Is it a sin?

Is having an addiction to self harm a sin? and can such an addiction stop you from becoming a Catholic?

I think the bigger concern with self harm is that you deal with the underlying issues that lead you to do so, perhaps through counseling. And that wouldn’t stop you from becoming a Catholic, but you really should seek some help for it.


I could not agree more. Self harm or mutilation is a symptom of an extraordinarily serious condition. Please seek treatment as soon as possible. Recovery is possible. I will include you in my prayers.

It would be (through a broad interpretation of “thou shalt not kill” which forbids mutilation and suicide, as explained in the Catechism); however, given that repeated self-harm is a manifestation of various psychological disorders, imputed responsibility would naturally be diminished.

In other words, the right way to handle it would be through pastoral counselling and professional help, but frequent recourse to the Sacraments would also certainly help.

Finally, having a psychological disorder of any sort certainly does not bar you from becoming a member of the Catholic Church! If that were the case, how many of us would make the cut? As old Sigmund Freud once said, all mankind is neurotic to some degree or the other. :slight_smile:

My friend who is autistic, when he was in his 30s had a nervous tic of giving himself black eyes if he felt a bit too “hot under the collar” and having to explain it to his boss the next morning.

On the whole he is rather successful in practical living, responsible and fairly gregarious. He is a Protestant Christian and prays a lot for people and people pray kindly for his success.

Protestants’ “lack of sense of sin” can occasionally be a strange advantage in God’s “upside down” world.

Every word others post in this thread is true. Nevertheless, beware if you should ever come across anyone that was being “scrupulous by proxy”! :wink:

Questions to ponder: Would God approve of addiction to anything other than Him? Since you are created in the* image and likeness* of God, would it be a sin to deface that image? We are called to be good stewards of the body which God gave us. Is self harm consistent with this?

There is help available for self-harm, as I am certain you know. However, when you humble yourself, admit that you are powerless against addiction, and beg God’s grace to overcome it, He will not refuse you. Yet, be patient, as the healing process is not begun by God, but by you, and you are on a journey of healing.

Prayers ascending on your behalf.

Thank you all for your comments, I suppose I should have made myself more clear, I was asking out of curiosity, you hear a lot about alcohol and drugs but not a lot about self harm and I know there are some religions who deeply frown on self harm and I wondered were the Catholic church stood on the matter as I had never heard it mentioned.

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