Is there a difference between acknowledging that you find someone to be attractive to look at as opposed to being attracted to someone, which I believe is a venial sin? Or is it only a sin if you act on that attraction?
To find someone to be attractive is to be, to some extent, attracted to that person. One can be attracted for many reasons. There is no sin in this. However, if by attraction, you mean sexual attraction, then one must discern the appropriateness of the attraction. If one is looking for a spouse, such attraction is appropriate, but one must court such attraction with modesty and purity of heart. If one is already married or is single and is not seeking a spouse, to pursue such attraction, if only in one’s mind, can lead to sin.
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.