full knowledge?

Is “full knowledge” in reference to “fully knowing the Church teaches xyz is a sin?” Or, possibly, is it “fully knowing xyz is a sin?”

For me, the former seems…lacking. There is no movement of the spirit or conscience necessary. The later, however, allows for God’s personal involvement in one’s conscience.

Perhaps it’s both? Or neither? I don’t know. Seems like a tricky issue.

Please site your source if you’re planning on holding a strong position.

It is the latter.

This from the catechism:

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 heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest.

Note that it says knowledge of the sinful character of the act…not that the Church has taught it, but just that you know it is wrong. And then in the next section that “no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law”, showing that we don’t need the Church to teach us basic moral pricniples, they are inherent and everyone knows the basis rights and wrongs. So you have sins like murder, adultery, theft, etc that essentially every society in human history has condemned and every person knows in their own conscience to be wrong.

The Catholic Church teaches the second as taught by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans:

2:14 For when the Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature those things which are of the law, such persons, not having the law, are a law unto themselves.
2:15 For they reveal the work of the law written in their hearts, while their conscience renders testimony about them, and their thoughts within themselves also accuse or even defend them

It is also true that the conscience of a bad sinner is less and less able to be heard by the subject but that fact does not diminish culpability rather it increases it, since that person in fact killed his conscience which is the light of God within us.


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