Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Is Gaming A Sin? Response To An E-Mail.

Hello xxxxx,

Thank you so much for your e-mail, and may God bless you in your studies and in the pursuit of your vocation.

I am pretty much the only writer on this blog now and I don't contribute to it enough either, I think I started helping on it when I was about 24 and now I'm 32. I was a seminarian when I started and now I have been a priest 3 years.

I take the view that video games are a medium, just like film, music and literature. There are books that Catholics should not read, there are music types Catholics should not listen to, there are films Catholics should not watch, but this does not mean a catholic should not read any books, not listen to any music, not watch any films.

I also take the view that games are a kind of sport/ leisure activity a way of re-creating, of "playing" which according to St. Thomas Aquinas, is a necessary element in being a flourishing human being.

So with those points put together we get-

1) everyone needs to play, to recreate themselves,
2) video games are a medium, a type of entertainment and like any medium in itself it is morally neutral. The particular message or content that comes from the game will define its morality. I am quite strict with myself on this- games with swearing, impurities, or games where you summon demons, I avoid those- sometimes I have bought them and stopped playing them- like 'the last of us' which i thought was too vulgar language. So you're right GTA is going to be something to avoid. But there are plenty of games that are perfectly fine, just as there are films and books and music.

Obviously, for play to fulfill its job as recreation it will, by definition, be in moderation, because pay is there is help us re-create, to de-stress, it should be to let off steam and not a central part of our life. I probably only play maybe 2-3 hours a week.

I think priests who oppose video games are weird and inconsistent. ... do they have a problem with someone playing a sport? of course not! Do they have a problem with someone reading a decent novel? no.

Video games therefore are fine so long as they are morally neutral games (like for example Pac Man, or Candy Crush, or Mario Kart or a spots game or a platform game), or even, on the rare occasion morally positive (where you have an RPG with an inspiring and christian themed message) and always only as a distraction, a small amount of play or diversion to provide recreation which we all need in order to flourish.
In Christ,

with the Immaculate Virgin Mary.

Fr Higgins


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