Frequently Asked Questions
Why does God have so many rules about our sexuality?
Sometimes we think of God as a big bully in the sky who has all these rules that we need to follow, and if we don’t, then He punishes is. This is not who God is!
Imagine a basketball game. A basketball court has boundaries that you aren’t allowed to cross, and the game has rules that the players must follow. What would happen if we took all the rules away, and allowed the players to do anything they wanted? They could run around with the ball without dribbling; they could use violence against the other team; they could decide that making a basket is worth 27 points. Would this game go well? No! Why? Because the game needs boundaries and rules for it to go smoothly. Without them, everything is chaos.
It’s the same with our lives. God has given us rules and boundaries, not to enslave us and steal our fun, but because He knows what will make us happy! The One who created us knows best what will make us happy, and He knows what will make us unhappy. The rules and boundaries He gives are meant to lead us to happiness, and protect us from becoming unhappy. His rules about our sexuality are meant to lead us to true love and freedom.
Is masturbation a sin?
Yes. Why? Not because God wants to keep us from experiencing pleasure. God knows that masturbation will not lead us to happiness or true love. It does not fulfill the purposes for which God created our sexuality.
When someone masturbates, they are taking one of the greatest gifts that God has given us – our ability to work with God to create new life – and they are wasting it. They are taking an amazing, powerful gift, and using it all for their selfish gain. Imagine if Superman or Wonder Woman used their superpowers only for their own good, and not for others. This is what someone does when they masturbate.
Masturbation teaches us to be selfish. It teaches us that we can’t control my sexual desires. Is this going to help us if/when we have a boyfriend/girlfriend or spouse? If we can’t say no to our sexual urges, how will we be able to say no to our desires when we are married and another attractive, funny, amazing person appears in our life?
Masturbation does not make us free. It is addicting (as I’m sure you’ve realized if you’ve ever tried to quit). But if we can’t say no, then we am not in control. Our sexual desires are controlling us. And if we use our own sexual organs as a means to bring ourselves pleasure, then it will be very easy for us to use our boyfriend/girlfriend in the same way.
So, yes, masturbation is a sin. Why? Because it teaches us to be selfish and to use other people. And it will not lead us to true love or authentic happiness.
Is watching pornography a sin? I’m not hurting anyone else.
Yes. Watching pornography is always a sin. But why? I’m not hurting anyone else, right?
As a matter of fact, you are. Pornography hurts:
Porn hurts you. Porn trains you to be selfish. It teaches you to seek to fulfill your sexual desires whenever they arise. If we turn to porn every time we have a sexual desire, then our desires are in control of us, rather than the other way around. It’s as if we are in the back seat of a car while our desires are in the driver’s seat. Many studies have proven that porn acts like a drug, in much the same way as cocaine or alcohol, quickly leading to addiction and even changing one’s brain structure (There is a lot of great proof of this at www.fightthenewdrug.com).
Porn hurts others. It teaches us to view others as an object to be used, not as a person to be loved. What if you were watching porn, and you came across a video with your sister in it. How would you feel? Disgusted? Sad? Angry? Why? Because you know your sister as a person. You know her family, her friends, her hopes and dreams. But when we watch porn, we don’t care about the person on the other side of the screen. We don’t see them as a person. We only value them by how much lust they can generate within me. We see them as an object. Once we are trained to see others as a objects, we will inevitably begin to treat them as objects, even in small ways. And this hurts people.
Watching porn also trains us to be unfaithful. When we watch porn, we don’t just watch one video. We watch one, then after we get bored we move on to another, and another, and another. Porn teaches us that when we get bored with one person, one relationship, we can just move on to another. And if we get bored after two minutes watching someone with a perfect body, how can we expect that, in marriage, one person (who doesn’t have a perfect body) will satisfy us “until death do us part?” Divorce rates double if one spouse starts watching porn in a marriage. Watching porn will inevitably hurt our future spouse and family.
Finally, pornography hurts society. As people watch pornography, training themselves in infidelity and to view others as objects, they are destroying their ability to have a strong, healthy family. If millions and millions of people are watching pornography, then this means millions of unstable families are being created, where husbands and wives use each other for physical and emotional pleasure, and struggle to remain faithful to their vows. Unstable and broken families lead to many personal and social difficulties. Broken families lead to a broken culture. So, pornography is literally destroying our world, and is an evil that we need to fight against!
How can I forgive?
It is human to commit an error or a mistake or to do wrong because we are not perfect beings. But we are made in the image and likeness of God, and we are called to forgive as He forgives us.
