Authors/Thomas Aquinas/Summa Theologiae/Part IIa/Q76

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Q75 Q77



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Iª-IIae q. 76 pr. Deinde considerandum est de causis peccati in speciali. Et primo, de causis interioribus peccati; secundo, de exterioribus; tertio, de peccatis quae sunt causa aliorum peccatorum. Prima autem consideratio, secundum praemissa, erit tripartita, nam primo, agetur de ignorantia, quae est causa peccati ex parte rationis; secundo, de infirmitate seu passione, quae est causa peccati ex parte appetitus sensitivi; tertio, de malitia, quae est causa peccati ex parte voluntatis. Circa primum quaeruntur quatuor. Primo, utrum ignorantia sit causa peccati. Secundo, utrum ignorantia sit peccatum. Tertio, utrum totaliter a peccato excuset. Quarto, utrum diminuat peccatum. Question 76. The causes of sin, in particular Is ignorance a cause of sin? Is ignorance a sin? Does it excuse from sin altogether? Does it diminish sin?
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 1 arg. 1 Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod ignorantia non possit esse causa peccati. Quia quod non est, nullius est causa. Sed ignorantia est non ens, cum sit privatio quaedam scientiae. Ergo ignorantia non est causa peccati. Objection 1. It would seem that ignorance cannot be a cause of sin: because a non-being is not the cause of anything. Now ignorance is a non-being, since it is a privation of knowledge. Therefore ignorance is not a cause of sin.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 1 arg. 2 Praeterea, causae peccati sunt accipiendae ex parte conversionis, ut ex supradictis patet. Sed ignorantia videtur respicere aversionem. Ergo non debet poni causa peccati. Objection 2. Further, causes of sin should be reckoned in respect of sin being a "turning to" something, as was stated above (Question 75, Article 1). Now ignorance seems to savor of "turning away" from something. Therefore it should not be reckoned a cause of sin.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 1 arg. 3 Praeterea, omne peccatum in voluntate consistit, ut supra dictum est. Sed voluntas non fertur nisi in aliquod cognitum, quia bonum apprehensum est obiectum voluntatis. Ergo ignorantia non potest esse causa peccati. Objection 3. Further, every sin is seated in the will. Now the will does not turn to that which is not known, because its object is the good apprehended. Therefore ignorance cannot be a cause of sin.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 1 s. c. Sed contra est quod Augustinus dicit, in libro de natura et gratia, quod quidam per ignorantiam peccant. On the contrary, Augustine says (De Nat. et Grat. lxvii) "that some sin through ignorance."
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 1 co. Respondeo dicendum quod, secundum philosophum, in VIII Physic., causa movens est duplex, una per se, et alia per accidens. Per se quidem, quae propria virtute movet, sicut generans est causa movens gravia et levia. Per accidens autem, sicut removens prohibens, vel sicut ipsa remotio prohibentis. Et hoc modo ignorantia potest esse causa actus peccati, est enim privatio scientiae perficientis rationem, quae prohibet actum peccati, inquantum dirigit actus humanos. Considerandum est autem quod ratio secundum duplicem scientiam est humanorum actuum directiva, scilicet secundum scientiam universalem, et particularem. Conferens enim de agendis, utitur quodam syllogismo, cuius conclusio est iudicium seu electio vel operatio. Actiones autem in singularibus sunt. Unde conclusio syllogismi operativi est singularis. Singularis autem propositio non concluditur ex universali nisi mediante aliqua propositione singulari, sicut homo prohibetur ab actu parricidii per hoc quod scit patrem non esse occidendum, et per hoc quod scit hunc esse patrem. Utriusque ergo ignorantia potest causare parricidii actum, scilicet et universalis principii, quod est quaedam regula rationis; et singularis circumstantiae. Unde patet quod non quaelibet ignorantia peccantis est causa peccati, sed illa tantum quae tollit scientiam prohibentem actum peccati. Unde si voluntas alicuius esset sic disposita quod non prohiberetur ab actu parricidii, etiam si patrem agnosceret; ignorantia patris non est huic causa peccati, sed concomitanter se habet ad peccatum. Et ideo talis non peccat propter ignorantiam, sed peccat ignorans, secundum philosophum, in III Ethic. I answer that, According to the Philosopher (Phys. viii, 27) a moving cause is twofold, direct and indirect. A direct cause is one that moves by its own power, as the generator is the moving cause of heavy and light things. An indirect cause, is either one that removes an impediment, or