How is drinking alcohol not putting a person in a near occasion of sin?

FULL DISCLOSURE: I am (and always have been) a teetotaller, and would support some form of prohibition of the consumption of alcohol if one ever came to a vote.

I’m NOT talking about Eucharistic wine, obviously.

I recognise that this is not a popular position to hold in the slightest, but it is nevertheless my position.

How is consuming alcohol not putting oneself in the near occasion of sin?

We consider (and fairly so) two people of the opposite sex who like each other living together in a house by themselves as those people putting themselves in the near occasion of sin.

So how is consuming alcohol any different?

Rather than discussing how it has always been permitted (for that, I would point to the development of our moral understanding on matters like the death penalty), I would like a frank answer to the question, if possible.

Because one can consume alcohol without always committing sin.

For some people, I’m sure consuming any alcohol at all would be a near occasion of sin. I’m mainly thinking of alcoholics and people who have a hard time moderating their impulses in general. But mileage may vary. It’s not an objective, universal fact that alcohol leads people into sin. It is possible to drink without sinning.



Two people of the opposite sex who like each other can live together without always commiting sin as well.

But we rightly recognise the situation as too risky, and being likely to cause scandal.

The issue isn’t them living together, nor whether or not it’s an occasion to sin. The issue with that is scandal. It might lead others to sin.


If you think we should make alcohol illegal, you’d starve monks to death.Trappist beer
I have alcoholism on both sides of my family. I even had some trouble with it at one point. Now, I rarely drink, and when I do, it is generally a glass of wine or beer, as I know, anymore than that would be a bad idea. Someone has to CHOOSE to sin, we are not automatons, we have free will.


I’m sure that that could be said of general alcohol consumption as well in many instances for a fair number of people.

Perhaps if bars went away, this would be less of a concern. But as things stand, I’m not sure how all of this can be justified.

I never drink more than two drinks. And only then if it is over the course of several hours. I don’t even get a buzz off it. Yes, it can make me feel relaxed, but I am still certainly in full control of my faculties. How would this be a near occassion of sin? I don’t ever desire a third drink.

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This could be said of nearly any situation that could cause a near occasion of sin.

For example, someone could say:

Why worry about dressing modestly? It’s the other person’s fault if they choose to sin.

Each of your scenarios might be a near occasion of sin for an individual person and might not be for another person.

Neither example is intrinsically evil.


I am like many, many people – I have no problem limiting myself to one drink; or, if I’m driving, to none at all. I don’t drink with strangers. That one drink has never made me inclined to do anything reckless or scandalous.
So, how is that one glass of wine with dinner a “near occasion of sin” for me?


No, that isn’t what scandal is.


It’s so obviously not a near occasion of sin that there’s not much to say about it. You already pointed out the flaw in your argument in your OP. If it really was a near occasion of sin, then that would be true of the Eucharistic wine just as much as any other alcoholic beverage.


That’s often true of modesty-related subjects as well. Some people might not react the same way as others when exposed to this or that stimulus.

Please elaborate, as that particular post doesn’t really say much.

I mean, I literally said it’s “to lead others to sin,” but here’s the catechism if you need more detail:

2284 Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. the person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor’s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.

2285 Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea."85 Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep’s clothing.86

2286 Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion.

Therefore, they are guilty of scandal who establish laws or social structures leading to the decline of morals and the corruption of religious practice, or to "social conditions that, intentionally or not, make Christian conduct and obedience to the Commandments difficult and practically impossible."87 This is also true of business leaders who make rules encouraging fraud, teachers who provoke their children to anger,88 or manipulators of public opinion who turn it away from moral values.


And let us not forget The Wedding at Cana junior! Our Lord not only attended but He also made excellent wine for the entire party :wine_glass:


Just wanted to point out that there are laws in some countries that recognise that the religious usage of something (such as a substance that might otherwise be banned) is different than the usage of such a substance for recreational purposes.

That doesn’t have anything to do with Church teaching, of course, nor with the near occasion of sin, but I thought that I would point that out anyway.

With regard to your comment, I would note that there are some things that are morally justified in one instance that are not in another that could in either case scandalise someone or somehow cause a person to be in a near occasion of sin.

God also permitted the death penalty, as I noted in the original post of this thread.

The Lord also said that it was indeed God’s law to stone someone commiting adultery, despite stopping the stoning in that particular situation (and, of course, making a good moral point that we have take very seriously).

I’m glad to see there’s one thing, at least, that we can agree on.

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I’m sure that we agree on plenty of things. Just not this topic, perhaps.

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