Death of an Alcoholic

Is an alcoholic culpable for sin (extra-marital affair, emotional abuse of spouse)? The alcoholic never sought help in AA or counseling, nor did he seek forgiveness in confession before his death, to my knowledge. I am troubled, wondering if this person would suffer eternal damnation for immoral acts or if the fact that the acts were committed during active addiction would lessen culpability.

Only God knows…

Addiction lessens culpability, because it doesn’t allow the consent necessary for grave sin.

Agreed. Only God knows a person’s heart.

It sounds as if someone you know has died and you are concern for their soul.

Do not let your heart be troubled, but offer what you can. Offer prayers for the repose of their soul. Have a Mass offered for their soul.

Eternal Rest grant to them, O Lord, and let Perpetual Light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithfully departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

We must leave the fate of the souls of our loved ones in the hands of God’s perfect justice. It is an act of charity to pray for the souls of the departed; All Souls Day is coming up, a novena for his soul would be a good thing.

Only God knows. Also only God knows if such a person was already in a state of mortal sin prior to becoming an alcoholic.

There are many threads about reduced culpability for suicides or in this case death through alcoholism but nobody seems to consider the state of such persons soul prior to them having problems and killing themselves. It may well be that their death through suicide or alcoholism has reduced culpability but that does not mean they will be saved.

Some quotes from Pope Francis on God’s mercy seem appropriate:

I think we too are the people who, on the one hand, want to listen to Jesus, but on the other hand, at times, like to find a stick to beat others with, to condemn others. And Jesus has this message for us: mercy. I think — and I say it with humility — that this is the Lord’s most powerful message: mercy.

— Homily on March 17, 2013

I am always struck when I reread the parable of the merciful Father. … The Father, with patience, love, hope and mercy, had never for a second stopped thinking about [his wayward son], and as soon as he sees him still far off, he runs out to meet him and embraces him with tenderness, the tenderness of God, without a word of reproach. … God is always waiting for us, he never grows tired. Jesus shows us this merciful patience of God so that we can regain confidence and hope — always!

— Homily on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 7, 2013

God’s mercy can make even the driest land become a garden, can restore life to dry bones (cf. Ez 37:1-14). … Let us be renewed by God’s mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives too; and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish.

— Easter Urbi et Orbi message on March 31, 2013

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