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Presuming Invincible Ignorance

  /   Sunday September 19, 2004  

After a few recent conversations, a thought has occurred to me. Feel free to comment. Many times, even some orthodox Catholics will see that another is in serious sin and say that they probably aren’t culpable because they don’t know better. Others are a little less certain of such a fact and will say that we can’t know if they are culpable or not given the widespread misinformation in our society or even within the Church.

However, if we don’t know if one is culpable or not, then doesn’t this mean that they might be culpable? Do we just excuse them, and let it slide? Aren’t we risking their souls by doing this? It seems to me that it would be better to assume that they are culpable and that if we are able to reach out to them with the truth, we must. The actions that we can take are left to prudential judgment, but excusing their sin cannot be an option. It has often been a thought of mine that excusing one’s sin is judging that person just as much as condemning them. A judgment made in a different direction is no less a judgment.

Even if we have strong reason to believe that a person is not culpable for a sin, we still have reason to do what we can to correct the disorder. Paragraph 1793 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly states that even an sinful act that one is not culpable for “remains no less an evil, a privation, a disorder.” The Holy Father stated it another way in Veritatis Splendor, paragraph 63, by stating “It is never acceptable to confuse a subjective error about moral good with the objective truth rationally proposed to man in virtue of his end, or to make the moral value of an act performed with a true and correct conscience equivalent to the moral value of an act performed by following the judgment of an erroneous conscience.”

So, why is it that so often we turn a blind eye to sins that are keeping our brothers and sisters from having the life God wants them to have? We do them no favor. In fact, we may be risking their souls.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized

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