Does anyone ever know what they are doing when they sin?


Just to address your original post:
Morality is not subject to a person’s knowledge. Morality is based on the good, which is unchanging in that God is the ultimate good that we are oriented to.
Ignorance of the morality of an action does not change the fact that the act is evil and is freely chosen.

Questions that can be asked:
Is the person culpable?
Is the act imputable to the person?
Is the person fully responsible?

If a person is to become united to God in heaven, all these things must come to light in God’s way and time. It’s good to take responsibility now, to assume responsibility and reconcile actions.

Real life example:
When I procured an abortion, I committed an evil act that was objectively sinful. I freely chose it despite the screaming of my conscience against it. I had many “head reasons” that were false. Circumstances being what they were, my sense of knowledge, freedom, and responsibility were badly diminished.
As I came to love God, this sin (choice) came to the fore and called for reconciliation. The sense of responsibility grows in freedom, it is not passed off. As freedom grows these things must be faced for what they are: choice for evil actions.

Ignorance, weakness, vice, and slavery to sin are no excuse for these realities. If they are held as the ground for our redemption, we cannot possibly be loving God.


I’m not even going to read your reply. You’re looking for a way to excuse my sin to support your universalistic (heretical) beliefs.



This means “blameable”. Yes, we are all blameable for our actions, but we are invited to forgive.

Great question. This is a process of discovery.

“respond-able”, yes, we are called to respond for our actions. Our ability to respond is hindered by our grasp of the situation, but we are still called to respond for our actions.



Yes, your conscience screamed, but its screaming was compromised by the following:

Yes, you did not have an objective grasp of what you were doing. You wanted “freedom”, but freedom meant destroying a life, a life that suddenly had far less meaning than your desire for freedom, your fears, your anger, whatever other emotion or desire would allow. We are inadvertently blinded by many emotions. Later on, when the emotions are gone, we say “I should have known better.”

You did not know what you were doing at the moment, you believed the “head reasons”.
I apologize if it sounds like I am making a bunch of assumptions about you. I am saying what would have happened in my mind if I had chosen the same. I’m also assuming a lot of circumstantial stuff, please forgive me, I don’t know the specifics.

Yes. I especially relate to “the sense of responsibility grows in freedom”. When I discovered the reasons why I did all the bad I have ever done, I was able to forgive myself at a deeper level. I can take complete ownership of my sin because I forgive myself. I did not know what I was doing.


If no body knows what thy are doing when they do something, then no one is responsible for what they do either good or bad. They are innocent of everything, guilty of nothing they do, either good or bad.

That might be reality for the mentally challenged, and insane, but not reality for the rest of humanity.


I already addressed the falsity of universalism in another post. Here is the point of view I agree with:

Pope Francis‏Verified account @Pontifex

God is always waiting for us, he always understands us, he always forgives us.

Is this “universalism”?

My observation is that people do not know what they are doing when they sin, it is grounded in the words of Jesus from the cross.

Now, there is also very good reason to support your position, a complete rejection of understanding the sinner. If it is feared that such understanding would diminish self-condemnation, then the fear goes into the thinking that if I stop condemning myself for my past sins, then I will sin again. There is a time to hang onto condemnation, we are not ready to forgive.

In time, though, the guilt does more harm than good. If I hang onto the self-grudge, I am a slave to my resentment, which is not the “eternal life” we are called to. Pope Francis says that if we do feel forgiven, we are not “fully Christian”! And how are we to feel forgiven if we continue to beat up on ourselves?
Blessings to you, Brittany, pray for me, I will pray for you.


The grounds for our redemption lie in the fact that God loves us completely, and His mercy knows no limit. In addition, His creation (people) below the surface truly want to be united with God. Ignorance, weakness, vice, and slavery to sin all come from lack of awareness. Our love is hindered by these, but not our intent to love.

We can find good intent even in the person who chooses an abortion, correct? What was your mind’s good intent?


Opps, your wrong:open_mouth:

Sin is SIN precisely and ONLY because we DO know what we are doing.
Gen 1:26-27 teaches that humanity ALONE is in His Very IMAGE for a precise reason; Isaiah 43 & & 21

At Conception GOD GIFTS every human SOUL with a mind, intellect and freewill PRECISELY so that we CAN know good from evil, and choose which of the two WE WANT, and then commits Himself to OFFER “sufficient grace” that all HUMANITY can Know God and What God commands IF they search with humility.

That friend is why heaven, hell and purgatory exist

God bless and guide you,


Yes, but becoming aware of what the conscience holds is a life-long process. And even then, people are subject to blindness. We aren’t born aware of every option in terms of behavior. Five year olds hurt other children, and then learn from the consequences. Empathy plays a huge role in this. The five year old, before hurting the other child and experiencing the other child being hurt, has a very limited scope on how to behave.

You aren’t saying that people are omniscient, right? I don’t see how my observation, based on Luke 23:34, is the least bit contradicted by those verses and chapters. Perhaps you are reading something into my words?

Jesus made the observation that people did not know what they were doing when they were sinning against Him.

Not sure what the “that” refers to. I’m not trying to be the least bit “smart” here, I am far from high intellect. There is an introspective approach here, a spiritual approach, and it sort of transcends all the judgment.

