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Anonymous wrote:

Dear Mike,

I am searching the Internet for guidance on the matter of penance, i.e., mortification of the flesh.

I do feel the need for this to be done to me. In this respect, I have found a good Christian lady who is prepared to soundly cane me, {hit or beat me with a rod}, at regular intervals of about six weeks. I feel simply wonderful after my canings. My depressions lift and I feel so full of life and joy.

I am seeking guidance to know if these acts are sinful. Caning is, of course, extremely painful, as well as humiliating, as I must present myself to my lady for punishment. There is no serious damage done to my body. The marks last for only a few days and the effect on my mind is beneficial beyond anything I can describe.

  • Please guide me on this matter.

I have never discussed the process with anyone except my lady friend.

Anonymous

  { Is being beaten with a rod by someone else sinful even though I feel wonderful after my canings? }

Our A-Team gave the following team reply:

Dear Anonymous,

Thanks for the question. On pastoral questions like these, I consult my Catholic friends and special priest-friends who assist us in these areas. Please take our advice with the good, holy intent in which it is meant to be given.

We recommend you seek out a solid Catholic priest, who is loyal to the Holy Father and the Church's Magisterium, and who can:

  • arrange for an initial sacramental Confession with you, and
  • who can then assist you in seeking appropriate counseling.

As Christians, we believe that our body is a temple of God; something that should be respected and taken care of at all times.

We believe this type of attitude and behavior is extremely abnormal, not only for you, but for your Christian lady friend as well. We recommend counseling for her as well. Nevertheless, it can be dealt with correctly, through appropriate action and a daily prayer life. We at CPATS.ORG, like the Church, have a high opinion of praying the Holy Rosary. If you need one, I can send you one or there are many free on-line sources where you can get one.

Keep smiling and know that:

  • God loves you very much, and,
  • With God, everything is possible.

If you have any follow-up comments or questions, don't hesitate to reply.

Mike

Anonymous replied:

Dear Mike,

Thank you for your reply.

The answer, however, does not really satisfy me as it raises another question.

  • How is it that the performing of a penance is any different to having myself caned?

It is really wrong to have myself caned or whipped and to submit to another, so I can realize that humility is a very good attribute to have in one's nature. My lady and I embrace after she has punished me, and I am so thankful to her for acting in this way. It is very, very beneficial mentally to me. I know it is, because I feel it.

Sorry to be so persistent.

Anonymous

Our A-Team replied:

Hi Anonymous,

Once again, I've consulted my Catholic friends and special priest-friends who assist us in pastoral issues like yours.

To your follow-up question:

The purpose of penance is not relief or feeling better mentally; nor is it mortification. If a person does penance or mortification for those purposes, then it is not truly penance or mortification. Also, if a person does these things without the advice or direction of a Confessor, one is doing something wrong. Mortification and penance should always be submitted to a Confessor or spiritual director.

The purpose of penance is:

  • Humility, not humiliation.
  • Humility, not gratification.
  • Humility, not achieving some end for oneself.

The whole nature of penance is against willfully satisfying an urge or desire.

Both of our priest-advisors echoed similar responses to your reply-question. They thought, as we said in our earlier reply:

You should seek out a solid spiritual director who is loyal to the Holy Father and the Magisterium — one that could guide you in a healthy direction and direct you to the appropriate counseling. We recommend the same for your lady friend as well.

You mentioned "humility", yet you and your lady friend are the ones who have set this "thing" up.

  • Why not "submit" your pride and brokenness to the Church and a solid priest?

If you want to perform true penance, one that is pleasing to the Lord, let it be a real one, given by the Church, not a fetish made up in a hurting psyche.

  • Due to your need that your punishment be painful, one priest was wondering what type of sin you were involved in, that makes you feel this is an appropriate penance?

He felt at some point, this will get out of hand and cause permanent injury or death.

Although there were a few people on our team that thought your question and reply were insincere, I've replied because I want people who visit our site to know that the Catholics at [AskACatholic.com|CPATS.ORG] have good hearts and are here to help and advise people, even in difficult situations.

When I can't decide if an e-mail question is sincere or insincere, I err on the side of sincerity.

I want to leave you by restating and redirecting you to my personal advice above.

My brother recommended that you search for a priest who is highly spiritual and has a major degree in psychology. He would be able to discern the rough waters you are currently going through and give you the appropriate advice.

Make this your quest, Anonymous!

Mike and the A-Team

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1494 The Confessor proposes the performance of certain acts of "satisfaction" or "penance" to be performed by the penitent in order to repair the harm caused by sin and to re-establish habits befitting a disciple of Christ.

1495 Only priests who have received the faculty of absolving from the authority of the Church can forgive sins in the name of Christ.

