We recommend that no one watch videos or even audios at all (unless perhaps strictly religious things), but if you want to watch more secular things (such as news clips, documentaries or whatever else, even religious films) then listen to audio only. This means that you should turn the television around or put something over the screen. If on the internet, it means that you should avoid watching the video that is playing; or download vlc player and disable video in preferences, and download the videos instead of watching them on the internet, and listen to them only as audio through vlc player or some other video player. You can also download videos and convert them to mp3 or download an extension or program that does it automatically for you. This is a good youtube video downloader that we recommend:
You can set settings 360P and mp4 for easiest configuration that takes not too much space and yet is good quality, and just download the video you want to hear instead of watching it on youtube. If you enter youtube videos, you should disable auto play so that videos do not play automatically for the same reason (the flashblock addons linked to above does the trick). You can also disable youtube comments in channel settings. Many of them are pure evil, filthy and spiritually distracting anyway. But the comments vary in badness depending on the video you are watching or entering. But just so you know, it is possible to disable seeing them.
Images must also be blocked when surfing on youtube! The number of bad, immodest and mortally sinful inducing images I myself have seen on youtube, and especially in the related videos while watching a video, or after it ended, is almost innumerable! (and no, I don’t watch sensual material and anyone who has spent any time on youtube will know from experience that related thumbnails can be pure evil and filthy regardless of what videos you are watching, be it a news clip or a religious video, and the latter example is especially true if it concerns a moral subject). Having images blocked goes for all websites that have any bad images in them, even wikipedia, unless the article is deemed safe. (For the same reason, it is evil and a sin to link to articles that one knows contains any bad images. Yet many people, even traditional so-called Catholics, frequently, and without any scruple, link to such articles all the time just as if they thought they will not receive a judgment for every person that has becomes affected or aroused sensually by what they posted, linked to or were personally responsible for.) Also, on Firefox, never watch a youtube video to the end, or, if you do, scroll down before the film ends, since the related video images on Firefox—that are shown in the video screen—sadly doesn’t get blocked by having images disabled. I have seen not a few evil images because of that, sadly. Now I know better, and that one must avoid seeing this and falling into this devilish trap (but happily, we don’t even watch videos anymore and we encourage all to follow this same advice).
St. Alphonsus, On avoiding the occasions of sin: “Some also believe that it is only a venial sin to expose themselves to the proximate occasion of sin. The catechist must explain that those who do not abstain from voluntary proximate occasions of grievous sin are guilty of a mortal sin, even though they have the intention of not committing the bad act, to the danger of which they expose themselves. … It is necessary to inculcate frequently the necessity of avoiding dangerous occasions; for, if proximate occasions, especially of carnal sins, are not avoided, all other means will be useless for our salvation.” (The complete ascetical works of St. Alphonsus, vol 15, pp. 351-355)
Considering the quotes of St. Alphonsus on avoiding occasions of sin and about how God demands more of certain souls that He has given more graces: it is highly important for one’s salvation to not watch media or expose oneself to dangerous occasions (such as by surfing the internet with images on).
Pope Innocent XI, Various Errors on Moral Matters #61, March 4, 1679: “He can sometimes be absolved, who remains in a proximate occasion of sinning, which he can and does not wish to omit, but rather directly and professedly seeks or enters into.” – Condemned statement by Pope Innocent XI.
Pope Innocent XI, Various Errors on Moral Matters #62, March 4, 1679: “The proximate occasion for sinning is not to be shunned when some useful and honorable cause for not shunning it occurs.” – Condemned statement by Pope Innocent XI.
Pope Innocent XI, Various Errors on Moral Matters #63, March 4, 1679: “It is permitted to seek directly the proximate occasion for sinning for a spiritual or temporal good of our own or of a neighbor.” – Condemned statement by Pope Innocent XI.
