If a person sins, being mentally unhealthy, is he responsible for his actions?


QUESTION: if a person sins, being mentally unhealthy, then God will not condemn him (if the disease developed gradually or in adulthood)? It turns out that before the illness a person was responsible for his actions, but when he got sick, no longer?

ANSWER: This question concerns, first of all, the degree of a person’s moral responsibility for committed actions. According to the Catholic doctrine, a sin that turns a person away from God is committed with full awareness of what has been done and with full consent of the will. Of course, in the case of mental illness, it is difficult to talk about a person’s free choice – although it is impossible to talk about any single criterion for all mental illnesses. In addition, people with mental disorders have moments of sound reasoning when they are able to realize what they have done. In general, if a person’s condition is so grave that it completely paralyzes his will, then he does not bear moral responsibility for his actions, even if in the case of a healthy person these actions would be a grave insult to God and man. In other cases, we can talk about a certain facet of a person’s mental state, beyond which he ceases to be aware of his actions. Each case must be approached with a separate criterion, and ultimately only God can judge the moral guilt of a person, whose justice and mercy we must entrust the judgment of a person.

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