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-   -   moral evil versus physical evil (http://www.catholicplanet.net/forum/showthread.php?t=2401)

Climacus Areopagite 8th July 2008 10:01 PM

Would slight mental disorders such as depression and anxiety be a physical evil? It seems like a tricky one because some people feel guilty that they are depressed and sometimes the disorder isnt their fault. I suppose they could be guilty for not getting help, but I am talking about a guilt that stems from something being wrong with them and the way society treats the issue.

JuanLuis 8th July 2008 10:28 PM

Moral Evil: masturbation, impure thoughts, pornography

Physical Evil: Wet dreams (seminal discharge)

Ron Conte 8th July 2008 11:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Climacus Areopagite (Post 18417)
Would slight mental disorders such as depression and anxiety be a physical evil? It seems like a tricky one because some people feel guilty that they are depressed and sometimes the disorder isnt their fault. I suppose they could be guilty for not getting help, but I am talking about a guilt that stems from something being wrong with them and the way society treats the issue.

These would be physical evils, not moral evils, so there is no culpability.

Ron Conte 8th July 2008 11:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JuanLuis (Post 18420)
Moral Evil: masturbation, impure thoughts, pornography

Physical Evil: Wet dreams (seminal discharge)


Correct, although impure thoughts are only immoral in so far as one consents to them. More accurately, it is the use of pornography that is immoral. Pornography itself is not an act, so it would be a physical evil. A sin is a human act, meaning an act that is knowingly and willingly chosen. Things that occur without use of will and intellect are not sins.

Rob 8th July 2008 11:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JuanLuis (Post 18420)
Physical Evil: Wet dreams (seminal discharge)


In another catholic forum I was nearly stoned to death (figuratively) for explaining this concept. People mistakenly believed that I was saying that wet dreams were a sin, when in fact I was trying to explain that it was just a physical evil and not a sin.
Still the majority had no idea what I was talking about, and that worried me, since I noticed the lack of knowledge about morality and the faith. Not to mention that I was banned from that forum for no apparent reason few months later.

Ron Conte 8th July 2008 11:59 PM

Yes, I too have been mistreated in many a forum.

The concept of physical evil versus moral evil is in the Summa. The problem is that St. Thomas develops his philosophy and theology over the course of many articles, using terminology which is either not in use today or in use only by some theologians. So one cannot succinctly quote the Summa to make a point. One is either familiar with its teachings, or not. I've notice that the Catechism in some places relies on the Summa, but doesn't cite it. Also, Gaudium and Spes on expropriation relies on the Summa but doesn't cite it.

I'm concerned that some persons are being led astray in other forums, but there is not much I can do about it.

Rob 10th July 2008 12:34 PM

Ron,

There are things which are or were considered physical evils, yet they have been transformed by God into means through which we obtain salvation. For example suffering is a physical evil, if I procure unjust suffering to another, yet if I suffer for someone, that is not a physical evil. Jesus Himself suffered for the sake of humanity, so sufferring cannot be considered a physical evil in this case.

How do we call these kinds of "evils" which are not really evil?

I suppose death can be included in this cathegory, since we cannot enjoy Heaven without dying first.


How about those things which are consequence of the fall, neverthless they cannot be considered a physical evil but imperfections. For example we have speculated that normal sexual intercourse as well as usuall childbirth were not intended originally by God in creation, so they are imperfections. No one would say however that they are physical evils, so how do we call these ones?

Ron Conte 10th July 2008 01:00 PM

The term physical evil does not refer to evil in the usual sense of the world. In common parlance, evil means severe immorality. But in moral theology, moral evil is used for even a slight immorality, and physical evil is used for what is not immoral at all.

Christ's suffering on the Cross and His death were physical evils, in other words 'harm'. He suffered severe harm for our sake on the cross. It is sometimes moral to permit physical evil for the sake of helping others.

Your post above uses 'physical evil' as if it referred to moral evil; it does not.

As for procreation, if not for the fall, all conceptions would have been virginal and miraculous, as Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich states. Thus all conceptions would have been perfect.

After the fall, conceptions occur in the manner of animals, because the fall makes us more like the animals and less like the angels (not that angels procreate). This would be an imperfection. Some theologians use the term 'metaphysical evil,' but I would classify metaphysical evils as imperfections (example: that predatory animals kill to survive, that human procreation occurs in the manner of animals, etc.).

See this article:
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05649a.htm

Speaking to all the members, I know that some of this material that I am presenting seems entirely new, as if I had invented it myself, but this is really longstanding Catholic moral theology (only recently abandoned or severely distorted by modernist theologians).

Now there is room in Catholic moral theology for some faithful disagreements, such as which things are classified as physical evil, and which as imperfections, or such as how to evalute the weight of good and bad consequences in the third font. But there ought to be no disagreements on the basic principles of moral theology.

Rob 10th July 2008 01:06 PM

Thanks for the reply, I now understand better the concept of physical evil.

js1975 10th July 2008 04:30 PM

Ron,

To further test my understanding, wouldn't exercise (going to the gym) be considered physical evil, and if done excessively even a possible moral evil?

thanks!
jay


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