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  #21  
Old 24th March 2010, 05:51 PM
sammy sammy is offline
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Originally Posted by Ron Conte View Post
.023.

When there is a substantial lack of knowledge that the act is immoral, despite substantial sincere efforts by the individual to find the truth of morality as it pertains to that act and to acts in general, then the culpability is substantially reduced, even in some cases to the extent of no culpability at all. This complete reduction of culpability is called invincible ignorance. It occurs when the individual did not know and could not know, within the particular limitations of that individual's life, that the act was immoral.

Give an example of:

1. an objective mortal sin committed with invincible ignorance,

2. the same sin committed with reduced culpability due to substantial lack of knowledge,

3. the same sin committed with where the lack of knowlenge is minor.

1. A non-Catholic family has their father's life terminated so as to not prolong his suffering from terminal brain cancer. All family members agree.
2. A physician who was loosely brought up Catholic but non-practicing since grade school who thinks in his mind that the act of euthanasia is moral but in his heart may not be moral.
3. A former Catholic physician who knows Catholic teaching well but left the Church secondary to the sexual abuse crisis.
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  #22  
Old 24th March 2010, 05:58 PM
VKallin VKallin is offline
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Default Examples of invincible ignorance

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Conte View Post
.023.

When there is a substantial lack of knowledge that the act is immoral, despite substantial sincere efforts by the individual to find the truth of morality as it pertains to that act and to acts in general, then the culpability is substantially reduced, even in some cases to the extent of no culpability at all. This complete reduction of culpability is called invincible ignorance. It occurs when the individual did not know and could not know, within the particular limitations of that individual's life, that the act was immoral.

Give an example of:

1. an objective mortal sin committed with invincible ignorance,

2. the same sin committed with reduced culpability due to substantial lack of knowledge,

3. the same sin committed with where the lack of knowlenge is minor.

1. An accountant profits excessively from laundering money for organized crime.

2. An accountant profits excessively from a questionable transaction without knowing the client is organized crime.

3. An accountant profits excessively from a legal transaction.
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  #23  
Old 24th March 2010, 06:47 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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There seems to be some confusion about the meaning of invincible ignorance.
When a person chooses to commit an act that is objectively immoral, whether a mortal sin or a venial sin, without realizing that the act is immoral, and without culpability for his ignorance, then the objective sin is not an actual sin due to invincible ignorance.

1. A non-Catholic family has their father's life terminated so as to not prolong his suffering from terminal brain cancer. All family members agree.

This is only invincible ignorance if the family members did not know that euthanasian is immoral, even with good intention or in difficult circumstances. The mere fact that they are non-Catholic does not establish invincible ignorance, since the natural law (though the light of reason) is available to all. If euthanasia is legal and accepted in a society and accepted as moral in a particular family, these influences might make it difficult for someone who is non-Catholic to realize that euthanasia is always immoral, resulting perhaps in invincible ignorance.

1. An accountant profits excessively from laundering money for organized crime.

This is an example of an actual mortal sin, regardless of whether the profits are 'excessive' or not. There is nothing stated in the example that would make the act invincible ignorance. Even very worldly persons realize that this type of act is gravely immoral.

2. An accountant profits excessively from a questionable transaction without knowing the client is organized crime.

The knowledge that is lacking in a case of invincible ignorance is not knowledge of the objective matter, but knowledge as to whether or not that objective matter of the act is immoral. For example, if a person asserts that a statement is true, thinking that it is true, when it is actually false, it is not invincible ignorance. The term invincible ignorance refers only to acts that are objective sins, and then only if the person does not know the immorality of the act. Lack of knowledge about facts does not make for invincible ignorance.
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  #24  
Old 24th March 2010, 06:54 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Give an example of:

1. an objective mortal sin committed with invincible ignorance,

A pro-life non-Catholic Christian mistakenly believes that direct abortion is moral to save the life of the mother. The person is ignorant of the distinction between direct and indirect abortion, and of the moral truth that certain kinds of acts are always immoral. The ignorance is not culpable because the person grew up in a Protestant family, in a society that does not know or teach that abortion is always gravely immoral.

