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Author Topic: Are nocturnal emissions sinful (RC vs. EO)?  (Read 3536 times) Average Rating: 0
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Wyatt
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« on: May 05, 2011, 09:24:10 PM »

?
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2011, 09:26:15 PM »

Ask your priest.

But... in my not so humble opinion, no, definitely not sinful.

Ask you priest anyway.

I mean, it's still not wrong, but...

Ask... Wink
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2011, 09:56:32 PM »

Ask your priest to be sure.  However, I do know of a small service (little compline with some additional prayers) to be read after the occurrence of a nocturnal emission.  A nocturnal emission may not be inherently sinful but we must always remember that the passions attack us even during sleep which require our vigilance.  That is why we, in the Little Compline Prayer to our Lord, ask that He grant us a watchful mind, a sober heart while we sleep to protect against the onslaughts of the devil which work against us even as we rest.
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2011, 10:02:41 PM »

However, I do know of a small service (little compline with some additional prayers) to be read after the occurrence of a nocturnal emission. 

Didn't know that... and that's sorta why I am ok with the "ask your priest" response in cases like this. I know I have asked a priest before if something was sinful, hoping (boy was I hoping!) he'd say no. Unfortunately he said it was a sin.  Undecided  police  I wonder how many of us assume that this or that is or isn't a sin, because something we read or the net, or heard something from Mom, or was told such and such by Uncle Demetrios... but then our priest and even bishop might disagree. Not that we should bother our priests about every little thing, but if you're going to go to confession, it's good IMO to know what it is that you should be confessing. Of course, if you ask and get a response you don't like... well then you have a problem!
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2011, 10:44:23 PM »

The way my priest told me was similar to how scamandrius said it. It's a part of our fallen nature and while we may not consciously will for it to happen, the demons can still attack us in our dreams (partly why we pray for a "dreamless sleep" in our night time prayers). Part of it can come from lustful thoughts that we were not vigilant enough to dispel during the day and can creep into our dreams. Ultimately, though it is a pastoral decision, but my priest said that it's not necessarily a sin per se, but something should be done to prevent it from happening.

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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2011, 11:08:42 PM »

Nocturnal emissions are not inherently sinful but are treated like a kind of impurity that would prevent one from receiving communion, like menstruation or bleeding. However, if one has an NE the night prior to communion, it's possible to rectify the problem by reciting psalm 50 and doing 49 metanies, according to St. John the Faster's canon.
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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2011, 11:30:46 PM »

Nutty. Ain't sinful. I think there needs to be real thorough examination of why and how such bodily functions were handled how they were within the history of Israel, in light of some current understanding of the Hebrews not practicing ritual purity expiation via sacrifice.

Ask your Priest if you want, but really, ask yourself first why in the first place would you ever consider an involuntary biological function which causes no harm to be a sin as such to render one culpable?

Rather I would cringe at the times throughout the day I voluntarily do harm to others by word and act and not acting.   

Sermon on the Mount > Whoever you want to quote suggesting nocturnal emissions are demonic in nature.

The former is much harder to live by and confess our missing the mark. Confessing a nocturnal emission smacks of over scrupulousness, unless you are golden in word, thought, and deed on the Sermon on the Mount.

FWIW.
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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2011, 11:45:55 PM »

orthonorm,

I would say that that which you call "over scrupulousness" was, for many generations of Orthodox Christians, the norm. Perhaps it was wrong (I wouldn't say "nutty") to give penances for playing footsie (with the intention of indicating sexual interest), or to call certain perfectly natural sexual acts "imitating an animal" and consider it a serious sin, or to excommunicate someone for a year for having a miscarriage (one that I take personally)... but that was the way it was in various Orthodox societies. True, modern Orthodox have jettisoned a lot of that stuff--thank God!  I'd still ask the priest what I need to confess. That's what he's there for.
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« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2011, 12:39:28 AM »

or to excommunicate someone for a year for having a miscarriage (one that I take personally)

Jigga-what?

Sorry, I really don't piously cling to the absurdities of the past. I don't condemn people for acting within the customs and times and science of their day and am grateful to them for the carrying of Orthodoxy throughout time. But I call a spade, a spade.

Can you expound on your statement? That is nutty.

And a constant theme of mine is going to be: are you doing the "basics"? If we even grant nocturnal emissions are a sin, really at what point do we start dealing with that in any serious manner? I've yet to meet someone without bigger fish to fry.

