by tumultuous passion, but brought into service by the deliberate use of power when the need arose, the seed dispatched into the womb with no loss of his wife’s virginity. So, the two sexes could have come together for impregnation and conception by an act of will, rather than by lustful cravings.”
St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Genesis 15:14: “… the consummation of that intercourse occurred after the fall; up till that time they were living like angels in paradise and so were not burning with desire, not assaulted by other passions, not subject to the needs of nature; on the contrary, they were created incorruptible and immortal, and on that account at any rate they had no need to wear clothes.”
God had originally created the sexual act between man and woman to be a perfect act of love for God through mutual devotion and union of the flesh without any shameful lust. The act would have been no more pleasing to the flesh than a hug or caress, and childbirth was not to be painful. The emphasis on the flesh, both the momentary pleasure during the act and the pain during childbirth, are evil effects of Adam and Eve’s original sin. After Adam and Eve committed the original sin they covered their private parts indicating shame and that a violation had occurred in this area not intended by God: “and when they perceived themselves to be naked, they sewed together fig leaves, and made themselves aprons.” (Genesis 3:7) This strange sensation that Adam and Eve experienced, this momentary fleshly pleasure, was at the same time very shameful, something alien to them, to which they sensed a loss of control over their own bodies. “Hence, it happened that the defilements which flowed into the nature of man from Adam’s sin, especially the infirmity of the will and the unbridled desires of the soul, survive in man.” (Pope Pius XI, Divini illius magistri; Denzinger 2212)
After the fall, the sexual act became shameful and disordered since the will to produce offspring had to compete with the will of self-gratification. This quick, momentary pleasure during the sexual act placed the excitation of the flesh at the center of attention instead of the true cause, which is the love of God and the procreation of a child. Satan always promises a quick thrill while death lies underneath. Circumcision which brings pain where a pleasure never belonged is an external sign that God reclaimed dominion over those that faithfully bore it, so that the devil may not tempt them with lust.
The pleasure of the marital act was to be purely spiritual, the joy of bringing a godly child into the world who can be loved and return love, who would be a source of joy, comfort, and aid. The whole focus of attention during the marital act was to solely be the love of God and the joy of bringing a godly child into their family and the world. “For, if man had not sinned, union would have been like the union of other bodily members and would have been without the fervor and itching of pleasure just like the union of other members is. For member would have been joined to member… just like a slate to a slate.” (Gratian, On Marriage 32.2.2) Since the fall of Adam and Eve, however, the deep, spiritual love of God and of bringing a soul, a human being, into the world, had to compete with the pleasure of the flesh. It is a misplaced and inordinate pleasure that distracts from the true intention of why the marital act should be performed, and it is selfish in nature, because gratification of the flesh had entered a realm where it does not belong. The motive of bringing a child into the world had to compete with the motive of self-gratification of the flesh. Spouses who allow the motive of self-gratification (fleshly lust) to usurp the motive of pleasing God and of bringing a child into the world will be infected with the sin of self-love. They will not be able to truly love God, their children, or even themselves. “Men shall be… lovers of pleasure more than of God.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
One can accurately describe sexual lust and concupiscence as a cancer that started to grow in humankind at the moment that sin entered into creation. Yet many deluded and lust filled souls that live today have fooled themselves and others into believing that sexual lust inside of marriage is something good and praiseworthy, instead of something dangerous and abnormal—dangerous since it tempts us into committing sins of the flesh—abnormal since it is an evil product of original sin. These people say that one of the purposes of marriage is so that they can have sex in order to inflame their fleshly lust and that marital relations is a sign of true love between the man and the wife (as if staying chaste would be a sign of not loving each other) and that spouses are allowed to have as much sexual pleasure as they can when they have marital relations as long as they do not prevent conception. They even go so far as to say that provoking the flesh by foreplay, masturbation or fondling with the hands in improper bodily places is according to God’s will. They think that sexual pleasure is a gift from God intended to satisfy them, when it in fact is an evil product of the fall. Marital relations, however, is to be used for the love, honor and glory of God by bringing into the world godly children.
Sex was never intended by God to please or ease mankind’s lust since He willed spouses to perform the act solely with the intention of raising godly children for the love and honor of His holy name, and sexual temptations and the sexual lust didn’t even exist before the fall of Adam and Eve. After the fall however, and due to the weakness and frailty of the flesh, spouses are not forbidden to consider the secondary ends of marriage (such as the quieting of concupiscence) “so long as they are subordinated to the primary end [that is, procreation of children] and so long as the intrinsic nature of the act is preserved” but only in so far as to avoid something worse. St. Jerome explains it well: “Thus it must be bad to touch a woman. If indulgences is nonetheless granted to the marital act, this is only to avoid something worse. But what value can be recognized in a good that is allowed only with a view of preventing something worse?”
The Holy Bible itself could not be more clear that God wants us to perform the marital act only for the love and sole motive of begetting children: “And now, Lord, thou knowest, that