To forgive is a choice. Forgiveness is not about emotion. “But I don’t feel like I’ve forgiven them,” you may say. Forgiveness goes deeper than the emotions. It is an act of the will, a decision. To forgive, all I need to do is come before God and sincerely say, “In the name of Jesus, I forgive (name) for (the thing that hurt you).” Only in Jesus’ name can we truly forgive, because He is the one that won us this ability by dying for us on the cross. Maybe we won’t feel any different emotionally, but by God’s grace, our will and intelligence can overcome our emotions.
Forgiveness is not about the other person deserving to be forgiven. We can forgive even if the other person doesn’t ask for forgiveness, or even admit that they have done something wrong. Forgiveness is a pure gift. It says, “I will no longer treat you based on what you did to me. I will no longer see you based on the wounds you have caused me.” It has been said that “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” To hold on to unforgiveness hurts no one but yourself. The bitterness and resentment that unforgiveness can cause in you do not hurt the other person. When you forgive you set the other person free, and you are set free in the process!
It is also important to realize that you have done many things that require forgiveness. And most important, we need to remember that every time we sin, we hurt God. And how does God treat us? With mercy, with love, with forgiveness. Let us forgive others, because we have been forgiven!
How can I live chastity?
Living chastity is not easy. In fact, it is impossible – by our own strength! But thankfully, God gives us the gift of chastity if we ask it of Him. So, here are some tips on how we can live out this virtue:
The first step to living chastity is prayer! Chastity is a grace from God, and we must ask Him for it! We cannot be chaste through our own human efforts. We need the grace of God. We need to regularly pray for chastity, and ask God's help every time we are in the midst of temptation.
Confession is a gift from God. As we try to be faithful to chastity, we may stumble and fall many times. In confession, we receive God’s forgiveness, a new start, a new purity. We meet Jesus face to face in the person of the priest, and receive Jesus’ mercy.
The Eucharist is Jesus’ true Body and Blood. Every time we attend Mass, we receive the great grace of Jesus living inside of us. He will give us the victory over our struggles, just as He was victorious over sin and death through His cross and resurrection.
Coming before Jesus in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is also an extremely powerful way to draw closer to Jesus. The closer we draw to Jesus, the more we will desire to fight for purity and true love.
3). Surround ourselves with good people:
Choose friends that will help you live a chaste life. Do you want what’s best for your friends? Of course! And what is the absolute best thing for them? To get to heaven. Help your friends get to heaven, and choose friends that will help you to get there!
4) Be attentive to what we watch/listen to:
What do we do in our free time? Fill your life with good things: play sports, learn to play a musical instrument, study a language. This will help you to stay away from temptation.
What are you filling your mind with? If we are constantly filling our eyes with sexual images and our ears with unchaste words, we can be sure that this will reach into our hearts as well. Try cutting out all forms of entertainment (movies, books, online games, etc.) that portray lies about our sexuality. These things will not lead you to freedom or true love.
5) Have someone you trust that you can share with:
It is important to have someone with authority (parents, siblings, teacher, kuya/ate) that you trust and you can talk to when you are struggling or you have important questions.
6) Have healthy boundaries:
Boundaries are essential for living a life of purity. If you are in a relationship, set clear boundaries: We will not be alone together after 11pm; we will not hang out in my bedroom alone, etc. Keep in mind that that person isn't truly yours until marriage. What if my current boyfriend/girlfriend eventually marries someone else, or becomes a priest or a nun! He/She is my brother/sister in Christ, and if we don’t end up together, I can proudly say that I helped that person to live his/her future vocation chastely.
7) It starts with your thoughts:
Purity starts in our thoughts. It is possible for us to stay away from impure actions, while our thoughts are still impure. We need to try to fight impure thoughts whenever they come! For example, if you see a beautiful woman/man in the street that causes you temptation, don’t look back a second time! When impure thoughts do come, thank Jesus for the beauty of the other person, pray for them, ask for Jesus’ help, and then let the thought pass.
What physical boundaries should I have in a relationship?
Setting boundaries in a relationship is not just a list of NO’s in order to avoid sin. In a relationship, the goal is to truly love the other person and to help them get to heaven. Choosing to remain pure is about guarding our heart, mind, and body, as well as our girlfriend’s or boyfriend’s in order to love them truly. When we look at our boyfriend/girlfriend in a lustful way, we are already using them for our own pleasure. We need to look at the other person as someone to love, not someone to be used for our own sake.
Sometimes in a relationship, we want to show our beloved how much we love them through our bodies. It is easy for our emotions and passions to get carried away. In a relationship, we should ask ourselves three questions: Can we do this in broad daylight in front of our parents? Am I leading this person to holiness or to sin? If my future spouse is doing this with another person, how would I feel?