St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori describes in his masterpiece book “The True Spouse of Jesus Christ” how Modesty of the Eyes is absolutely crucial for all people to have in order to save their souls:
St. Alphonsus: “On the mortification of the eyes, and on modesty in general. Almost all our rebellious passions spring from unguarded looks; for, generally speaking, it is by the sight that all inordinate affections and desires are excited. Hence, holy Job "made a covenant with his eyes, that he would not so much as think upon a virgin." (Job xxxi. 1) Why did he say that he would not so much as think upon a virgin? Should he not have said that he made a covenant with his eyes not to look at a virgin? No; he very properly said that he would not think upon a virgin; because thoughts are so connected with looks, that the former cannot be separated from the latter, and therefore, to escape the molestation of evil imaginations, he resolved never to fix his eyes on a woman.
“St. Augustine says: "The thought follows the look; delight comes after the thought; and consent after delight." From the look proceeds the thought; from the thought the desire; for, as St. Francis de Sales says, what is not seen is not desired, and to the desire succeeds the consent.
“If Eve had not looked at the forbidden apple, she should not have fallen; but because "she saw that it was good to eat, and fair to the eyes, and beautiful to behold, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat." (Gen. iii. 6) The devil first tempts us to look, then to desire, and afterwards to consent.
“St. Jerome says that Satan requires "only a beginning on our part." If we begin, he will complete our destruction. A deliberate glance at a person of a different sex often enkindles an infernal spark, which consumes the soul. "Through the eyes," says St. Bernard, "the deadly arrows of love enters." The first dart that wounds and frequently robs chaste souls of life finds admission through the eyes. By them David, the beloved of God, fell. By them was Solomon, once the inspired of the Holy Ghost, drawn into the greatest abominations. Oh! how many are lost by indulging their sight!
“The eyes must be carefully guarded by all who expect not to be obliged to join in the lamentation of Jeremiah: "My eye hath wasted my soul." (Jer. iii. 51) By the introduction of sinful affections my eyes have destroyed my soul. Hence St. Gregory says, that "the eyes, because they draw us to sin, must be depressed." If not restrained, they will become instruments of hell, to force the soul to sin almost against its will. "He that looks at a dangerous object," continues the saint, "begins to will what he wills not." It was this the inspired writer intended to express when he said of Holofernes, that "the beauty of Judith made his soul captive." (Jud. xvi 11)
“Seneca says that "blindness is a part of innocence;" and Tertullian relates that a certain pagan philosopher, to free himself from impurity, plucked out his eyes. Such an act would be unlawful in us: but he that desires to preserve chastity must avoid the sight of objects that are apt to excite unchaste thoughts. "Gaze not about," says the Holy Ghost, "upon another’s beauty; . . . hereby lust is enkindled as a fire." (Ecc. ix. 8, 9) Gaze not upon another’s beauty; for from looks arise evil imaginations, by which an impure fire is lighted up. Hence St. Francis de Sales used to say, that "they who wish to exclude an enemy from the city must keep the gates locked."
“Hence, to avoid the sight of dangerous objects, the saints were accustomed to keep their eyes almost continually fixed on the earth, and to abstain even from looking at innocent objects. After being a novice for a year, St. Bernard could not tell whether his cell was vaulted. In consequence of never raising his eyes from the ground, he never knew that there were but three windows to the church of the monastery, in which he spent his novitiate. He once, without perceiving a lake, walked along its banks for nearly an entire day; and hearing his companions speak about it, he asked when they had seen it. St. Peter of Alcantara kept his eyes constantly cast down, so that he did not know the brothers with whom he conversed. It was by the voice, and not by the countenance, that he was able to recognize them.
“The saints were particularly cautious not to look at persons of a different sex. St. Hugh, bishop, when compelled to speak with women, never looked at them in the face. St. Clare would never fix her eyes on the face of a man. She was greatly afflicted because, when raising her eyes at the elevation to see the consecrated host, she once involuntarily saw the countenance of the priest. St. Aloysius never looked at his own mother in the face. It is related of St. Arsenius, that a noble lady went to visit him in the desert, to beg of him to recommend her to God. When the saint perceived that his visitor was a woman, he turned away from her. She then said to him: "Arsenius, since you will neither see nor hear me, at least remember me in your prayers." "No," replied the saint, "but I will beg of God to make me forget you, and never more to think of you."
