Someone said addiction to a sin lessens culpability. Is this true?

Freedom, addiction

Full Question

I had an argument with someone about this. He said addiction to a sin lessens culpability, that a person addicted isn’t freely choosing the sin. How true is this?

Answer

The Truth is, you cannot really give a response that captures everyone and every particular situation. So I will first quote a priest on this:

“Generally speaking, to be fully culpable for a sin, a person must be freely choosing the sin. Addiction certainly lessens the freedom to choose and thus can lessen culpability. However, the person is still culpable for the free choice that led to the addiction and is also responsible for attempting to overcome the addiction”

Fr Charles Grodin (Catholic Answers)

What I think is: What really makes all the difference, even in the midst of the addiction is how this person really feels about his situation, what he is doing about it. Addiction actually does reduce freedom, and without the freedom to choose, the seriousness of a sin is reduced (sometimes even becomes absent). As the response above says, this person is still guilty of the initial choice(s) that led to the addiction, but as for the gravity of every single act, there can be different shades. So I usually advice people to get help. This is about the surest way to show God you are dealing with your problem. 


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