Pope Francis on Casuistry and Thomism

The word casuistry is derived from the Latin word for case — “causa”, referring to a particular occasion or to a legal case, and not “casus”, referring to a fall or accident.

One meaning is an approach to ethics which decides each ethical question on a case by case basis, with no overriding moral rules or principles. Such an approach is contrary to Catholic teaching, which has the love of God and neighbor as the fundamental rule of ethics, as well as various basic principles of ethics.

Another meaning is to begin with a particular instance, and then generalize that instance to cover other cases. This approach can fail because ethics is based on intention, moral object, and circumstances. Since intention and circumstances vary, it is not always correct to generalize from a few cases.

A third meaning is to justify sins by a clever and subtle, but false, reasoning, especially one that is legalistic, and devoid of love and mercy. Obviously, this approach is contrary to the Gospel.

But casuistry is not “the application of broad principles to concrete cases”. That is the opposite of casuistry.

What Pope Francis means by the term appears to be both the second and third meanings. He rebukes the critics of Amoris Laetitia by saying that their approach is casuistic. They begin with a particular instance of divorce and remarriage, where a previous valid marriage makes the current union adulterous, and then they assume that all other cases are the same. In fact, there are a range of different situations. In some cases, the previous union was invalid and the couple can obtain an annulment. In other cases, the divorced and remarried might be living in chastity, but remain together for the sake of the children. In still other cases, the couple might be in good conscience, by a sincere but mistaken conscience, so that they are still in the state of grace.

The critics of Amoris Laetitia are also casuistic in their reasoning because they use an approach which is legalistic, offering false reasonings which are devoid of love and mercy.

Thomistic

The assertion of Pope Francis that Amoris Laetitia is Thomistic has also been criticized. But Pope Francis is again correct. Saint Thomas Aquinas teaches that ignorance can sometimes remove or diminish the culpability of an objectively sinful act (Summa). And that is the main and much disputed point of Amoris Laetitia.

Cardinal Muller wrote the following in a preface to a book by Rocco Buttiglione, defending Pope Francis against the critics of Amoris Laetitia.

“The formal element of sin is the departure from God and his holy will, but there are different levels of gravity depending on the type of sin. Spirit’s sins can be more serious than flesh’s sins. Spiritual pride and avarice introduce into religious and moral life a more profound disorder than impurity resulting from human weakness. The apostasy of faith, the denial of the divinity of Christ weighs more than theft and adultery; adultery among married people weighs more than among the unmarried and, the adultery of the faithful, who know God’s will, weighs more than that of the unbelievers (cf. Thomas Aquinas, th. S. I-II q. 73; II-II q). Moreover, for the imputabilty of guilt in God’s judgment, one must consider subjective factors such as full knowledge and deliberate consent in the serious lack of respect for God’s commandments, which has as a consequence the loss of sanctifying grace and of the ability of faith to become effective in charity (cf. Thomas Aquinas S. th. II-II, q. 10 a. 3 ad 3).

This does not mean, however, that now Amoris laetitia art. 302 supports, in contrast to Veritatis splendor 81, that, due to mitigating circumstances, an objectively bad act can become subjectively good (it is dubium n. 4 of the cardinals). The action in itself bad (the sexual relationship with a partner who is not the legitimate spouse) does not become subjectively good due to circumstances. In the assessment of guilt, however, there may be mitigating circumstances and the ancillary elements of an irregular cohabitation similar to marriage can also be presented before God in their ethical value in the overall assessment of judgment (for example, the care for children in common, which is a duty deriving from natural law).”

So we can see from the above quote that Amoris Laetitia is Thomistic, and that the critics of the document have erred by refusing to take into account the factors that might make an objective mortal sin not also an actual mortal sin.

by
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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35 Responses to Pope Francis on Casuistry and Thomism

  1. Matt Z. says:

    Would not the second example, the divorced and remarried living together in chastity but for the good of the children. Should they still not try to get their situation rectified? Could living together cause scandall? Would that not be going against the precept of the Church “to follow the laws of marriage?”

    • Ron Conte says:

      Circumstances vary. Scandal is not intrinsically evil; it is a circumstance. The Church has long permitted living in chastity for the sake of the children, so it is not contrary to Church teaching.