“From these examples may be seen the folly and temerity of some religious who, though they have not the sanctity of a St. Clare, still gaze around from the terrace, in the parlour, and in the church, upon every object that presents itself, even on persons of a different sex. And notwithstanding their unguarded looks, they expect to be free from temptations and from the danger of sin. For having once looked deliberately at a woman who was gathering ears of corn, the Abbot Pastor was tormented for forty years by temptations against chastity. St. Gregory states that the temptation, to conquer which St. Benedict rolled himself in thorns, arose from one incautious glance at a woman. St. Jerome, though living in a cave at Bethlehem, in continual prayer and macerations of the flesh, was terribly molested by the remembrance of ladies whom he had long before seen in Rome. Why should not similar molestations be the lot of the religious who willfully and without reserve fixes her eyes on persons of a different sex? "It is not," says St. Francis de Sales, "the seeing of objects so much as the fixing of our eyes upon them that proves most pernicious."
“"If," says St. Augustine, "our eyes should by chance fall upon others, let us take care never to fix them upon any one." Father Manareo, when taking leave of St. Ignatius for a distant place, looked steadfastly in his face: for this look he was corrected by the saint. From the conduct of St. Ignatius on this occasion, we learn that it was not becoming in religious to fix their eyes on the countenance of a person even of the same sex, particularly if the person is young. But I do not see how looks at young persons of a different sex can be excused from the guilt of a venial fault, or even from mortal sin, when there is proximate danger of criminal consent. "It is not lawful," says St. Gregory, "to behold what it is not lawful to covet." The evil thought that proceeds from looks, though it should be rejected, never fails to leave a stain upon the soul. Brother Roger, a Franciscan of singular purity, being once asked why he was so reserved in his intercourse with women, replied, that when men avoid the occasions of sin, God preserves them; but when they expose themselves to danger, they are justly abandoned by the Lord, and easily fall into some grievous transgressions.
“The indulgence of the eyes, if not productive of any other evil, at least destroys recollection during the time of prayer. For, the images and impressions caused by the objects seen before, or by the wandering of the eyes, during prayer, will occasion a thousand distractions, and banish all recollection from the soul. It is certain that without recollection a religious can pay but little attention to the practice of humility, patience, mortification, or of the other virtues. Hence it is her duty to abstain from all looks of curiosity, which distract her mind from holy thoughts. Let her eyes be directed only to objects which raise the soul to God.
“St. Bernard used to say, that to fix the eyes upon the earth contributes to keep the heart in heaven. "Where," says St. Gregory, "Christ is, there modesty is found." Wherever Jesus Christ dwells by love, there modesty is practiced. However, I do not mean to say that the eyes should never be raised or never fixed on any object. No; but they ought to be directed only to what inspires devotion, to sacred images, and to the beauty of creation, which elevate the soul to the contemplation of the divinity. Except in looking at such objects, a religious should in general keep the eyes cast down, and particularly in places where they may fall upon dangerous objects. In conversing with men, she should never roll the eyes about to look at them, and much less to look at them a second time.
“To practice modesty of the eyes is the duty of a religious, not only because it is necessary for her own improvement in virtue, but also because it is necessary for the edification of others. God only knows the human heart: man sees only the exterior actions, and by them he is edified or scandalized. "A man," says the Holy Ghost, "is known by his look." (Ecc. xix. 26) By the countenance the interior is known. Hence, like St. John the Baptist, a religious should be "a burning and shining light." (John, v. 35) She ought to be a torch burning with charity, and shining resplendent by her modesty, to all who behold her. To religious the following words of the Apostle are particularly applicable: "We are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men." (1 Cor. iv. 9) And again: "Let your modesty be known to all men: the Lord is nigh." (Phil. iv. 5)
“Religious are attentively observed by the angels and by men; and therefore their modesty should be made manifest before all; if they do not practice modesty, terrible shall be the account which they must render to God on the day of judgment. Oh! what devotion does a modest religious inspire, what edification does she give, by keeping her eyes always cast down! St. Francis of Assisi once said to his companion, that he was going out to preach. After walking through the town, with his eyes fixed on the ground, he returned to the convent. His companion asked him when he would preach the sermon. We have, replied the saint, by the modesty of our looks, given an excellent instruction to all who saw us. It is related of St. Aloysius, that when he walked through Rome the students would stand in the streets to observe and admire his great modesty.
