This might be sort of a weird question, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot and I hope someone can enlighten me. In the history of the Church there have been a few revisions of moral teaching: I don’t want to say changes because I’m told that doesn’t happen, but certainly revisions. I don’t want to get too deeply into specific examples because they are not what I’m trying to arrive at, but as an example I would say that in the past some popes did not explicitly teach one way or the other about whether slavery was intrinsically evil, and some popes have felt that certain types of slavery were okay, and most of society generally agreed on that point, and unless I’m misreading paragraph eighty of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis splendor, without qualification he asserts that slavery is among those acts which are “intrinsically evil,” and ‘“incapable of being ordered” to God.’
If you would quibble with my example, please consider whether you yourself know of any acts which the Church has historically either taken part in or did not approve nor disapprove of until a certain bull, encyclical, synod, council, &c was written or took place that explicitly deemed the act evil. If none come to mind, then my question will not be hard to answer.
My question is whether in the present there may in theory still be certain acts that even popes consider some forms of to be okay, or even the Church takes part in, and yet will be discovered to be without qualification intrinsically evil in the future, or, as of September, 2013, whether all intrinsically evil acts have been ferreted out for what they are.
I want to be clear that I do not mean the Church or the popes approve of the acts in spite of knowledge to the contrary, but because of the same reason as past approval of, or neutrality towards, acts that later it was determined were intrinsically evil.