  2. Paul says:

    Ron, could you explain to us what the argentine bishops are referring to at this point?
    [edited to substitute Google translation]
    6) In other more complex circumstances, and when a declaration of nullity could not be obtained, the aforementioned option may not be in fact feasible. However, a path of discernment is also possible. If it is recognized that, in a concrete case, there are limitations that mitigate responsibility and guilt (see 301-302), particularly when a person considers that he would fall on a further fault damaging the children of the new union, Amoris laetitia opens the possibility of access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist (see notes 336 and 351). These, in turn, dispose the person to continue maturing and growing with the strength of grace.
    http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/es/letters/2016/documents/papa-francesco_20160905_regione-pastorale-buenos-aires.html

    • Ron Conte says:

      I don’t agree with the Argentine Bishops, nor do I agree with Pope Francis on this particular discipline for Communion. But it is within the authority of the Church to permit persons who are not conscious of actual mortal sin to receive Communion. The Argentine Bishops are not saying that the couple is without grave sin by continuing in their current union, but that there are mitigating factors that make the objective mortal sin, perhaps not also an actual mortal sin. They propose Confession first, and then Communion.

      Again, I will point out that, for decades, most Catholics who receive Communion have been guilty of objective mortal sins: contraception, failure to believe in the real presence, failure to believe in many different dogmas, various sexual sins, which are widespread not only in secular society but among practicing Catholics. And yet few persons call for them to refrain from Communion.

  3. Paul says:

    Than you Ron. Amoris Laetitia seems to refer also to cases in which the rule is well known or where there is a conflict of duties.

    Amoris Laetitia 301: A subject may know full well the rule, yet have great difficulty in understanding “its inherent values”, or be in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to act differently and decide otherwise without further sin.

    How is this reconciled with the doctrine of Familiaris Consortio?

    • Ron Conte says:

      FC refers to the objective morality of acts. AL takes into account factors that mitigate culpability. And differences in discipline are possible from one Pontificate to another.

    • Marco says:

      @Ron

      It could be the case that such a discipline is dangerous for souls? I mean, it could be the case that a Priest absolve a divorced and remarried taking in account his personal situation and that this faithful is not really absolved and the subsequent Communion is a sacrilege?

      Because if the answer is “no” i think that the discipline of the argentinians bishops (and Italians, because here in Italy Al is often interpreted in that way) is a wonderful outpouring of Grace to fallen sinners.

      If, on the other hand, the answer is yes……

      I don’t know Ron, tell me what you think.

    • Ron Conte says:

      The Pope has the role to decide this type of question. I prefer a stricter discipline. I would not say it is dangerous to souls if the Pope’s decision is different from my preference.

    • Marco says:

      “The Pope has the role to decide this type of question.”

      Of course, i know that.

      But my question was

      “it could be the case that a Priest absolve a divorced and remarried taking in account his personal situation and that this faithful is not really absolved and the subsequent Communion is a sacrilege?”

      Provided that the fathful is sincere, his absolution is always valid? That is, if a priest decides to absolve a divorced and remarried is he or she validly absolved?

    • Ron Conte says:

      Sin is a knowingly chosen immoral act. If the person commits an objective sin, with a sincere but mistaken conscience, then it is not an actual sin. It is always possible that a priest gives absolution, but the person is not forgiven due to a lack of contrition or a culpable failure to confess all mortal sins that can be remembered, etc. However, sincerity does not guarantee a valid confession. I suppose it is possible for a sacrilege to occur, if the divorced and remarried person is not sincere and not contrite. But that is due to a failure on the part of the penitent, not the decision to extend mercy to sinners.

    • Marco says:

      My question was asked because many argue that such a discipline can be dangerous.

  4. Marco says:

    @Ron

    I mean, if the confessor grants absolution and does not impose on the person the duty of living chastely, this person will commit actual mortal sin with the consequent acts or he or she is justified due to the Confessor’s permission?

    • Ron Conte says:

      He is not justified by the Confessor’s “permission”. But the judgments of conscience vary, and fallen sinners often make serious errors, with a culpability that is reduced, at least to some extent. The duty to live chastely is not optional, and no confessor has the authority to remove that obligation.

