Committing a 'mortal' sin against chastity while under the influence

Sin is a popular topic here, and made me think of this:

If you willingly place yourself in the near occasion of sin (drinking too much, for example), but do not intend to sin or to use it as an excuse to sin, but however do so (such as a sin against purity/chastity/masturbation), is it a mortal sin? (I am not speaking of drinking and driving, murder, robbery, etc.) By drinking for example, you may have lessened your ability to resist the sin; but for a sin to be mortal, you must be fully aware of it being a mortal sin and choose to commit it, correct? When confessed, should you mention to the priest the circumstances, or just admit the sin?

Does addiction to alcohol/substances, or a mental illness, lessen the culpability?

I think this is hard for many to understand and clarify. We need to be responsible for our actions, but must be careful not to commit scrupulosity… But, we should not look for excuses to place the blame on anything but ourselves, if it is deserved.

I think that sometimes people actually hold things against themselves harsher than God would, and could help to lead us astray.

Thanks.

Being drunk or high is no excuse for doing something wrong. Thus each person is responsible for their own actions and must face the consequences of what they do, whether it be intentional or by accident. Of course, from a purely law point of few there are varying degrees of culpability just as I suspect varying degrees of “sin”. So if you kill someone by driving drunk, it’s still a grave horrible crime, but this is much different than first degree cold blooded murder.

I’m not talking about law…nor am I talking about drunk driving/killing someone. As the title suggests, I’m asking about chastity, as I explained during the post.

CCC1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin. (1734)

1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest. (1735, 1767)

1862 One commits venial sin when, in a less serious matter, he does not observe the standard prescribed by the moral law, or when **he disobeys the moral law in a grave matter, but without full knowledge or without complete consent].

Addiction is terrible, and the addict should work to break free from it, but alcoholism is a pathological disorder and can decrease the gravity of sin. The same applies for mental illness.

If you are not addicted to alcohol, but drink with the intention of getting drunk, that is a sin. Maybe not a grave sin (depending on the circumstances), but a sin.

During confession you should confess the circumstances which may alter, by increasing or decreasing, the gravity of sins.

I hope that this is all theoretical! I am not saying, “Oh, yeah, go out and get drunk and do whatever you want because you’re not accountable.” You should seek to please God always. If you think you will be in an occasion to sin, it would be better for you to stay away!**

A person is responsible for the bad things they do under the influence, because they chose to be under the influence in the first place.

Thank you. Fairly theoretical. But I have suffered greatly from mental illness (depression mostly) in the past, which runs in my family. I am not only thinking of myself, but others who might suffer from various illnesses such as alcoholism to mental illnesses and addictions.

Skyriver:

A person is responsible for the bad things they do under the influence, because they chose to be under the influence in the first place.

Addiction is not necessarily a choice, at least not beyond the first drink/addiction or the first circumstances of that drink/addiction.

Whenever someone finds themselves in the face of such a question, I think it would be more important for such a person to go to quickly go to confession to confess what transpired between any drinking and unchastity. Then they don’t have to worry about whether a sin was technically “mortal.” :o

This is what I was thinking…it’s helpful to remember that getting so intoxicated that one does not have control of his or her actions is very serious in and of itself. Subsequent sins are the snowball effect. In confession, one can ask the priest the moral implications, but even if deemed “venial” for some reason, one would be better off confessing before returning to the Eucharistic table. For one has abused the body by drinking to excess, and there’s the possibility of not remembering other things. That’s why alcohol abuse is so serious. It’s never a stand alone problem, whether or not it makes one anti-social or abusive or careless.

You cannot sin while drunk, because you do not then have full control of your will.

However, drinking to that point is in itself a serious sin.

ICXC NIKA.

Baltimore Catechism No. 3 has these answers:
Q. 770. What do you mean by a firm purpose of sinning no more?
A. By a firm purpose of sinning no more I mean a fixed resolve not only to avoid all mortal sin, but also its near occasions.

Q. 771. What do you mean by the near occasions of sin?
A. By the near occasions of sin I mean all the persons, places and things that may easily lead us into sin.

Q. 772. Why are we bound to avoid occasions of sin?
A. We are bound to avoid occasions of sin because Our Lord has said: “He who loves the danger will perish in it”; and as we are bound to avoid the loss of our souls, so we are bound to avoid the danger of their loss. The occasion is the cause of sin, and you cannot take away the evil without removing its cause.

Q. 773. Is a person who is determined to avoid the sin, but who is unwilling to give up its near occasion when it is possible to do so, rightly disposed for confession?
A. A person who is determined to avoid the sin, but who is unwilling to give up its near occasion when it is possible to do so, is not rightly disposed for confession, and he will not be absolved if he makes known to the priest the true state of his conscience.

Q. 774. How many kinds of occasions of sin are there?
A. There are four kinds of occasions of sin: Near occasions, through which we always fall; Remote occasions, through which we sometimes fall; Voluntary occasions or those we can avoid; and Involuntary occasions or those we cannot avoid. A person who lives in a near and voluntary occasion of sin need not expect forgiveness while he continues in that state.