Sermon on the Mount, the parable of the Last Judgment and all that.
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« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2011, 12:49:19 AM »

I agree with what you're saying about where our focus should be. It only takes 5 seconds to ask a question, though, even a seemingly strange one like about nocturnal emissions. As I said in a previous post, there might be things that we think are perfectly fine, that our priest doesn't. Regarding the miscarriage thing, the following is from the book Sex and Society in the World of the Orthodox Slavs, 900-1700 by Eve Levin...

"Another possible result of the parents' immorality was the loss of a child, whom the parents had shown themselves unworthy to have. A miscarriage had to have been the result of the woman's sinfulness. She was required to confess her sins and do penance. Service books included an extensive set of prayers for purification: 'Lord our God, who was born of the Ever-Virgin Mary, the Holy Mother of God, and who lay as a baby in a cradle: Today, out of your great clemency, have mercy on this your servant N., who has fallen into sin and willful murder, and aborted that which was conceived within her. Forgive her her willful and unwilling sins, and preserve her from all Satan's deceptions. Purify her of obscenity and heal her sickness... for we are born in sin and lawlessness, and we are all defiled before you.'" (p. 67)

"Even a spontaneous miscarriage was sinful, and carried a penance of a year's exclusion from communion." (p. 176)

I apologize for not giving the references that (I assume) are in the original text. I sold the book (twice now, actually), and am pulling these quotes from something I wrote previously on the net.
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« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2011, 12:56:08 AM »

No apologies needed. Unbelievable. Guess the gates of Hell can't prevail when you read stuff like that.

Lord have mercy on parents who never heard the cries of their children outside the womb!
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« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2011, 01:35:36 AM »

"Another possible result of the parents' immorality was the loss of a child, whom the parents had shown themselves unworthy to have. A miscarriage had to have been the result of the woman's sinfulness. She was required to confess her sins and do penance. Service books included an extensive set of prayers for purification: 'Lord our God, who was born of the Ever-Virgin Mary, the Holy Mother of God, and who lay as a baby in a cradle: Today, out of your great clemency, have mercy on this your servant N., who has fallen into sin and willful murder, and aborted that which was conceived within her. Forgive her her willful and unwilling sins, and preserve her from all Satan's deceptions. Purify her of obscenity and heal her sickness... for we are born in sin and lawlessness, and we are all defiled before you.'" (p. 67)

"Even a spontaneous miscarriage was sinful, and carried a penance of a year's exclusion from communion." (p. 176)
Lord have mercy
That is heartbreaking... I don't know how I would have ever been able to bear some saying that to me. Those poor women.

ETA: Oops I meant to answer the OP.. RC's would not consider that sinful and probably wouldn't even suggest you ask a priest... possibly with some caveat that I don't know, nor care to know about, as a woman myself.
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« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2011, 01:48:22 AM »

that I don't know, nor care to know about, as a woman myself.

I would bet women have more nocturnal arousal, emissions, and orgasm than men on average. Please someone else google this and prove me right.

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« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2011, 01:52:47 AM »

that I don't know, nor care to know about, as a woman myself.

I would bet women have more nocturnal arousal, emissions, and orgasm than men on average. Please someone else google this and prove me right.

Bah!  I'm covering my eyes and backing out of this discussion Smiley  ::plugging ears "lalalalal"::
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« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2011, 02:31:44 AM »

"Even a spontaneous miscarriage was sinful..." (p. 176)
Lord have mercy
That is heartbreaking... I don't know how I would have ever been able to bear some saying that to me. Those poor women.
We have to look at this from the right perspective. The purpose of the prayers said over a woman that had misscarried were not in place to condemn her but rather to absolve her of any possible guilt (or even feel of quilt). Even a woman that knows she has done nothing wrong can feel guilty for losing her child. After having those prayers read over her at confession she can feel more at ease. I'm talking historically now, modern medical knowledge would make it very offensive to read that prayer today.

Short version:
The Church did not say "perhaps you have not sinned" and leave it at that.
The Church did say "If you have sinned you are now absolved".

As for the one year excommunication I think that even in the past priest would have exercised economia in cases were they could clearly see that the woman was not to blame, but perhaps not so if the miscarriage was induced due to heavy drinking.

off topic as usual Roll Eyes
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« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2011, 10:06:09 AM »

we should also remember that being excommunicated for a year probably meant they only really missed Communion once or twice.
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« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2011, 02:43:14 PM »

we should also remember that being excommunicated for a year probably meant they only really missed Communion once or twice.
Yeah, I suppose it's the difference between not receiving Communion 50 Sundays out of the year and not receiving Communion 52 Sundays out of the year.
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« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2011, 02:56:10 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I only respond to this because it is such a touchy kind of question.  The answer is NO.  There are even some literally humorous saying of some of the Fathers about these that I have seen over the years but can't think to quote.  Of course, within the Ethiopian Orthodox tradition, while nocturnal emissions are no more a sin than lawful sexual relations of marriage, they are under the same legal restrictions in regards to entering the church building.  Whether after sexual activity or indeed any emission of semen (according to our own Fathers interpretations of Moses' traditions in Leviticus) we practice a degree of ritualistic purity, and so folks must wait a day to a week to attend services. This is also why we wait 40 and 80 days for baptisms, so that the mothers can be ritualistically "clean" to enter into the church for the services.  We take this very serious, traditionally menstrual women and those who enjoy the marriage bed (or beds otherwise Wink) piously avoid the church building until the period of cleansing is complete. 

I bring this up because it makes your question complicated.  The definition of SIN in the time of both Christ and of Moses' tradition, actually had little to do with morality, more so an issue of legality.  Breaking any one of the number of laws of Moses resulted in a similar state of ritualistic "uncleanness" and this impurity had to be atoned for following the rituals of prayer, washing, and animal sacrifice.  The Bible is saturated with instances of these.  So to be "sinful" was to be "unclean" which meant the person didn't follow the lifestyle of the tradition of Moses.  The "Old Testament" Laws were really a kind of lifestyle oriented around maintaining constant ritualistic purity.  So if one were to break a law, one would become unclean.  If one were to even sit down on the same chair as a menstrual women, one would be unclean.  If one participated in any sexual activity, one became unclean.  In order to return to a state of being "clean" and therefore fully able to participate in any particular form of ritual worship at the Tabernacle/Temple, then one had to follow the rules best as able.  Sin really took on a sense of morality after the decline of legalistic ritual worship according to Moses' tradition with the loss of the Temple complex in Jerusalem.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2011, 03:02:59 PM »

that I don't know, nor care to know about, as a woman myself.

I would bet women have more nocturnal arousal, emissions, and orgasm than men on average. Please someone else google this and prove me right.


Hah, I refuse to Google it (at least for the moment), but are you referring to discharge in regards to our menstrual cycle? Or the, for lack of a better term, female ejaculatory fluid?

Based on what I've read previously, I might agree with emissions...don't know about arousal and orgasm, though. I thought that men experience arousal (especially nocturnal) much more often than women do.
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« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2011, 04:14:00 PM »

we should also remember that being excommunicated for a year probably meant they only really missed Communion once or twice.

Well if that all it meant . . .  Roll Eyes

People gotta get honest and willing to have a critical eye.
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« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2011, 10:39:18 AM »

?

The answer to your question lies in the multitude of texts available on spiritual warfare over the ages, from the Holy Fathers to the present day. 

And in the reality that confession is not just for the remission and absolution of sins but also for the graces to avoid sin, and that would include the passions.

And it lies in the answer to the full understanding of sin and corruption and evil in the world which takes us back to the Holy Fathers and the texts concerning spiritual warfare over the ages.

The answer to your question is one of those aggravating catholic both/and deals:  Both yes, and no.
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« Reply #21 on: May 07, 2011, 10:57:13 AM »

In honor of today's Kentucky Derby, let's stop beating a dead horse.  Smiley
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« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2011, 11:07:54 AM »

In honor of today's Kentucky Derby, let's stop beating a dead horse.  Smiley

However much I appreciate your sentiments... angel...I do think it is an important question.  We do not live in an environment where we are encouraged to take spiritual warfare very seriously.  We are encouraged to forgive ourselves our sins, since we are products of our environments...

Very few Catholics I know would read the spiritual maxims of Mark the Monk for example.  There's plenty of trendy up-to-date material out there instead, so much is lost on the faithful.  Also I am surprised by the comments of some of the Orthodox contributors as well...

So I would encourage the discussion...if it were my call.
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« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2011, 12:35:56 PM »

I heard that an increase in masturbation reduces the occurrence of nocturnal emissions.  However, not sure if that is helpful, or just jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.
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I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.
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« Reply #24 on: May 07, 2011, 12:44:22 PM »

I heard that an increase in masturbation reduces the occurrence of nocturnal emissions.  However, not sure if that is helpful, or just jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.

That's one response to the passions:  exercise them!!
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