    • Marco says:

      Ron, i was referring to this

      6) In other more complex circumstances, and when a declaration of nullity could not be obtained, the aforementioned option may not be in fact feasible. However, a path of discernment is also possible. If it is recognized that, in a concrete case, there are limitations that mitigate responsibility and guilt (see 301-302), particularly when a person considers that he would fall on a further fault damaging the children of the new union, Amoris laetitia opens the possibility of access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist (see notes 336 and 351). These, in turn, dispose the person to continue maturing and growing with the strength of grace.
      http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/es/letters/2016/documents/papa-francesco_20160905_regione-pastorale-buenos-aires.html

      The “aforementioned option” is the duty of living chastely, if you read what they wrote. So the Argentinian bishops admit that there are times where living chastely may not be feasible (for example when only one is catholic and the partner is not, and he wouldn’t accept the imposition of chastity from the catholic partner, destroying the family).

      What happens in these cases?

    • Ron Conte says:

      The couple should separate if they cannot or will not live chastely. As I said, I don’t agree with the discipline that lets them receive Communion. I prefer a stricter rule. So I don’t wish to answer any more of these questions that essentially ask me to defend a position with which I disagree.

    • Marco says:

      Ron, i would like one more answer and after that i won’t ask you anything more about this subject.

      You say

      “The couple should separate if they cannot or will not live chastely.”

      Even if they have children to take care of?

      Cardinal Müller said

      “This does not mean, however, that now Amoris laetitia art. 302 supports, in contrast to Veritatis splendor 81, that, due to mitigating circumstances, an objectively bad act can become subjectively good (it is dubium n. 4 of the cardinals). The action in itself bad (the sexual relationship with a partner who is not the legitimate spouse) does not become subjectively good due to circumstances. In the assessment of guilt, however, there may be mitigating circumstances and the ancillary elements of an irregular cohabitation similar to marriage can also be presented before God in their ethical value in the overall assessment of judgment (for example, the care for children in common, which is a duty deriving from natural law)” http://www.lastampa.it/2017/10/30/vaticaninsider/eng/the-vatican/communion-to-the-remarried-mller-there-can-be-mitigating-factors-in-guilt-OI0rK5MajqAn9gHGQE1YbO/pagina.html

      But according to what you just said a catholic divorced and remarried should be obliged to destroy his/her own family if his/her partner is not practicing catholic and is not going to accept the imposition of chastity.

      How do you square what you said with Cardinal Müller’s words?

      One more question, the most important: when the argentinian (and the Italians, because as i said Amoris Laetitia is interpreted in that way even in Italy) absolve sinners who don’t live chastely because, as that document said, “it is not feasible”, is that absolution valid or are they pushing sinners towards their own damnation.

      In my understanding it should be similar to what happens to ortodox christians, that is, the ortodox christians can hardly be guilty of actual mortal sin for their remarriage because their Church justify them in that choice.

      What do you think?

    • Ron Conte says:

      I don’t have to square my position with what the Cardinal opines. But, no, separating is not equivalent to “destroying” the family. Many families go through a divorce, and the children turn out fine. They are not destroyed. It is not an unthinkable burden to impose, esp. if the alternative is grave sin. Orthodox Christians and Protestant Christians are following their consciences, so it is not actual mortal sin. And as for the rest, I can’t be the judge of consciences and absolutions. Again, I don’t agree with the discipline that permits Communion for them. I won’t take any more questions of this type, which ask me to defend a position I do not hold.

    • Marco says:

      Ok Ron, let’s not talk about that pastoral practice anymore.

      I just want to focus on one thing you said

      “Orthodox Christians and Protestant Christians are following their consciences, so it is not actual mortal sin.”

      So you confirm my thought, that is, the ortodoxes are good and fine because their Church forgives them and allows remarriage, so when they remarry they don’t have to fear the consequences of their action, because their action will not, in fact, have any eternal consequence in most cases.

      On the other hand catholics are in much graver danger, because they know that the Church condemns divorce and remarriage, so it is much more likely for them to be guilty of actual mortal sin.

      So the ortodoxes have valid Sacraments and can confess and receive Eucharist without this kind of burden imposed upon them (the same can be said about non abortifacient contraception, which is allowed in the ortodox Church), on the other hand catholics in the exact same situation are risking to be condemned to an eternal life of untinkabke suffering with the pain of loss and the pain of sense in the unquenchable hell’s fire.

      Talk about double standard! The more i think about it, Ron, the more i find this terribly injust.