Affection is good – holding hands, a hug, a loving kiss; but anything leading to arousal should wait until marriage, where we can express through our bodies—with the blessing of God—the vow to give ourselves totally to the other. To be specific, this means that anything more than an affectionate kiss – even passionate kissing – should be reserved for marriage. The question should not be, “How far can I go with this person,” but rather, “How can I truly love this person, guard their heart, and help them to grow in holiness.”
How do I move on, or forget someone who hurt me?
It’s never easy to move on or forget someone. Everyone grieves differently. So, don’t feel pressured, and don’t rush. It is okay to feel hurt. It is okay to cry. Being in touch with what you feel will help you discover your inner strengths and struggles. Take it one day at a time. Allow yourself to fully experience the pain because the truth is, there is no shortcut in moving on.
Moving on is a decision that I have to make. If seeing the person all the time will only trigger my emotional attachments, cut contact. It is hard, but it is possible. It is a good time to strengthen other friendships. Family and trusted friends will be with you in this journey. Meet new people, pursue new hobbies. You have an awesome life to live.
It can be hard to forget the person or the situation totally. Some things will remain in your heart and mind. Be grateful for what the relationship has taught you, the good times you shared. Give thanks to God for that person and for allowing you time on this journey with him or her. Forgiving the person will help you be free; free of the things that hinder you from moving forward.
Offer everything in prayer. At the times when it is hardest for you, turn to the Lord. He has good plans for you.
And remember: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted” (Ps. 34:18). He is with you, and you are infinitely loved by Him.
What should I do if I have a friend who struggles with depression?
Be there present, just to listen. Sometimes we just need someone to be there for us to listen when our problems are getting overwhelming. You may not always know how to show your concern, but being there means a lot. No need to give them advice. Just be there to listen.
At the end of listening to your friend, you may invite him/her to pray with you. Say a prayer out loud for them. Include your friend in your daily prayers.
Always try to reach out. Never let them feel that they are a burden, and remind them that it is your joy to be there for them.
For more tips, watch this video:
Am I useless?
No, you are not useless! You are God’s child. That means that God wanted you to be born. That means that God loves you no matter what. You do not have to be smart for God to love you. You do not have to be pretty for God to love you. You don’t have to be useful for God to love you. God even loves us when we hurt Him.
Why does a parent love their baby? A baby can’t do anything useful! It’s not smart, helpful, or talented. A parent loves their baby because it exists, and because it is theirs! The same is true with God. He loves you because you exist, and because you are His.
God loved us so much that came down to earth to be with us. Jesus came down so He could take on all of our pain, all of our suffering, and so He could pay for all of our sins. Jesus did that so that you could be with Him in heaven someday, because He loves you so much. I would encourage you that whenever you are feeling down, sad, or useless to sit in silence for at least 5 minutes and ask Jesus for help. Jesus is always there waiting for you.
Check out this video:
Why is love/life so unfair?
It’s a hard lesson to learn that life is unfair. Some people are rich, some are poor. Some people have many friends, some people have no friends. While life might be unfair in some ways, we can also say life is very fair. Why? Because God loves each and every single one of us. No matter what our situation, no matter if we are rich, poor, handsome, ugly, saint or sinner, God loves us the same.
And because God loves us, God gave us the freedom to deny Him. God did this because without freedom, we cannot love. Just like Adam and Eve, we daily choose to deny God, the source of all Life, Love, Peace, and Joy. We forget Him, ignore Him, and even sin against Him. When we do this, it causes all kinds of pain, suffering, and injustice in our world. Many things in life are unfair because we (and others) use our free will to choose things that are against God’s plan.
But God can bring good even out of evil! What was the greatest evil that ever happened in the history of the world? We killed God. And what did God do? He saved us and offered us eternal life! God can and will bring good out of the evil in our own lives as well. But we also need to do what we can to make this happen.
As much as we would love this world to be perfect, it is not. The sooner we accept that life is hard, the sooner we will be at peace. We can be calm when trial and suffering come. We were not made for this world. We are made for heaven, where there will be no more suffering or pain!
Watch this video for more help:
Is Being Gay a Sin?
Before we talk about sin, let’s talk about identity. My true identity is that I am a son or daughter of God. God loves me as His child. He loves me if I am ugly, He loves me if I have a same-sex attraction, God even loves me if I sin against Him. I am not defined by my attractions. So, the attractions I have are just attractions, nothing more.