Q. 775. What persons, places and things are usually occasions of sin?
A. The persons who are occasions of sin are all those in whose company we sin, whether they be bad of themselves or bad only while in our company, in which case we also become occasions of sin for them; The places are usually liquor saloons, low theaters, indecent dances, entertainments, amusements, exhibitions, and all immoral resorts of any kind, whether we sin in them or not; The things are all bad books, indecent pictures, songs, jokes and the like, even when they are tolerated by public opinion and found in public places.

audiosancto.org/inc/BC3/bc3-18.html

You need to give a brief idea of the circumstances. Not an essay (“well, I was trying not to drink, but I went out with my friends because it was Joe’s bachelor party, and we went to this bar where they have a cover…”), but “I got drunk and then committed adultery” is not the same to a priest as “I committed adultery. I also got drunk.” And if you’re an alcoholic and any of your sins involve alcohol, you should mention your alcoholism, just like depending on what your sins are, you might need to mention if you are clinically depressed or have another relevant illness.

I’d like to mention that getting drunk with the intention of using that to excuse a different serious sin is probably a bigger sin than just doing the thing without getting drunk first. It’s like trying to trick God. It doesn’t work, and it’s an insult to God to try it. I’m not in any way suggesting that you or your relatives is doing this, but I think it is something that should be mentioned on the thread so people don’t get misled.

–Jen

confess. That is it. That is the whole answer to the question.

If one is an addict especially to alcoholic one needs to seek help immediately. Especially if it involves chastity issues. Because lives are at stake. Your health, your partners health, the unborn baby’s safety and perhaps even a created life.

In any case the gravity of mortal sin is present on many fronts, not only that but if your drinking causes so many lives and potential lives to be at risk by your actions, then it is a moral imperative to seek help.

As much as alcohol is an addiction, raising a glass to ones lips is a conscious choice.

There is something of a contradiction here. If you willfully place yourself into a known near occasion for serious sin, how can you say that the sin was not intended? The likelihood of the sin is foreseen (or at least foreseeable) and you willfully choose the occasion.

Yes, while in the occasion your culpability for the sin is diminished, as you lack the proper capacity to make a free choice. But then haven’t you’ve already made that free choice?

There are parallels in any typical legal system, where a person is liable for outcomes of their actions that were not “intended” (this is a difficult word to use here, so I hope the meaning is clear enough) but were certainly foreseeable as potential outcomes of the action.

Note: there is a lot of grey in this area of morality, as to when entering a near occasion of sin is itself sinful. The above is intended as more of a discussion of some considerations rather than a definitive comment.

It can lessen the culpability for grave sin, yes. But equally, it places a great responsibility to not enter the near occasion of sin in the first place. Willfully placing oneself in the near occasion of serious sin can itself be serious sin, as discussed above - it merely transfers the free choice to earlier in the piece. (Or it can be no sin at all, in certain situations; again, it’s a fairly grey area).

Anyway, one who finds themselves in this situation confesses their sin and relies on the bountiful mercy of Christ. And resolves to avoid the kown near occasions of such sins where possible.

Baltimore Catechism:
Q. 771. What do you mean by the near occasions of sin?
A. By the near occasions of sin I mean all the persons, places and things that may easily lead us into sin.
Q. 772. Why are we bound to avoid occasions of sin?
A. We are bound to avoid occasions of sin because Our Lord has said: “He who loves the danger will perish in it”; and as we are bound to avoid the loss of our souls, so we are bound to avoid the danger of their loss. The occasion is the cause of sin, and you cannot take away the evil without removing its cause.
Q. 773. Is a person who is determined to avoid the sin, but who is unwilling to give up its near occasion when it is possible to do so, rightly disposed for confession?
A. A person who is determined to avoid the sin, but who is unwilling to give up its near occasion when it is possible to do so, is not rightly disposed for confession, and he will not be absolved if he makes known to the priest the true state of his conscience.
Q. 774. How many kinds of occasions of sin are there?
A. There are four kinds of occasions of sin:

[LIST=1]
*]Near occasions, through which we always fall;
*]Remote occasions, through which we sometimes fall;
*]Voluntary occasions or those we can avoid; and
*]Involuntary occasions or those we cannot avoid. A person who lives in a near and voluntary occasion of sin need not expect forgiveness while he continues in that state.
[/LIST]
Q. 775. What persons, places and things are usually occasions of sin?
A.

[LIST=1]
*]The persons who are occasions of sin are all those in whose company we sin, whether they be bad of themselves or bad only while in our company, in which case we also become occasions of sin for them;
*]The places are usually liquor saloons, low theaters, indecent dances, entertainments, amusements, exhibitions, and all immoral resorts of any kind, whether we sin in them or not;
*]The things are all bad books, indecent pictures, songs, jokes and the like, even when they are tolerated by public opinion and found in public places.
[/LIST]
Strictly speaking sin falls into three categories:

[LIST]
*]Informed - freely done and sinful character is known
*]Intentional - not materially sinful, but freely done thinking that it is
*]Vincible Ignorance -
[/LIST]
CCC 1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man “takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin.”1 In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.
**1859 **Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

2290 The virtue of temperance disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine. Those incur grave guilt who, by drunkenness or a love of speed, endanger their own and others’ safety on the road, at sea, or in the air.

2352 on masturbation (excerpt) “To form an equitable judgment about the subjects’ moral responsibility and to guide pastoral action, one must take into account the affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety or other psychological or social factors that lessen, if not even reduce to a minimum, moral culpability.”

1801 Conscience can remain in ignorance or make erroneous judgments. Such ignorance and errors are not always free of guilt.

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