    • Ron Conte says:

      I think I replied to this line of reasoning before. Catholics have a higher calling, and so we have greater glory in heaven. We are able to help more persons in this life. We also have greater help from God, if we follow the teachings of our Faith. And we are forgiven by God readily, if we fall. Catholics who fall into grave sin have many helps to repent and avoid Hell, more than Orthodox Christians and much more than Protestants.

    • Marco says:

      @Ron

      Greater help? A divorced and remarried can’t go to Confession under Familiaris Consortio’s discipline, unless he/she removes his/her situation of sin.

      This implies that even if this person is not guilty of actual mortal sin for the remarriage, he or she can’t confess even when he/she commits an actual mortal sin against another commandment.

      And without Confession one cannot be forgiven if not for perfect contrition; and perfect contrition is a special grace, much less common than attrition.

      Is that what you call a “greater help”, Ron? Being denied even the possibility of confess your sin when you sin mortally is supposed to be a “greater help”?

      Tue ortodoxes on the other hand not only aren’t guilty of actual mortal sin for their remarriage (how could they be guilty if their Church justifies them and bless their situation, without imposing on them any kind of burden?), they can even attend the Sacraments and receive the Grace that come from the Sacraments.

      Is being allowed Confession and Comunion (the ortodoxes) a lesser help than being denied Confession and Communion and being factually (even is not de jure) excommunicated (catholics) in your view?

      I agree that

      “Catholics have a higher calling, and so we have greater glory in heaven”

      But i think that it’s also true that we are held to a higher standard, and a catholic nor particularly virtuous is in a much worse situation than an ortodox or Protestant not particularly virtuous (on the other hand a very virtuous catholic is in a better position than a very virtuous ortodox and a very virtuous protestant).

      For example, i’m not a divorced and remarried, actually i’m married since 1976, but i started to go to Confession again only when I was 55.

      And i didn’t confess and attend Communion since when i was 15.

      Do you know why?

      Because i knew very well the teaching of the Church, and it was way too hard for me to follow, and the problem is that, in order for Confession to be valid, you need to have the firm purpose of amendment, which i didn’t have because i knew that i would have fall again and i would have commit the same sin again.

      Because i was expected to be virgin until i was married, and i married when i was 35, so how could i live like a monk until that age?

      I started to have girlfriends when i was around 15/16 and when i was 31 I met my wife, but no, don’t get me wrong, according to the Church i was supposed to live like a friggin’ monk, even if i wasn’t suited for that.

      So i went to Confession when i got married, because we HAD to go to Confession, and i probably committed sacrilege, since i used non abortifacient contraception and me and my wife didn’t have the purpose to stop, even if we knew that the Church condemned it. We have three in our marriage and now we have grandchildren, notwithstanding contraception.

      So, wedding Confession aside, i stayed without Sacraments since when i was 15 until i was 55 (when I was 55 my wife was 48 and wasn’t fertile anymore so we didn’t need contraception), because i couldn’t be absolved.

      I’ve lived all those years with the fear of a sudden death which would have sent me straight to Hell because i thought that i was living in mortal sin, envying the ortodoxes because, despite being often more sinful than i was, they didn’t have the same burden imposed upon them, their Church left them more free and so their relationship with God wasn’t tainted by so many mortal sins.

  5. Marco says:

    “If the person commits an objective sin, with a sincere but mistaken conscience”

    Is it possibile for a catholic who believes in the moral authority of the Church and knows that the Church condemns adultery to have a sincere but mistaken conscience?

    • Ron Conte says:

      Yes. The thoughts and feelings of fallen sinners admit of much complexity. Sometimes the person knows the objective teaching, but has difficulty seeing that it applies in his or her particular situation. And many Catholics are poorly catechized. So, it is possible. But I am not saying that it occurs in all or most cases.

    • Marco says:

      This very interesting, Ron.

      For example as i wrote before i always knew the teaching of the Church on contraception and premarital sex, but i disagreed with it, and if i had followed it, I would have never married my wife (because i’m pretty sure she would have judged me a little “strange” and she wouldn’t have fallen in love with me).

      But i love my wife, and we had three children and now two grandchildren as well.

      So my question is: should i consider myself damned for my incapacity to repent of my past sexual sins before we married?

      If i pray in order to obtain repentance for those sins for which i can’t repent, can i be confident that i will receive it?

