Related to the question: Is masturbation sinful?
John, a Catholic Christian, has a dialogue with Nathan, a Reformed Christian, about whether masturbation is sinful.
John: The Catholic Church teaches that masturbation is a grave matter, based on the belief that sexual pleasure should be experienced only within the context of marital love. The Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to it as an "intrinsically and gravely disordered action".
Nathan: As a Reformed pastor, our focus is on the guidance provided by the Bible. The Bible does not explicitly mention masturbation, however, some passages are used to guide the discussion such as Matthew 5:28 where Jesus speaks against lustful thoughts.
John: For Catholics, the understanding is also guided by the broader teaching about the purpose of human sexuality. The Church teaches that each sexual act should be open to the possibility of procreation, which is not possible with masturbation.
Nathan: From the Reformed perspective, while we don't have a specific doctrine on this, we also emphasize the importance of purity in thought and action, and discourage any sexual activity outside of marriage.
John: That seems to be a common ground, Nathan. However, it's important to note that in Catholic teaching, the culpability of an individual can be lessened due to factors like immaturity, habitual compulsion, and other psychological factors.
Nathan: In our tradition, we also believe in the grace and forgiveness of God. While we encourage believers to strive for holiness, we also acknowledge that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
John: It's a challenging topic, but ultimately, we encourage individuals to seek guidance from the Holy Spirit, and to make use of the sacraments for grace and strength.
Nathan: We also believe in the transformative power of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God. It's about a relationship with God and growing in holiness, rather than merely following rules.
John: Indeed. Despite our different traditions, our shared focus is on a deeper relationship with God and the pursuit of holiness.
Nathan: Yes, John. It's through these discussions that we can deepen our understanding and appreciate the diversity within the Christian tradition.