The Jewish guy's question about Lent

I was reading a revived zombie thread over in IMHO about masturbation and confession. It got me wondering - since masturbation is apparently against the teachings of the Catholic church, can one give up masturbation for Lent?

One can try.

I’m out!

I would be amused if an answer isn’t forthcoming because all of the board’s Catholics have given up the SDMB for Lent.

The Church says masturbation is sinning. The Church would encourage you to give up sinning regardless of the season of the year.

Maybe to clear up some confusion: Giving something up for Lent is not a requirement like, for example, not eating meat on Fridays during Lent. It is more of a custom to help yourself spiritually prepare for Easter. It’s passed down to children both at home and at Church. You are taught to give up something that you like, like chocolate or watching TV or whatever.

I’m sure that if you wanted to spiritually prepare for Easter by making a sincere effort to reduce your sinful habits – whether those habits are sexual impurities, stealing, lying, murdering, or whatever – that would be considered an admirable and appropriate thing to do for Lent.

Contrary to popular belief, “giving something up” for Lent as it’s commonly practiced today isn’t actually a part of any official Church doctrine, it’s simply a tradition that has arisen over the years. According to the Church Lent is to be a time of fasting, reflection, penance, and charitable works. How one wants to accomplish that is up to them, but the overall theme is that you should use Lent as a time of active spiritual self-improvement, so that you emerge 40 days later as a slightly better person. In the last century the idea of making some small sacrifice became popular because it was an easy way to introduce children to this overall theme. For better or worse it took off, but has somewhat diluted the actual “meaning” of Lent IMO.

So yeah, you can give up anything you want for Lent, as long as it’s not something like “I give up not beating my wife and children.”