      Or should i think that i was justified by my conscience and that i lived all those years without Sacraments for no good reasons?

    • Ron Conte says:

      I’m not going to answer questions that ask me to judge you, your life, and your conscience. Like any Catholic sinner, you should examine your conscience, pray for the grace of contrition, and make a good confession. Don’t let the details of theology interfere with the mercy of God. Just accept His mercy without over-analyzing your problems.

    • Marco says:

      And this was always a source of conflict within me. How could i believe in the moral authority of the Church and, at the same time, disagree with her?

      The fact is that i really found that teaching incredibly harsh, and as i said my relation with my wife would have probably never started, had i decided to live as a monk until i got married.

      The problem Ron is that God’s law seems so harsh at times….. I mean, it seems impracticable for common people with common lives.

      The problem, i think, is that there are minor differences between what is expected from a monk and what is expected from a secular.

      The only difference is that the secular can marry, but other than that, until he/she is married he/she is expected to live like a monk, without a sexual life of any shape and kind.

      Not only that, one is expected to do so under the pain of mortal sin, which implies damnation and an eternity of suffering in the fiery furnace of hell.

      How is that not incredibile harsh?

      And why there aren’t so many requirements on other aspects of life?

      For example , religious people make the vow of poverty, on the other hand the secular can live without so privations.

      Why, when it comes to sexual matters, the difference between what is expected from a secular and what is expected from a monk or a priest is so thin, and disappears altogether for non married people?

    • Marco says:

      “I’m not going to answer questions that ask me to judge you, your life, and your conscience. Like any Catholic sinner, you should examine your conscience, pray for the grace of contrition, and make a good confession. Don’t let the details of theology interfere with the mercy of God. Just accept His mercy without over-analyzing your problems.”

      Thank you very much, Ron. You know, i grew up in the pre-Vatican II Church (i’m an old man, i’m currently 76 years old and i was studying at college in Italy when Vatican II was called, in 1962), and i was raised with terrifying story that portrayed Jesus as a ruthless judge, so i grew up with lots of scruples and fears.

      I remember that they catechized us with this terrifying piece [edited] well known in Italy back in the days, and we were taught things like this

      “The divine Mother revealed to that great servant of God, Benedicta of Florence, that a boy of twelve years was damned after the first sin. Another boy of eight years died after his first sin, and was lost. You say: I am young; there are many who have committed more sins than I have. But is God on that account obliged to wait for your repentance if you offend Him? In the Gospel of St. Matthew (21:19), we read that the Savior cursed a fig tree the first time He saw it without fruit. “May no fruit grow on thee henceforward forever. An immediately the fig tree withered away.” You must, then tremble at the thought of committing a single mortal sin, particularly if you have already been guilty of mortal sins”.

      I will always remember the first time i heard that story from our catechist, because i went home and i cried all night because i thought that the first time that i committed a sin God would have made me die suddenly and i would have gone to hell,

      I remember that i prayed God to make me die in that moment, when i was free from any kind of sin, in order to not be condemned to hell.

      These toughts never left me, and even when my children were growing up i feared that God could made them die when they were in mortal sins, so they would have not repented.

      A real life of s#€t, let me tell you this, Ron.

      I’m happy that the young Catholics of today don’t have to go through this.

    • Ron Conte says:

      I removed that link, as I don’t want that false doctrine to be spread by my website. I don’t believe that any Saint made that assertion, that, after a certain number of sins, God withdraws his grace and there is no hope of forgiveness or salvation. I also don’t believe that God is so harsh with children who sin, as that source also claims. There are some stories, which have been passed around by various Catholic sources for many years, unreliable and probably false stories, which teach false or inaccurate doctrine.

      The teaching of the Magisterium is that God is always willing to give grace, as long as we are still alive, that God forgives any and all sins by a good confession — the graces for which are always available, and that no sinner is beyond the reach of God’s mercy in this life. And it is absolute heresy that God counts our sins, and withdraws grace and the possibility of repentance and forgiveness, after a certain number is surpassed.

    • Marco says:

      @Ron

      “ I don’t believe that any Saint made that assertion, that, after a certain number of sins, God withdraws his grace and there is no hope of forgiveness or salvation.”

