Are people who act under addictions giving full consent?

Such as people who have OCD and give into compulsive evil thoughts or drug/porn addicts giving into their addictions to soothe their urges? I have heard Catholics give arguments on both sides; some say those suffering from addictions or disorders cannot help themselves and therefore are not giving deliberate consent, while others say that people still have the willpower to resist and commit venial or even mortal sins by giving into their desires.


I would distinguish between the two.

First regarding the 2nd. A good confessor can guide one. There can be that which reduces culpability (though they are still not to do such). But it not something to give blanket answer to. One ought not presume there is not grave guilt. It must be taken case by case.

Now regarding the other --I will re–post a former post of mine and add a little.
All sorts of thoughts can happen to us out of the blue…*

the fact that a though happened to one- does not mean per se there was any sin.

And for mortal sin one needs not only grave matter, but full knowledge and deliberate (complete) consent…

And some need some medical/professional assistance in this area…such as medication for OCD etc and often a regular confessor --they are in an even more “particular boat” - with their suffering of involuntary thoughts.


For the next few moments --try real hard NOT to think of Apple.

then scroll down.

What did you think of?

An apple.

Even though your will was against it -you did not want to think of an apple.

Now back to unwanted thoughts…

The best thing to do with such thoughts is not to fight them directly --not fear that they will come…do not consent and simply and calmly turn to something else…(or it may be best to keep doing the good thing one is doing…like they come out of the blue when your at work …keep working …etc)

Ignore such unwanted thoughts like one would ignore a hissing goose or a barking dog. One does not stop to argue with a hissing goose or a barking dog does one? No one keeps on walking…and at most laughs at them…

(as noted above the image there comes from a Carthusian Monk from centuries ago…)

Certainly, addiction lessens culpability in what I would consider most if not all cases.

I would strongly suggest that anyone with questions on this related to themselves needs to discuss it with a priest or their Confessor.

As a matter of generic advice I would also greatly caution those who seek to make excuses. It is impossible to fool God.

These were very good responses, thanks! :thumbsup:

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