Thanks, I appreciate that. Blessings to you!


God;s mercy is illimitable, but he condescends, and so his mercy cannot be effective against our own will.
We “tie” God’s hands in our own salvation.

It’s not true that ignorance and sin come from lack of awareness. These things are worked at, they are practiced.
Virtue is the practice of the particular thing. Vice, sin, ignorance, are anti-virtues, they are well practiced by most of us, and so become ingrained in us. They become epidemic in us. Evil does not just appear out of thin air because we didn’t know about “such and such”.

When Christ asks “Father forgive them, they know not what they do” he is not asking for a free pass due to their ignorance of his divinity. He is not granting them on the spot absolution either.
Is it fair to say that Christ is praying for them? I think it is.


Did that motivate you to go to confession ASAP, as in immediately?.


If I could go to confession, I would. I wanted to go to confession, aside from the numb feeling I got that it was perhaps impossible for ke to be saved (which I know is wrong)


? … what is ke to be saved ?


Typo. Meant “me”


Good Morning jcm,

This is confusing, as Christ was made man. It is hardly a condescending position.

Let us investigate a little. Why does a person practice sin? Why does a person practice ignorance? It would be good to create a little scenario. What I am talking about is observation, if we simply judge without making observations, we make many assumptions.

I agree. When a person steals, his desire for the goods did not come out of thin air, we all have the desire for wealth, possessions. This desire is part of our nature, and it serves us, as it does squirrels who hoard and bears who constantly push for more territory.

It is fair to say that Jesus understood their position, and forgave them from the heart. And yes, He was praying for them. The rest of it is speculation, I don’t know. What I do know is that we know the Father by knowing Him, and He presents a position of forgiveness of those who persecuted Him, which reflects “Christ did not come to condemn the world”. Knowing His forgiveness vs condemnation is part of that salvation, a big part.


Sin does not depend on a person’s knowledge of the sinfulness; sin is objectively wrong. Drinking poison will injure or kill you regardless of whether you knew it was poison or not.

What Does depend on a person’s knowledge is the degree of their culpability— and IMO this is what Jesus meant by his words on the cross. If you knowlingly and with full consent drink poison, you are guilty of the sin of murder by taking one’s own life. If you consume something that you have reason to believe Might be dangerous (and have Some outweighing moral circumstance for doing so), or if you know it will be harmful but not necessarily that it will kill you, then your guilt is lessened or mitigated in Some way and you may be guilty at the least of recklessly, but not fully intentionally, endangering your self.

Some other examples might be: If someone is deceived by no fault of their own that something is Not sinful when it actually is so. If someone is not fully capable of consenting or appropriately judging the sinfulness of the action (such as by force or coercion, mental or intellectual impairment, gross immaturity, or some other extenuating circumstance).

Shoplifting is wrong, but in a wartorn country where the only way to feed your children is by stealing a loaf of bread because through no fault of your own you have no money and your children will otherwise starve can drive a person who would never otherwise steal into doing so due to the desperation of their circumstance.


Well, you sound remorseful, so confession is appropriate. If you are not physically able to go, a priest can go to you. Please take care. You have my prayers.

This numb feeling is the self-condemnation, the guilt speaking to you. It is a blindness.

Do you see what I mean about blindness? Yes, you know that the voice is wrong, but it is there, taking priority over your behaviors. The voice says “It’s no use, you are doomed”, but that is not the voice of God. Nor was the voice of God the one that said to sin in the first place.

Even so, there was good intent in both choosing to sin (you saw good in it) and in choosing not to go to confession (you see good in continuing to resent yourself, to self-punish). What I am saying is that we can forgive our motives, we can reconcile with them, without actually letting ourselves be enslaved by them. Having our choices heavily influenced by desire is slavery. Hanging onto guilt is slavery.

Does that make sense?

Blessings to you



The only time it is impossible for one to be saved, is when they refuse to be sorry. Final impenitence is referred to as the sin against the Holy Spirit. I hope you got to confession


Good Morning Lotus!

Yes, but it can be more sinful to avoid a sin sometimes, and your shoplifting example was a great illustration.

Culpability means “blame-ability”. Jesus did not blame the crowd, He forgave them. He forgave them at a deeper level, He understood them and saw their blindness and ignorance.

The observation I am making is that people always have such blindness and ignorance when they sin. I cannot find a counterexample.

If a person sees his own life as having negative value, then he does not know what he is doing. People do not take their lives when they see value in life. Seeing value is the state of awareness, seeing lack of value is a state of ignorance or blindness.

Most people who take their lives are suffering, and suffering can blind us to the value of life, for sure.

So it can be observed that yes, the person committed the sin of murder. It can also be observed that he did not know what he was doing.


Have you seen that a person who refuses to be sorry does not know what he is doing? (I’m not addressing the instance of the person you wrote this post to, who appears remorseful.)


The mentally challenged, or insane, depending on degree of deficit, could be argued they don’t know what they are doing, nor be truly sorry for what they do

That said

Augustine addresses those who try and excuse themselves of sin on account of ignorance see Ch 5 but don’t stop there

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