“St. Ambrose says, that to men of the world the modesty of the saints is a powerful exhortation to amendment of life. "The look of a just man is an admonition to many." The saint adds: "How delightful it is to do good to others by your appearance!" It is related of St. Bernardine of Sienna, that even when a secular, his presence was sufficient to restrain the licentiousness of his young companions, who, as soon as they saw him, were accustomed to give to one another notice that he was coming. On his arrival they became silent or changed the subject of their conversation. It is also related of St. Gregory of Nyssa, and of St. Ephrem, that their very appearance inspired piety, and that the sanctity and modesty of their exterior edified and improved all that beheld them. When Innocent II visited St. Bernard at Clairvaux, such was the exterior modesty of the saint and of his monks, that the Pope and his cardinals were moved to tears of devotion. Surius relates a very extraordinary fact of St. Lucian, a monk and martyr. By his modesty he induced so many pagans to embrace the faith, that the Emperor Maximian, fearing that he should be converted to Christianity by the appearance of the saint, would not allow the holy man to be brought within his view, but spoke to him from behind a screen.
“That our Redeemer was the first who taught, by his example, modesty of the eyes, may, as a learned author remarks, be inferred from the holy evangelists, who say that on some occasion he raised his eyes. "And he, lifting up his eyes on his disciples." (Luke, vi. 20) "When Jesus therefore had lifted up his eyes." (John, vi. 5.) From these passages we may conclude that the Redeemer ordinarily kept his eyes cast down. Hence the Apostle, praising the modesty of the Saviour, says: "I beseech you, by the mildness and modesty of Christ." (2 Cor. x. 1)
“I shall conclude this subject with what St. Basil said to his monks: "If, my children, we desire to raise the soul towards heaven, let us direct the eyes towards the earth." From the moment we awake in the morning, let us pray continually in the words of holy David: "Turn away my eyes, that they may not behold vanity" (Ps. cxviii. 37).” (St. Alphonsus Liguori, The True Spouse of Jesus Christ, Modesty of the Eyes, pp. 252-261)
St. Francis of Assisi used to exhort his brethren frequently to guard and mortify their senses with the utmost care. He especially insisted on the custody of the eyes, and he used this parable of a King’s two messengers to demonstrate how the purity of the eyes reveals the chastity of the soul:
“A certain pious King sent two messengers successively to the Queen with a communication from himself. The first messenger returned and brought an answer from the Queen, which he delivered exactly. But of the Queen herself he said nothing because he had always kept his eyes modestly cast down and had not raised them to look at her.
The second messenger also returned. But after delivering in a few words the answer of the Queen, he began to speak warmly of her beauty. “Truly, my lord,” he said, “the Queen is the most fair and lovely woman I have ever seen, and thou art indeed happy and blessed to have her for thy spouse.”
At this the King was angry and said: “Wicked servant, how did you dare to cast your eyes upon my royal spouse? I believe that you may covet what you have so curiously gazed upon.”
Then he commanded the other messenger to be recalled, and said to him: “What do you think of the Queen?”
He replied, “She listened very willingly and humbly to the message of the King and replied most prudently.”
But the Monarch again asked him, “But what do you think of her countenance? Did she not seem to you very fair and beautiful, more so than any other woman?”
The servant replied, “My lord, I know nothing of the Queen’s beauty. Whether she be fair or not, it is for thee alone to know and judge. My duty was only to convey thy message to her.”
The King rejoined, “You have answered well and wisely. You who have such chaste and modest eyes shall be my chamberlain. From the purity of your eyes I see the chastity of your soul. You are worthy to have the care of the royal apartments confided to you.”