the removal itself of an impediment: and it is in this way that ignorance can be the cause of a sinful act; because it is a privation of knowledge perfecting the reason that forbids the act of sin, in so far as it directs human acts. Now we must observe that the reason directs human acts in accordance with a twofold knowledge, universal and particular: because in conferring about what is to be done, it employs a syllogism, the conclusion of which is an act of judgment, or of choice, or an operation. Now actions are about singulars: wherefore the conclusion of a practical syllogism is a singular proposition. But a singular proposition does not follow from a universal proposition, except through the medium of a particular proposition: thus a man is restrained from an act of parricide, by the knowledge that it is wrong to kill one's father, and that this man is his father. Hence ignorance about either of these two propositions, viz. of the universal principle which is a rule of reason, or of the particular circumstance, could cause an act of parricide. Hence it is clear that not every kind of ignorance is the cause of a sin, but that alone which removes the knowledge which would prevent the sinful act. Consequently if a man's will be so disposed that he would not be restrained from the act of parricide, even though he recognized his father, his ignorance about his father is not the cause of his committing the sin, but is concomitant with the sin: wherefore such a man sins, not "through ignorance" but "in ignorance," as the Philosopher states (Ethic. iii, 1).
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 1 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod non ens non potest esse alicuius causa per se, potest tamen esse causa per accidens, sicut remotio prohibentis. Reply to Objection 1. Non-being cannot be the direct cause of anything: but it can be an accidental cause, as being the removal of an impediment.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 1 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod sicut scientia quam tollit ignorantia, respicit peccatum ex parte conversionis; ita etiam ignorantia ex parte conversionis est causa peccati ut removens prohibens. Reply to Objection 2. As knowledge, which is removed by ignorance, regards sin as turning towards something, so too, ignorance of this respect of a sin is the cause of that sin, as removing its impediment.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 1 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod in illud quod est quantum ad omnia ignotum, non potest ferri voluntas, sed si aliquid est secundum aliquid notum et secundum aliquid ignotum, potest voluntas illud velle. Et hoc modo ignorantia est causa peccati, sicut cum aliquis scit hunc quem occidit, esse hominem, sed nescit eum esse patrem; vel cum aliquis scit aliquem actum esse delectabilem, nescit tamen eum esse peccatum. Reply to Objection 3. The will cannot turn to that which is absolutely unknown: but if something be known in one respect, and unknown in another, the will can will it. It is thus that ignorance is the cause of sin: for instance, when a man knows that what he is killing is a man, but not that it is his own father; or when one knows that a certain act is pleasurable, but not that it is a sin.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 2 arg. 1 Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod ignorantia non sit peccatum. Peccatum enim est dictum vel factum vel concupitum contra legem Dei, ut supra habitum est. Sed ignorantia non importat aliquem actum, neque interiorem neque exteriorem. Ergo ignorantia non est peccatum. Objection 1. It would seem that ignorance is not a sin. For sin is "a word, deed or desire contrary to God's law," as stated above (Question 71, Article 5). Now ignorance does not denote an act, either internal or external. Therefore ignorance is not a sin.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 2 arg. 2 Praeterea, peccatum directius opponitur gratiae quam scientiae. Sed privatio gratiae non est peccatum, sed magis poena quaedam consequens peccatum. Ergo ignorantia, quae est privatio scientiae, non est peccatum. Objection 2. Further, sin is more directly opposed to grace than to knowledge. Now privation of grace is not a sin, but a punishment resulting from sin. Therefore ignorance which is privation of knowledge is not a sin.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 2 arg. 3 Praeterea, si ignorantia est peccatum, hoc non est nisi inquantum est voluntaria. Sed si ignorantia sit peccatum inquantum est voluntaria, videtur peccatum in ipso actu voluntatis consistere magis quam in ignorantia. Ergo ignorantia non erit peccatum, sed magis aliquid consequens ad peccatum. Objection 3. Further, if ignorance is a sin, this can only be in so far as it is voluntary. But if ignorance is a sin, through being voluntary, it seems that the sin will consist in the act itself of the will, rather than in the ignorance. Therefore the ignorance will not be a sin, but rather a result of sin.