Good question katxc6.
It is probably a mortal sin to manufacture violent video games that do not portray Morally Justifiable Homicide (e.g., a policeman defending himself against an armed and attacking criminal; a soldier shooting the attacking enemy during WWI or WWII).
Pope Benedict made a strong statement against violent video games recently. Since he is the Vicar of Chirst and the voice of Jesus Christ on earth, we should pay heed to his words.
From a prior post (this question I noticed comes up a lot here).
However, I think the video game industry and Catholicism, on a whole, IMO, and especially with the more popular games, are moving morally and culturally in separate directions.
I think these games featuring wanton violence, for instance Godfather, The Club, Mafia, and most of the more popular games, really aren’t games that Catholics should play.
Andy, you’re really going to have to find out from an expert in Catholic moral theology (like from Catholic Answers) whether or not playing these sort of games constitutes a mortal sin against the Commandment "Thou shall not kill (in ancient Biblical Hebrew “murder” I believe).
I mean you’re thinking you are going to shoot the guy or kill him in the game. And thoughts can be a sin.
I understand Larowyn’s point that it is just a game. But these games no longer look like Pac Man.
The Game Designers try very hard with the graphics and construction to create a very realistic looking setting and characters. They try to simulate real life.
And yes, the game itself is a virtual reality, but it is also a part of our human reality, and we are still humans while playing it. And you are still sitting in the real world while you are playing the game.
And, yes, Larowyn, I hate to sound like I’m impinging on your freedom to game (our secular society tells you things that are morally objectionable are ok because businesses like gaming companies and other businesses can make $$ off you and everyone else), but, I think if you apply some moral analysis to the games, you’ll see what I’m talking about.
A soldier who is serving and defending his nation in a Just War is not committing murder when the soldier is killing the enemy.
The killing is morally Justifiable Homicide because it is necessary in order to defend his nation or people.
Now, if a soldier just wantonly kills a civilian or executes POWs for no reason, then that would not be morally Justifiable, and it would be murder.
A game like Medal of Honor simulates history.
That, I think, was sort of Father Pacwa’s point (about why on the radio Father Pacwa said the WWII videos games, on the whole, were ok).
Anyway, I found this on another Thread here at Catholic Answers; Andy, you will want to read this:
MESSAGE OF THE HOLY FATHER BENEDICT XVI
FOR THE 41st WORLD COMMUNICATIONS DAY
Theme: “Children and the Media:
A Challenge for Education”
May 20, 2007
Any trend to produce programmes and products - including animated films and video games - which in the name of entertainment exalt violence and portray anti-social behaviour or the trivialization of human sexuality is a perversion, all the more repulsive when these programmes are directed at children and adolescents.
How could one explain this ‘entertainment’ to the countless innocent young people who actually suffer violence, exploitation and abuse?
In this regard, all would do well to reflect on the contrast between Christ who “put his arms around [the children] laid his hands on them and gave them his blessing” (Mk 10:16) and the one who “leads astray … these little ones” for whom “it would be better … if a millstone were hung round his neck” (Lk 17:2).
Again I appeal to the leaders of the media industry to educate and encourage producers to safeguard the common good, to uphold the truth, to protect individual human dignity and promote respect for the needs of the family.
(another CA’s Forum member’s comments)
B16 doesn’t say that it’s a sin exactly, but he does condemn (the manufacture of) games that “exalt violence and portray anti-social behavior or the trivialization of human sexuality” as a perversion (my note, that is very strong moral language).
I would recommend, as a Catholic, based on this statement of the Pope’s, that you should stay away from video games that portray criminals in a positive light, or any that portray the wanton and unjustifiable killing of human beings.
Your best bet is playing a WWII game, if you want to play a video game, because the killing that goes on in those is done in self-defense (I can’t think of any that allows you to murder POWs or civilians).
It is not murder. It is Morally Justifiable Homicide.
I don’t know if it is a exactly a mortal sin to play these games, but it seems reasonable that strong arguments can be made that they are sinful to play them.