Then, turning to the other messenger, he said: “But you, who have such unmortified eyes, depart from the palace. You shall not remain in my house, for I have no confidence in your virtue.” (The Works of the Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi, London: R. Washbourne, 1882, pp. 254-255)
Concerning modesty of the eyes and related virtues, St. Hippolytus of Rome (c. 170-236 A.D.), From the Commentary of St. Hippolytus on Proverbs, writes:
“[Proverbs 4:25 “Let thy eyes look straight on, and let thy eyelids go before thy steps.”] He “looks right on” who has thoughts free of passion; and he has true judgments, who is not in a state of excitement about external appearances. ….
“[Proverbs 6:27 “Can a man hide fire in his bosom, and his garments not burn?”] That thou mayest not say, What harm is there in the eyes, when there is no necessity that he should be perverted who looks? he shows thee that desire is a fire, and the flesh is like a garment. The latter is an easy prey, and the former is a tyrant. And when anything harmful is not only taken within, but also held fast, it will not go forth again until it has made an exit for itself. For he who looks upon a woman, even though he escape the temptation, does not come away pure of all lust. And why should one have trouble, if he can be chaste and free of trouble? … And, figuratively speaking, he keeps a fire in his breast who permits an impure thought to dwell in his heart. And he walks upon coals who, by sinning in act, destroys his own soul.
“[Proverbs 7:21-25 “ She entangled him with many words, and drew him away with the flattery of her lips.  Immediately he followeth her as an ox led to be a victim, and as a lamb playing the wanton, and not knowing that he is drawn like a fool to bonds,  Till the arrow pierce his liver: as if a bird should make haste to the snare, and knoweth not that his life is in danger.  Now therefore, my son, hear me, and attend to the words of my mouth.  Let not thy mind be drawn away in her ways: neither be thou deceived with her paths.”] The “cemphus” [the fool] is a kind of wild sea-bird, which has so immoderate an impulse to sexual enjoyment, that its eyes seem to fill with blood in coition; and it often blindly falls into snares, or into the hands of men [Footnote: “The cemphus is said to be a sea-bird “driven about by every wind,” so that it is equal to a fool.” [Proverbs 7:22]]. To this, therefore, he [Solomon] compares the man who gives himself up to the harlot on account of his immoderate lust; or else on account of the insensate folly of the creature, for he, too, pursues his object like one senseless. And they say that this bird is so much pleased with foam, that if one should hold foam in his hand as he sails, it will sit upon his hand. And it also brings forth with pain.
“[Proverbs 7:26 “For she hath cast down many wounded, and the strongest have been slain by her.”] You have seen her mischief. Wait not to admit the rising of lust; for her death is everlasting. And for the rest, by her words, her arguments in sooth, she wounds, and by her sins she kills those who yield to her. For many are the forms of wickedness that lead the foolish down to hell. And the chambers of death mean either its depths or its treasure. How, then, is escape possible?” (The Extant Works and Fragments of Hippolytus, "On Proverbs," by St. Hippolytus of Rome, 170-236 A.D., vol. 5, Ante-Nicene Fathers)
Question: Is masturbation a sin?
Answer: There are four reasons why everyone automatically knows by instinct and by nature that masturbation is a mortal sin against both nature and God.The first reason is that all people know in their conscience that masturbation is a kind of rape of another person. The second reason is that it is a kind of drug abuse, since the sexual pleasure is an intoxicating pleasure that affects the person in a way similar to a strong drug. People who masturbate “look on a woman to lust after her” in order to become sensually aroused and thus, they commit “adultery with her” in their hearts (Matthew 5:28) and a kind of drug abuse that makes them guilty of a mortal sin against nature and God that will cause them to be damned forever in Hell by having their “whole body be cast into hell” and eternal torments, according to Our Lord Jesus Christ’s words in The Holy Bible (cf. Matthew 5:29). The third reason is that all people know that the sexual pleasure is a shameful pleasure, which is why all people who masturbate hide in shame when they are committing this vile and shameful deed. And the fourth reason is that masturbation is non-procreative and unnatural, and the Church’s teaching is clear that “the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children” (Pope Pius XI) and that is why the procreation of children is the only primary end or purpose that God allows the sexual act to be used for, which makes all other sexual acts (like masturbation) unnatural and mortally sinful.