      I don’t believe in that doctrine either, but unfortunately that assertion was really made by Saint Alphonsus De Liguori, you can find it in the book “ Sermons of St. Alphonsus Liguori: For All the Sundays of the Year”.

      You know Ron, the Saints of that time were incredibly harsh sometimes, for our “modern”thinking they are nearly incomprehensible.

      “I also don’t believe that God is so harsh with children who sin, as that source also claims”

      Neither do i. How could i love a God like that?

      But let me highlight the core issue

      “The teaching of the Magisterium is that God is always willing to give grace as long as we are still alive“

      Of course, but what does it mean “ as long as we are still alive”?

      For example, if i die suddenly after having committed an actual mortal sin, will i go to hell or not?
      The only way that I could picture a God with really unlimited forgiveness and that really wants all men to be saved is by imagining a “stand by” between physical death and real death in which, before the soul departs from the body, we have a last opportunity to repent, something like “God comes to us and offers us repentance, and only if we stubbornly refuse we are sent to hell”.

      If that was true, i could really understand the universal salvifico will of God.

      But then again, if that was true, prayer wouldn’t mean jack, because in that case everybody would have the same option, even if he wasn’t prayerful.

      So what is the truth?

      Can we really, with prayer, obtain the grace of an Holy death? Can we be confident that if we pray every day God will not permit us to die in mortal sin?

    • Ron Conte says:

      Yes, to your last two questions. No, to the idea of “imagining a “stand by” between physical death and real death”. We discussed this topic previously. Grace and providence make certain that the faithful have the time and grace to repent after mortal sin and before death.

  6. Marco says:

    “It is always possible that a priest gives absolution, but the person is not forgiven due to a lack of contrition or a culpable failure to confess all mortal sins that can be remembered, etc. However, sincerity does not guarantee a valid confession. I suppose it is possible for a sacrilege to occur, if the divorced and remarried person is not sincere and not contrite”

    If this person is not sincere then of course that sacrilege would occur, however we should elaborate the question of contrition.

    As far as i know, attrition is enough in order to be absolved from mortal sin in Confession, the problem is the firm purpose of amendment.

    How can the divorced and remarried person have this kind of resolution, if he/she knows that he/she is going to sin again and to commit the exact same sin in the near future?

    So I’d say that a divorced and remarried person guilty of actual mortal sin of adultery cannot be forgiven, unfortunately, unless he/she makes a resolution to not sin anymore.

    Where absolution can occur is when there are mitigating factors and the priest realizes that the sin of this person is not an actual mortal sin.

    And here is the key point: I’d say that it is the duty of the Confessor to discern if and when there is a lack of culpability, this cannot be the duty of penitent, otherwise it would be self-absolution, with all the risks involved (if a person absolves himself/herself when he/she shouldn’t , he/she would commit sacrilege).

    So I’d say that the burden lies upon the confessor, because it’s his to make the decision to absolve or to retain absolution.

    Do you agree?

    I have one more question: what if the priest, on account of a sincere (I repeat: sincere) Confession on the faithful’s part thinks that in this case this person can be absolved because there are mitigating factors when actually these mitigating factors didn’t reduce the sinner’s culpability to actual venial sin?

    My question is: in such a case is the penitent freed from actual guilt because of his confessor’s decision (similar to how the ortodox Christians can hardly be guilty of the actual mortal sin of adultery, since their Church allows divorce and remarriage so I don’t see how the ortodoxes can have the necessary subjective conditions in order to be guilty of actual mortal sin for their remarriage) or he/she will happily go to eat his/her own judgment believing to be justified?

    • Ron Conte says:

      No, I don’t agree. Conscience always has the duty to assess not only the objective morality of acts, but also one’s own degree of culpability.

      It doesn’t matter if the confessor correctly or incorrectly judges the degree of culpability. If the penitent has contrition or attrition, and makes a good confession, he’s forgiven. All kinds of errors can occur in the confessional, and yet the Sacrament is valid. As for a firm purpose of amendment, sinners can resolve to avoid grave sin, and yet fall again and again. The Sacrament is still valid.

      God did not make the Sacraments fragile. They withstand many errors and failings. They are not easily made invalid.

  7. Marco says:

    “No, I don’t agree. Conscience always has the duty to assess not only the objective morality of acts, but also one’s own degree of culpability”.

    And how can someone know if he isn’t self-absolving himself, if i may ask?

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