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Gabriel Ignea wrote:

Hi, guys —

God bless!

I want to know and I really want to understand once and for all what's the meaning of this phrase from the second portion of the CCC 1859:

Feigned ignorance does not dismish but rather increase the voluntary character of the sin committed together with them.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart (cf. Mark 3:5-6; Luke 16:19-31) do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

It's attributed to the author of YouCat. In the Catechism we find the traditional definition of mortal sin, that is, any sin that turns a person away from his final end, from God, and thus endangers his eternal salvation:

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: Mortal sin is sin whose:

  1. object is grave matter
  2. which is also committed with full knowledge, and
  3. deliberate consent. (Reconciliatio et paenitentia 17 § 12 [95])

Often, however, or perhaps even usually, sins of omission do not occur with full knowledge or even with deliberate consent, but rather out of carelessness or self-centeredness, which blinds a person to his neighbor's need. The rich man who feasted sumptuously was perhaps not even deliberately cruel to poor Lazarus, who was lying at his door. He had grown accustomed to seeing him there, and his wealth and comfortable life had made him insensitive to the suffering of his fellow man (cf. Luke 16:19-31)

Sins of omission are usually the poisonous fruit of previous sins of omission. Therefore, the Catechism says:

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart (cf. Mark 3:5-6; Luke 16:19-31) do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

Failure to perform works of mercy results from a hardening of the heart. We have arrived again at the point that already in the Bible was the decisive point: a hardened heart is a rebellion against God.

Someone who hardens his heart against his neighbor has rebelled against God, even though (he/she) may still be externally pious. Someone whose heart is not shut off from his neighbor's need is close to God, even if he considers himself to be an atheist and professes to be one.

Please consider replying to my e-mail,

God bless!

Gabriel

  { What is feigned ignorance and what's the difference between knowledge and certain ignorance(s)? }

Paul replied:

Dear Gabriel,

Feigned ignorance means faked or voluntary ignorance.

One cannot use ignorance as an excuse if one is not genuinely, invincibly ignorant so in such cases it seems one would be guilty of the act committed, and of the internal lie that seeks to justify the sin.

Sometimes we may perform acts of grave matter without having sufficient knowledge and giving full consent. That could mitigate the guilt, if the ignorance was involuntary. Hardness of heart is assumed to be voluntary. If I close my heart to God and others, that is not an excuse for my performing bad acts. Opening one's heart to God and His grace is a first and fundamental step in religiosity.

Willing to do God's will, to love, and to repent of our sins when we fall is very important.

Paul

Gabriel replied:

Dear Paul,

Thanks for your reply.

Regarding knowledge, I had the habit to refuse to know when I could have known, in that moment on the Internet:

  • when something was grave matter or
  • just due to a fear of being too scrupulous or
  • not recognizing that sometimes, out of desire but with some habitual intention, my desire was to sin anyway!
  • Does this excuse any affected ignorance?

I mean it's affected but it's for a just cause. I hope it makes the sin, venial, or even nullifies it.

If I can resolve these doubts I can judge freely with the help of God.

I want you to know that I thank you enormously for your help. A response would be appreciated and I will be freed in so many ways. Thank you for all your feedback. I will add you and your team to my prayers.

May God bless you.

Praised be Jesus.

Gabriel

Paul replied:

Paul,

If I understand you correctly, you know that along with grave matter, there must be full knowledge and deliberate consent for one to be guilty of a mortal sin; however, you're confused about the first of these two elements: knowledge.

There is a difference between invincible ignorance and voluntary ignorance.

Invincible ignorance is a genuine ignorance through no fault of your own, when you sincerely follow your conscience even though your conscience is wrong.

Voluntary ignorance, on the other hand, is an ignorance resulting from voluntarily remaining ignorant: you could have and should have known the truth about a particular act, but instead chose to remain ignorant so that you won't feel guilty about performing the sinful act. Voluntary ignorance is not an excuse for the sin committed.

Sin can be of thought, word, deed, or omission.

  • When we voluntarily neglect a serious responsibility of ours, it is sin of omission.
  • When we voluntarily neglect performing an act of charity because we're busy or too comfortable, that might be venial sin. Maybe. It depends on various factors.

Always remember though, to be guilty of sin it must be an act of the will: a choice made.
The bottom line is:

If you think you might be guilty of sin, bring it to Confession and allow the priest to judge.

Peace,

Paul

Gabriel replied:

Paul,

Thank you for the clarification.

May God bless you!

Viva Cristo Rey!

Gabriel

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