Thus, these four reasons absolutely prove why masturbation is always inherently evil and mortally sinful since this vile act is totally unreasonable, unnatural and selfish; and that is why everyone without exception who commit this act can never be excused from sin through claiming ignorance of the fact that masturbation is a sin, and why they will be damned to burn forever in Hell since they all know by instinct and by nature that it is a sin just like they know that getting drunk or intoxicated is a sin against the Natural Law, God and reason.
First, masturbation is rape. Women are not toys, playthings, or “bunnies” from which to derive sexual stimulation. When women are used in sexual fantasies, they are sexually abused, even if they are untouched. Many men rape many women each day and commit adultery and fornication without laying a hand on them. Women also rape men and commit adultery and fornication in this way. These rapes, fornications and adulteries are not marked by physical violence but by psychological warfare. Because a person is often unaware of being used and abused, and because the abuser often does not fathom the real extent of the severity of his crime, this makes these mental and visual rapes/abuses seem less devastating. Nevertheless, grave sin with all its degradation and death is being committed.
Second, masturbation is a kind of drug abuse. The vehemence of the sexual pleasure is extremely strong and similar to a strong drug. All people of course knows that getting intoxicated or drunk for pleasure only is against the Natural Law. When a person uses a drug to get intoxicated, he or she knows that they commit a sin. Similarly, when a person is abusing sexual pleasure, and since his intention for the sexual act is purely selfish, he knows that he is committing a kind of drug abuse. In fact, the pleasure that is derived from the sexual pleasure is many times stronger than many drugs, and as such, are of course more sinful to abuse than these drugs. For “the sin of lust consists in seeking venereal pleasure not in accordance with right reason...” and “lust there signifies any kind of excess.” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, II:II, Q. 154, Art. 1)
This can be proven by an example. Consider how a man that is sick and who suffers much pain is allowed by divine permission and justice to take morphine or other strong painkillers since he is in need of them. His reason when taking these drugs is not self-gratification but the alleviation of the pain that he experiences. This example could be likened with normal, natural, lawful and procreative marital relations between two married spouses, which is permitted and non-sinful as long as the spouses have “intercourse so that it [the seed] might germinate at the right place and in the right way and bear fruit [that is, bear children] for a just and rational cause.” (Jesus Christ speaking to St. Bridget, in St. Bridget’s Revelations, Book 5, Interrogation 5)
However, whenever the sick person mentioned above would become well and yet continued to use morphine or other painkillers without any need to do so – and for the mere sake of getting high and for pleasure – he would have committed the sin of drug abuse. His just reason for using the painkiller became unjust the very moment he became well and did not need to use it anymore.
The sexual pleasure is always an evil pleasure to experience in itself since it is a shameful and intoxicating pleasure that is very similar to the evil pleasure people experience when they abuse alcohol or drugs, and this pleasure is evil to experience also for married couples, even though married spouses do not sin during their lawful and normal procreative marital acts. St. Augustine in his book On Marriage and Concupiscence explains this evil thus: “Wherefore the devil holds infants guilty [through original sin] who are born, not of the good by which marriage is good, but of the evil of concupiscence [lust], which, indeed, marriage uses aright, but at which even marriage has occasion to feel shame.” (Book 1, Chapter 27.--Through Lust Original Sin is Transmitted; Concupiscence of the Flesh, the Daughter and Mother of [Original] Sin)
Third, masturbation is shameful. Consider the fact that a person would be very ashamed if their parent, child or friend walked in on them when they were committing this shameful, selfish and evil act of masturbation. It is thus clear that their conscience tells them that it is an inherently shameful and evil act. Everyone (but complete perverts who have willfully destroyed their conscience over a period of time) knows that masturbation is a selfish, shameful, intoxicating and evil pleasure and that is why they are ashamed of it and why they hide themselves when committing this shameful deed.