2. the same sin committed with reduced culpability due to substantial lack of knowledge,

In the same case, the person might pray and feel uneasy about the decision to abort, but still conclude that the act is moral. There is a substantial reduction in culpability, so that the act is not an actual mortal sin, but it is an actual venial sin because the person had some degree of understanding (in heart) that the act was immoral.

3. the same sin committed with where the lack of knowlenge is minor.

What I am looking for in this type of example is a lack of knowledge not sufficient to reduce culpability from mortal sin to venial sin.

So in a similar example, if the person is a Catholic Christian, who knows that direct abortion is always gravely immoral, and knows that the chosen act is direct abortion, but does not completely understand why, there is a reduction in knowledge and culpability, but only to a minor degree. The act is still an actual mortal sin.
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  #25  
Old 25th March 2010, 10:33 AM
VKallin VKallin is offline
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Default Thanks for the correction

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Conte View Post
There seems to be some confusion about the meaning of invincible ignorance.
When a person chooses to commit an act that is objectively immoral, whether a mortal sin or a venial sin, without realizing that the act is immoral, and without culpability for his ignorance, then the objective sin is not an actual sin due to invincible ignorance.
.

I think you are stating that with invincible ignorance, a person does not understand that they are sinning. So the first font of morality would not be immoral because the intent to sin would not be present.
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  #26  
Old 25th March 2010, 11:23 AM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VKallin View Post
I think you are stating that with invincible ignorance, a person does not understand that they are sinning. So the first font of morality would not be immoral because the intent to sin would not be present.
Yes, invincible ignorance occurs a person does not understand that they are sinning (they don't know that the act is immoral).
However, it is not only about whether or not the first font is immoral.
Intention is the first font.
Invincible ignorance is based on the lack of knowledge that any of the three fonts are sinful.

Sin is a knowingly chosen immoral act.
If the person does not know that the act is immoral, then it is not an actual sin.
If the person does not make a free choice, then it is not an actual sin.
If the act is in fact an immoral act, then it is an objective sin.
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  #27  
Old 25th March 2010, 03:02 PM
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Ron, would it then be correct to assume, that people who are classified as being mentally retarded, are incapable of commiting actual mortal sin?
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  #28  
Old 25th March 2010, 03:35 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CB View Post
Ron, would it then be correct to assume, that people who are classified as being mentally retarded, are incapable of commiting actual mortal sin?

Intelligence, including limited intelligence, is a matter of degree. A person might be so severely afflicted as to be incapable of even venial sin, if he cannot distinguish wrong from right at all. Or a person might be capable of venial sin, but not actual mortal sin, because his understanding of right and wrong is substantially limited. Or a person might have some limitations to his intelligence, but still have sufficient understanding to commit an actual mortal sin.

The same applies to mental illness. The illness might affect knowledge or free will to one degree or another, reducing culpability perhaps from mortal sin to venial sin, or even such that no actual sin is committed at all.
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  #29  
Old 29th March 2010, 06:14 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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.024. Also, if the person does not know that the act is immoral, but does not care if the act is immoral, then he sins. It is always a sin to act without concern for good or evil.

.025. Human persons are able to sin because they have free will. An actual sin is any act that is known (or believed) to be immoral and is freely chosen. A lack of knowledge (pertaining to the morality of the act) reduces culpability. A lack of free choice also reduces culpability. When there is a complete lack of freedom in choosing, or when no choice at all was made, then no actual sin was committed and there is no culpability.
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  #30  
Old 7th April 2010, 01:54 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Default The Catechism of Catholic Ethics

Chapter 1 - The Basis for Morality

.025.
Deliberation is based on knowledge, for a person cannot be resolved to choose an act, unless he knows what he is choosing.

In many cases, the knowing choice of an immoral act is semi-deliberate. The person might have an inner conflict as to whether or not to choose an act. And if a choice is then required by the situation, the person might make a quick decision (to choose an act known to be immoral) without full deliberation (full resolve).

Often, semi-deliberate sins are interior sins of the mind and heart.

.026.
An actual sin is a knowingly chosen immoral act. This knowledge is specifically the knowledge of the immorality of the chosen act, and this choice is specifically the free choice by the will of the known immoral act.
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