I’m not a moral theologian, but it’s an interesting topic that I want to throw my two cents into…
For example, am I creating a near occasion for a thief by leaving my car door unlocked with my MacBook in the window? Is inviting a former alcoholic to a restaurant that has a bar (like Applebee’s) creating a near occasion?
Where I grew up, the first question would seem absurd. Now? Not so much. If I leave a valuable out for the open where there are homeless/poor/drug addicted people, I can almost expect to have it stolen. (My wife has had numerous things stolen from her car, even with the doors locked!).
For something to be a mortal sin you need to have full knowledge and deliberate consent. So wouldn’t the intent come into factor here? If you’re just parking your car in a normal place under normal circumstances, I don’t see how this could be done with full knowledge or deliberate consent. But if you’re parking your unlocked Mercedes right in the middle of a huge group of homeless drug addicts, and you consciously know they’ll be tempted, then you’re obviously causing a near occasion of sin for them.
The bar situation would also depend upon the occasion. If you know the person can’t handle this and still take them, then I would guess this is creating a near occasion of sin. I think the same thing would occur as the car-- if you do it knowing the person would be tempted then you’re culpable for the near occasion. If you don’t know then you’re not really culpable?
The reason I ask is that people often talk about women leading men into sin through immodesty. How far should we go with that thinking, though? Is a woman who was raped, while not entirely culpable, at fault for creating a near occasion for her rapist?
My guess would be that the woman would be culpable for causing men to lust in general? The man would be culpable for his reaction to the lust. Obviously a man can lust without needing to rape someone. He still has to use his will in reaction to the lust to perform the rape. It’s not her will that performed the rape, but his. He could have been tempted and not raped.
For anyone who’s wondering, I happen to be a very conservative moralist, but I don’t know everything. I’m not presenting these scenarios as critiques of Catholic moral teaching. I’m presenting them because I don’t know what Catholic moral teaching would say. What are your thoughts?
Same here… these are just my guesses here too!