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 2 arg. 4 Praeterea, omne peccatum per poenitentiam tollitur; nec aliquod peccatum transiens reatu remanet actu, nisi solum originale. Ignorantia autem non tollitur per poenitentiam, sed adhuc remanet actu, omni reatu per poenitentiam remoto. Ergo ignorantia non est peccatum, nisi forte sit originale. Objection 4. Further, every sin is taken away by repentance, nor does any sin, except only original sin, pass as to guilt, yet remain in act. Now ignorance is not removed by repentance, but remains in act, all its guilt being removed by repentance. Therefore ignorance is not a sin, unless perchance it be original sin.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 2 arg. 5 Praeterea, si ipsa ignorantia sit peccatum, quandiu ignorantia remaneret in homine, tandiu actu peccaret. Sed continue manet ignorantia in ignorante. Ergo ignorans continue peccaret. Quod patet esse falsum, quia sic ignorantia esset gravissimum. Non ergo ignorantia est peccatum. Objection 5. Further, if ignorance be a sin, then a man will be sinning, as long as he remains in ignorance. But ignorance is continual in the one who is ignorant. Therefore a person in ignorance would be continually sinning, which is clearly false, else ignorance would be a most grievous sin. Therefore ignorance is not a sin.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 2 s. c. Sed contra, nihil meretur poenam nisi peccatum. Sed ignorantia meretur poenam, secundum illud I ad Cor. XIV, si quis ignorat, ignorabitur. Ergo ignorantia est peccatum. On the contrary, Nothing but sin deserves punishment. But ignorance deserves punishment, according to 1 Corinthians 14:38: "If any man know not, he shall not be known." Therefore ignorance is a sin.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 2 co. Respondeo dicendum quod ignorantia in hoc a nescientia differt, quod nescientia dicit simplicem scientiae negationem, unde cuicumque deest aliquarum rerum scientia, potest dici nescire illas; secundum quem modum Dionysius in Angelis nescientiam ponit, VII cap. Cael. Hier. Ignorantia vero importat scientiae privationem, dum scilicet alicui deest scientia eorum quae aptus natus est scire. Horum autem quaedam aliquis scire tenetur, illa scilicet sine quorum scientia non potest debitum actum recte exercere. Unde omnes tenentur scire communiter ea quae sunt fidei, et universalia iuris praecepta, singuli autem ea quae ad eorum statum vel officium spectant. Quaedam vero sunt quae etsi aliquis natus est scire, non tamen ea scire tenetur, sicut theoremata geometriae, et contingentia particularia, nisi in casu. Manifestum est autem quod quicumque negligit habere vel facere id quod tenetur habere vel facere, peccat peccato omissionis. Unde propter negligentiam, ignorantia eorum quae aliquis scire tenetur, est peccatum. Non autem imputatur homini ad negligentiam, si nesciat ea quae scire non potest. Unde horum ignorantia invincibilis dicitur, quia scilicet studio superari non potest. Et propter hoc talis ignorantia, cum non sit voluntaria, eo quod non est in potestate nostra eam repellere, non est peccatum. Ex quo patet quod nulla ignorantia invincibilis est peccatum, ignorantia autem vincibilis est peccatum, si sit eorum quae aliquis scire tenetur; non autem si sit eorum quae quis scire non tenetur. I answer that, Ignorance differs from nescience, in that nescience denotes mere absence of knowledge; wherefore whoever lacks knowledge about anything, can be said to be nescient about it: in which sense Dionysius puts nescience in the angels (Coel. Hier. vii). On the other hand, ignorance denotes privation of knowledge, i.e. lack of knowledge of those things that one has a natural aptitude to know. Some of these we are under an obligation to know, those, to wit, without the knowledge of which we are unable to accomplish a due act rightly. Wherefore all are bound in common to know the articles of faith, and the universal principles of right, and each individual is bound to know matters regarding his duty or state. Meanwhile there are other things which a man may have a natural aptitude to know, yet he is not bound to know them, such as the geometrical theorems, and contingent particulars, except in some individual case. Now it is evident that whoever neglects to have or do what he ought to have or do, commits a sin of omission. Wherefore through negligence, ignorance of what one is bound to know, is a sin; whereas it is not imputed as a sin to man, if he fails to know what he is unable to know. Consequently ignorance of such like things is called "invincible," because it cannot be overcome by study. For this reason such like ignorance, not being voluntary, since it is not in our power to be rid of it, is not a sin: wherefore it is evident that no invincible ignorance is a sin. On the other hand, vincible ignorance is a sin, if it be about matters one is bound to know; but not, if it be about things one is not bound to know.