From Game Boy to PlayStation, I used to enjoy playing video games. Super Mario, WWE, Contra, and Street Fighter to name a few were my pastime favorites. Although my mother controlled my gaming habit, it became a huge part of my childhood. As I was growing up, my interest in games gradually fades. College came and I got serious (Accountancy is intense!). Calculator was my new joystick! That said, I still have fun playing games. With today’s advanced technology, the quality of games is also in a whole new level to the point that it almost becomes realistic. One of the trending games now is Call of Duty. As a Catholic, you might be wondering, are games like this involving violence considered a sin? Is playing Call of Duty a sin?
What is Sin?
First, let’s discuss what sin is.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church,
CCC 1849 “Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law.”
Sin has two categories. Depending on the gravity, it could be mortal or venial.
CCC 1857 “For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.”
For example, murder. Since this breaks the 5th commandment, “You shall not kill”, this is considered as grave. Additionally, if one performed it with full knowledge, meaning the murderer knew it is a sin and still committed it, clearly, this is a mortal sin.
If any of the three conditions is not present, it will fall as a venial sin.
Mortal sin can only be forgiven through the Sacrament of Confession. On the other hand, although not necessary, if one committed a venial sin, it is advisable to also confess it.
Call of Duty
Call of Duty is a first-person shooter video game series developed by Infinity Ward, Treyarch, and Sledgehammer Games, and published by Activision. The series is based on the wars in World War II and other conflicts, with modern warfare as the main theme.
Basically, the game is all about shooting your enemies which is apparently violent. And this is what concerns some Catholics. It shakes their conscience, questioning if playing this game could be a sin.
Playing Call of Duty as a Sin
CCC 1859 “Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.”
So, is playing Call of Duty a sin?
No. Playing Call of Duty is not a sin. Although the game in itself is violence, on the part of the player, there is actually no “Act” in reality, which is a prerequisite to being a sin. Everything is on the screen. There is no actual harm. Therefore, there is no sin.
Despite the fact that there is no actual violence, it could still have negative effects on the player which could lead to sin.
For example, since this video game could trigger addiction, this might cause to a relationship issues, within the family, specifically. If the spouses do not have enough time for each other, it might end up to a severe complication like divorce.
Another one is its impact on the player’s behavior. According to a study, those who play more violent games show agression. And this is quite alarming for it could eventually cause serious sins like murder and other physical violence.
Playing violent video games is not a sin. But, this could lead into one. In this high-tech era, control is the key. As Catholics, we must set always limit to everything we do, not only in playing games. We must learn to take things in moderation. Doing everything with love, sticking to our goal which is to be holy.
Saints in heaven, pray for us.