[quote="Aelred_Minor, post:6, topic:297495"]
I'm surprised by all the "yes" answers that have been given by Catholics.
The correct answer is "no." A person never loses his or her free will.
To explain why, I think it's best to clarify what free will is.
It is a typical mistake of modern philosophy to begin with the subject when one should really begin with the object, and this leads to wrong conclusions. Let's avoid that mistake and begin with the object of choice: some good which the will may choose or not choose.
Now there are two kinds of goods, which we might call universal and partial or infinite and finite. God is the only universal good, the good concerning which there is nothing which is not good. Every other good is finite and therefore partial. Even if it contains no moral or physical evil, at the very least its goodness is limited, and that limitation constitutes an element of not-good ("evil" in a certain philosophical definition of the word, but not necessarily the sort of moral or physical evil which we usually associate with it, so I prefer to call it simply "not-good.")
Now, when the will of a creature is confronted with a (the) universal good, it finds nothing not-good about it and so infallibly chooses that universal good. This occurs only in the Beatific Vision, when God in His Essence is intellectually revealed to the creature. In every other case the good which the intellect presents to the will is finite, and is therefore a compound of good and not-good. This is true even of creaturely ideas concerning God, since those ideas, prior to the Beatific Vision, contain a great deal of obvious incompleteness and mystery, and these constitute not-goods. Unlike universal good which infallibly attracts the consent of the will when revealed to the intellect, finite goods are met with an initial indifference by the will. That is, finite goods do not infallibly attract a free creature's will the way universal good does, because in every finite good which might be chosen is also contains some not-good.
This indifference with which we meet finite goods is the reason the will can be described as free. Since the will is not irresistibly pulled towards a finite good, the choice of that good is a contingent rather than a necessary act. This being true of any finite good, it is even possible for the will to choose a lesser finite good in preference to a greater one, and this accounts for the possibility of sin.
Of course, none of this is to say that we won't often be pulled by our passions towards one good or away from another, or led by grace to a particular good, but neither our passions nor grace take away the contingent nature of our choice of finite goods, and so neither ever take away free will.
There may be times in which a human being physically acts in a way without consciously choosing that action. Perhaps the most extreme instances of addiction and insanity include this, for all I know. It would certainly be the case when a demon chooses a human being's words and actions rather than him- or herself.
Also there are times in which the intellect is mistaken in its appreciation of goodness, and this is probably the more common scenario in which an insane (perhaps schizophrenic) person may inculpably commit some great evil, having intellectually misidentified good and not-good in a way a mentally healthy person would not have. But in neither case is the freedom of the will taken away.
In the case of the Beatific Vision (which is frequently cited, though not in this thread I think, as a case of loss of free will), because of our primary focus on the object of the choice rather than on the subject who chooses we can now see how the irresistible nature of the choice in favor of God in this case does not destroy free will. God, intellectually seen as He really is, is a universal good and so not subject to the initial indifference of the will which is the basis of free will in creatures. It is true that, as a consequence of the Beatific Vision, it is also impossible that the creature would choose a finite good the choice of which would necessitate the rejection of the universal good, but this is due to the nature of the universal good rather than to a change in how the human or angelic will responds to finite goods. It still remains true that finite goods are met with initial indifference by the will, and so it remains true that the wills of angels or humans are free even after the Beatific Vision.
:thumbsup: If we no longer had free will after we die we would be incapable of spiritual love - which is a sine qua non of life in heaven. Support for this view comes from an unlikely quarter. Sartre pointed out that "we are necessarily free" - although, being an atheist, he never explained how we are free.
Freedom is our distinguishing characteristic as a person. Without it we would lose our identity. The Christian belief that God created us in His image implies that we never cease to be persons with free will - even in hell.