Because we live in a fallen world, we all have disordered attractions. Some people are attracted to do drugs. This is not a good attraction, but the attraction does not make me bad, and the attraction itself is not a sin. If I am attracted to someone of the same sex, this is not a good attraction, but again, I am not bad, and the attraction is not a sin.
Sin comes in when I decide to act on these disordered attractions. If I am attracted to someone of the same sex and I decide to date them or do sexual things with them, yes, I have sinned. To act on my same-sex attraction is not God’s plan for my life. God wants me to be happy, and for us to be happy, we need to follow God’s laws, because God’s laws are there to make us happy.
Many young people go through a phase where they feel attracted to members of the same sex. This does not make you weird. But studies show that more than 70% of teens who report having same-sex romantic attractions later claim to be heterosexual. The world will tell you to give in to your feelings, to act on them, to experiment sexually based on your feelings. But this leads to much deeper sexual confusion. The majority of those who experience same-sex attractions will eventually gain confidence in their heterosexuality.
But what if I don’t “become straight”? Does this mean I either follow the Church and live a life of loneliness, or I ignore the Church and live in sin? Thankfully, no! You were created to love and to be loved! This is your purpose, and that doesn’t change if you have same-sex attraction.
We can live without sex, but we cannot live without love, with friendship and intimacy. If you have these attractions, you are called to love. You are called to develop beautiful and meaningful friendships; you are called to make a difference in this world, through your work, your gifts and talents. You are called to be a saint, to love God and be united to Him!
The Catholic Church and we at Pure Heart Philippines do not judge you. The Church is your home! She loves you. We love you. We respect you and we want you to be happy in heaven someday.
Watch this video for more great answers:
And check out this website for more information on questions dealing with same-sex attraction:
What if my parents are not proud of me? What if my parents don't love me?
Our parents are human. We cannot expect them to be ideal or perfect. Since our parents are not perfect, they all fail to love us in different ways. Some of us may feel that our parents are not proud of us. Some of us may feel unwanted, neglected, ignored, unrecognized. Some of us may feel little or no love at all from them.
It may be true. It may not be true. Sometimes our perceptions are false and we can misinterpret our parents' behavior. Due to their own wounds and difficulties during childhood, it may be difficult for them to express their love and approval, when in fact they are proud of us and truly love us.
Firstly, we need to accept our parents as they are. If we are always looking at their faults, what they lack, and comparing them to others or to an ideal, we will never be at peace. Yes, they are not perfect. But I can still choose to accept them and love them.
It is also important to communicate. Try to understand your parents. Ask them about their lives, about their own childhood, about their parents. This may help you to better understand why they act the way they do. Have a real conversation and tell them when they hurt you (When you did this, it made me feel like this). Communication can lead to clarity, forgiveness, and healing.
Still, it can be very painful when we feel loved, unwanted, or unsupported by our parents. God has given us parents to care for us, to guide us, and to let us know that we are unconditionally loved. If my parents do not provide that, then ask God to send you an Ate/Kuya who can provide this love and support that you need.
Ultimately, the only one who can fulfill our need for love is the one who created us. God is our real parent, our Father. If we feel a lack of love from our parents, God never stops loving us. As it says in the Bible: “Can a mother forget her infant? Even should she forget, I will never forget you. See, upon the palms of my hands I have engraved you” (Isaiah 49:15-16). And, “Even if my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will take me in” (Psalm 27:10).
God is proud of you. God loves you so much He sent His only begotten Son to die for us so that we could be with Him forever in heaven.
Why should I get married in the Church?
Marriage is hard. To completely accept another person, to die to ourselves, to put the other’s needs before our own – we need help!
Thankfully, there is help. God is the source of all love. If we want to love truly, we need God. Jesus gave us the sacrament of matrimony so that His life and love could fill a marriage, giving the couple the grace to live a holy marriage in true love.
In the sacraments, we receive the life and presence of Jesus in a unique and powerful way. The sacrament of marriage is not just a contract or an agreement for two people to stay together. It is powerful! The life of Jesus enters into the relationship of the couple in a new way. It transforms the couple into a deeper image of the Trinity, a communion of persons united in love. Coming before God, making this commitment publicly, and receiving God’s blessing is essential for a happy, strong, holy marriage.
This cannot be attained by mere human efforts. With our human frailties, we often fail to love truly. The sacrament of matrimony gives the couple grace to love in truth. Through constant prayer and trust in God's providence, the couple will be able to declare victory against the enemy's plan to break up families. Ultimately, for those who are called to the vocation of marriage, the Church is inviting you to form a family that is dedicated to cultivating and sharing God's selfless, unbreakable love.
Watch these videos for more insights into the beauty of Catholic Marriage: