American-Irish author Malachy McCourt writes in You’ve GOT to Read This Book!, a compilation by Gay Hendricks and Jack Canfield:

Ninety-nine percent of teenage boys admit they think of nothing but sex—and the other 1% are liars. It’s a universal phenomenon, and yet this natural human urge was made out by the Church to be sinful. Though the clergy blabbed on about the love of God and what have you, it was really all about shame and punishment. Catholicism—at least in Ireland—seemed to me obsessed with the sins of the flesh.

You had to swear you would never masturbate, touch yourself, or even have an impure thought. Otherwise you would end up burning in hell for eternity. You went to confession and did your penances, but you knew you were only postponing the inevitable: With that storm of impure thoughts raging continually in your head, what were the chances that you’d die in a state of grace? Suffused with remorse and weary of feeling ashamed and of considering myself doomed in this world and the next, I began to question what I now saw as the Church’s dogma.

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