Latest

24 Dec 2015 Europe News Vatican No comments

Pope Francis named "Charlemagne Prize Winner"

Pope Francis has been selected as the Charlemagne Annual award winner for 2016 for bringing “a message of hope and encouragement" to Europe in a time of uncerta…

Read more

16 Mar 2015 Q&A No comments

How do I change rites?

Full Question What is the process of "transferring" from Roman Catholic to Eastern Catholic? And what are the consequences if any? . Answer There’…

Read more

16 Sep 2015 News Vatican Comments (1)

Pope Francis names new bishop for Kansas City-St. Joseph

The Vatican announced today that Bishop James V. Johnston, Jr. of Springfield-Cape Girardeau has been selected as the new head of the Kansas City-St. Joseph dio…

Read more

26 Oct 2014 Vatican No comments

Pope Francis: God's image is revealed in the face of our brothers

Vatican City, Oct 26, 2014 / 06:36 am .- The message Pope Francis sent during his Sunday Angelus address was that love of God and neighbor are inseparably unite…

Read more

23 Sep 2015 Asia-Pacific News No comments

'Underground' bishop hopes for meeting between Pope, Chinese President

A Chinese Catholic bishop who is living under house arrest has written that he “cannot wait" for a meeting between Pope Francis and China’s President Xi Jinping…

Read more

04 Jul 2016 News USA Vatican Comments (2)

Prosecutors ask Vatican court to jail PR adviser for ‘inspiring’ leak of documents

Vatican prosecutors have requested that PR expert Francesca Chaouqui be given a tough jail sentence for “inspiring" the leaking of confidential documents. In…

Read more

25 Sep 2015 Asia-Pacific News No comments

Report: Chinese prelates seek reconciliation with Holy See

The president and two vice presidents of China’s episcopal conference, which is not recognized by the Holy See, have traveled to the United States as part of an…

Read more

03 Nov 2016 Articles Comments (16)

Evidence Christ Offered the Last Supper as a Sacrifice

It is an infallible teaching of the Catholic Church that the Eucharist is a sacrifice—in particular, the onesacrifice of Christ. The Council of Trent declared: …

Read more

21 Jan 2016 Q&A No comments

How do we sanctify the Lord's Day (Sunday and holy days)?

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church'   Sanctifying Sundays and holy days requires a common effort. Every Christian should avoid making un…

Read more
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
«
»

Do circumstances determine the sinfulness of an act?

Full Question

To determine if a moral act is a sin, I was told that the intention of the person and the circumstances surrounding the moral act must be taken into consideration. Then, following our conscience, we each must decide for ourselves whether or not an act is sinful for us. So if I undergo sterilization with the intention of saving my marriage, or because I can’t afford another child then sterilization could be morally correct for me.

Answer

What you were told is wrong. Some acts are intrinsically evil and cannot be done, even in order to secure a good, such as saving a marriage or living within one’s means. Scripture is explicit on this point (Rom 3:8). Only if an act is intrinsically permissible does the question of whether the circumstances warrant that action become relevant.

The proper procedure to follow is to first look to the Church and the sources of revelation to determine whether the act is ever permissible and, only if it is, then ask whether the circumstances warrant it in this case. One cannot pre-empt the former question by assuming that every action is potentially permitted.

While some theologians try to advance that way of thinking, it is far from what the Church teaches or has ever taught. The expression “The path to hell is paved with good intentions” works very well here. Good intentions or complex circumstances can never change an immoral act into something good.

If a person is ignorant of the sinfulness of a moral act he commits, however, and his ignorance is through no fault of his own, his culpability is less than someone who knew the sinfulness of the act or intentionally failed to investigate the moral value of the act. Forming a true conscience and then following it is essential if we are to live morally upright lives. A true conscience is based on objective moral truths—namely, the Ten Commandments.

In Matthew 19:16, the rich young man asks Jesus what he must do to have eternal life. Jesus responds, “If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” The Ten Commandments require that we love and respect God and our neighbor.

We must never use others as a means to an end, for each person has dignity and is an end in himself. When we thwart the sex act through sterilization or contraception, we not only violate the natural law, we violate the commandments by using another as a means for selfish gratification instead of as an end, that is, someone to whom we give of ourselves entirely and selflessly.

Sterilization done in order to prevent childbirth is never permissible, and so no particular circumstances including your own warrant it.











1 comment

  1. Linda Gurule Reply

    What if a doctor said you would dye if you got pregant again.! You have five children. Why is it wrong to save your self to raise the children you have?

Leave a Reply

  1. most read post
  2. Most Commented
  3. Choose Categories