1496 The spiritual effects of the sacrament of Penance are:

  • reconciliation with God by which the penitent recovers grace;
  • reconciliation with the Church;
  • remission of the eternal punishment incurred by mortal sins;
  • remission, at least in part, of temporal punishments resulting from sin;
  • peace and serenity of conscience, and spiritual consolation;
  • an increase of spiritual strength for the Christian battle.

Anonymous replied:

Dear Mike,

I thank you once again for your reply and concern for my situation. I assure you I am not insincere. In fact, I am quite hurt by the thought you have in this respect; neither am I involved in any sinful behavior, as least not any more than the next person.

I just love to be punished in a humane, non-injurious way by a strict lady who loves me.

I will not waste your time anymore. Thank-you for your advice and time in attending to my question.

Anonymous

Our A-Team replied:

Dear Anonymous,

We did not mean to hurt you by anything we said. We have had other visitors to our web site
send us lists of 15-20 questions in one e-mail, with the tone of their e-mail sometimes being close-minded toward the Church. Because our apostolate is a volunteer effort, I have to discern sincere e-mailers from insincere ones.

You should not take anything we have said as being anything but helpful. That said:

You originally asked us:
I am seeking guidance to know if these acts are sinful.

You are involved in very sinful acts and habits, and you should not continue with the process.
No one, no matter what they call themselves, Christian, Catholic, or whatever, should tell you otherwise.

For any man to say:

"I just love to be punished in a humane, non-injurious way by a strict lady who loves me."

is abnormal. She does not love you. She's using you and needs psychological help.

Of course, she will deny this and encourage you to "stay together", especially if she is making money off your relationship; but this will only hurt you — and her — as well as deepen, already ingrained, immoral, habits in both of you.

You personally have to free yourself from this lady, who is not a practicing Christian.
(No practicing Christian would do that to a person.) She is probably rationalizing what she
is doing to you, as her being Christian, but she isn't.

If lust, feeling good with her, and love are twisted in with being hurt by her, it would be obvious to me, the lady is using you for her own selfish needs and pleasures.

More importantly, she's using your fallen sexual nature, a fallen nature all men have, for her own selfish needs and pleasures.

Have the courage to stand up to her and say,

"I want you to leave permanently so we can stop this relationship."

If you don't, this immoral behavior will soon turn deadly, if not physically, then spiritually!

Please take my advice:

  • Tell her to leave permanently and
  • Find a solid Catholic priest who can give you the appropriate counseling.

Every one, Anonymous, is created by God for a specific purpose in life.
This is not the purpose for which God created you.

Build up the courage, tell her to leave permanently, and then find a solid Catholic priest.

On your personal judgment day, a one-on-one with Our Lord Jesus, you are going to have to answer for staying in this very immoral situation.

Know you are in our prayers,

Mike and the A-Team.

Tell me if you want me to send you a Rosary. I'll need your mailing address.

Richard replied to our team answer:

Well, that's a strange story, but not uncommon.

A lot of people have feelings like that. The man deserves credit for applying his courage and talking with someone about it.

The team has it right, though: at some psychological level, he wants to be punished, or he thinks he's bad and should be punished; and he gets a sense of relief from his feelings of stress when his lady friend beats him. That's degrading for her, so he should give that up.

It's a matter of mental health, so he should get some psychological counseling on how to cope with it and overcome it. A therapist may also be able to recommend some non-abusive kind of physical activity to help with the stress. Also, discussing it with a therapist will help him, after a while, to figure out how he came to have these feelings, and that may help him. It may turn out that he has some condition that can be treated medically; for example, depression.

A priest can guide him about the moral aspects of his behavior and probably help him find a suitable psychologist or psychiatrist.

— RC

Anonymous replied:

Dear Mike,

Thank you all once again for giving me your time and care and your kind offer to send me a Rosary.

I do have a Rosary which I obtained during a visit to The Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham in Norfolk, England, but thank you for your offer. I went to Walsingham a few years ago, when I had been diagnosed with cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy. I found the experience amazing, to say the least. I am now in remission and have been for a long time, due, I feel, in some way to my visit.

I will bear in mind what you, Richard and the team have said; for you have shown me great kindness in your concern and I do appreciate it.

I must say that the thought of giving up the process of being caned fills me with sadness, but if it is good for both me and my lady friend, then I must try to desist and resist the temptation. This will be a very hard road for me.

I have heard a theory that a painful event releases something called endorphins, or whatever, into the body, and this gives a feeling of well-being; perhaps it's this that makes me feel so good following a caning session.

It's all very strange.

Thank you all once again. I will not bother you further, for I can see you are very busy people and others need your help more than I, but rest assured I value your advice greatly.

God bless you all.

Anonymous
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