This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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The question of culpability

Now after what has been said so far regarding morality, we must close by recalling that the Church refuses to “put God in a box.” She allows Him the ability to grant mercy where He will, and at the same time acknowledges that, although there is an objective rule to right conduct, the question of culpability can and does vary depending on external circumstances and the inner state of the individual. What this means is that although the Church is unfaltering in defending the reality of intrinsically evil acts, it does not pretend to know with precision exactly what degree of consent was present in the heart of the acting subject. The Church allows for the possibility that a person under extreme emotional duress, for example, cannot be held fully accountable for some acts. The acts remain evil from an objective standpoint, but depending on the degree of consent of the will of the individual, their culpability varies—and the ultimate judge of that culpability is God. Adopting the words of St. Lucy, we affirm that “without consent of the mind there is no stain on the body.”[1] That is to say, he who does not consent with his will, does not sin, even if he engages in an intrinsically evil act.

[1] ST II-II, q. 65, a. 5.

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