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Old 13th August 2010, 11:49 AM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 12,630
Default Akin on intrinsic evil

Here is a good article by Jimmy Akin on intrinsic evil

I will add a few comments.

Theologians do not usually use the term 'extrinsic evil'. An intrinsically evil act is immoral by the very nature of the act, regardless of intention or circumstances. When an act is not intrinsically evil, but is immoral by intention or circumstances, the evil is extrinsic to the very nature of the act, but is still found within the fonts of morality. Immoral acts are immoral because of one or more bad fonts; the immorality of the act is never extrinsic to the three fonts.

However, his use of the term does not express any type of error. He is simply using a different terminology than usual.

I agree with his opinion that the pronouncement in Evangelium Vitae against murder (and abortion and euthanasia) does not fall under papal infallibility. However, this is not because the words 'I declare and define' are lacking. The words 'I declare and define' are not necessary to papal infallibility as defined by Vatican I. Rather, I think that the passage falls under the type of infallibility of an Ecumenical Council, because it is both a defining act and it is of the body of bishops with the Pope. He is correct that the teaching also falls under the Universal Magisterium.

Papal infallibility - defining act, the pope alone
Ecumenical Councils - defining act, the pope and the body of bishops
Universal Magisterium - non-defining acts, the pope and the body of bishops

In my opinion, a Council is not needed for the second type of infallibility. If the Pope and the body of bishops gather by communication (rather than by travel to one place), and they define a truth meeting all the conditions for papal infallibility, but with the body of bishops also teaching ex cathedra, from their offices as the successors to the Apostles, then it is the same type of infallibility as a Council.
Ron Conte
Roman Catholic theologian
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