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 2 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, in hoc quod dicitur dictum vel factum vel concupitum, sunt intelligendae etiam negationes oppositae, secundum quod omissio habet rationem peccati. Et ita negligentia, secundum quam ignorantia est peccatum, continetur sub praedicta definitione peccati, inquantum praetermittitur aliquid quod debuit dici vel fieri vel concupisci, ad scientiam debitam acquirendam. Reply to Objection 1. As stated above (71, 6, ad 1), when we say that sin is a "word, deed or desire," we include the opposite negations, by reason of which omissions have the character of sin; so that negligence, in as much as ignorance is a sin, is comprised in the above definition of sin; in so far as one omits to say what one ought, or to do what one ought, or to desire what one ought, in order to acquire the knowledge which we ought to have.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 2 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod privatio gratiae, etsi secundum se non sit peccatum, tamen ratione negligentiae praeparandi se ad gratiam, potest habere rationem peccati, sicut et ignorantia. Et tamen quantum ad hoc est dissimile, quia homo potest aliquam scientiam acquirere per suos actus, gratia vero non acquiritur ex nostris actibus, sed ex Dei munere. Reply to Objection 2. Although privation of grace is not a sin in itself, yet by reason of negligence in preparing oneself for grace, it may have the character of sin, even as ignorance; nevertheless even here there is a difference, since man can acquire knowledge by his acts, whereas grace is not acquired by acts, but by God's favor.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 2 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod, sicut in peccato transgressionis peccatum non consistit in solo actu voluntatis, sed etiam in actu volito qui est imperatus a voluntate; ita in peccato omissionis non solum actus voluntatis est peccatum, sed etiam ipsa omissio, inquantum est aliqualiter voluntaria. Et hoc modo ipsa negligentia sciendi, vel inconsideratio, est peccatum. Reply to Objection 3. Just as in a sin of transgression, the sin consists not only in the act of the will, but also in the act willed, which is commanded by the will; so in a sin of omission not only the act of the will is a sin, but also the omission, in so far as it is in some way voluntary; and accordingly, the neglect to know, or even lack of consideration is a sin.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 2 ad 4 Ad quartum dicendum quod licet, transeunte reatu per poenitentiam, remaneat ignorantia secundum quod est privatio scientiae; non tamen remanet negligentia, secundum quam ignorantia peccatum dicitur. Reply to Objection 4. Although when the guilt has passed away through repentance, the ignorance remains, according as it is a privation of knowledge, nevertheless the negligence does not remain, by reason of which the ignorance is said to be a sin.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 2 ad 5 Ad quintum dicendum quod, sicut in aliis peccatis omissionis solo illo tempore homo actu peccat, pro quo praeceptum affirmativum obligat; ita est etiam de peccato ignorantiae. Non enim continuo ignorans actu peccat, sed solum quando est tempus acquirendi scientiam quam habere tenetur. Reply to Objection 5. Just as in other sins of omission, man sins actually only at the time at which the affirmative precept is binding, so is it with the sin of ignorance. For the ignorant man sins actually indeed, not continually, but only at the time for acquiring the knowledge that he ought to have.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 3 arg. 1 Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod ignorantia, ex toto excuset a peccato. Quia, ut Augustinus dicit, omne peccatum voluntarium est. Sed ignorantia causat involuntarium ut supra habitum est. Ergo ignorantia totaliter excusat peccatum. Objection 1. It would seem that ignorance excuses from sin altogether. For as Augustine says (Retract. i, 9), every sin is voluntary. Now ignorance causes involuntariness, as stated above (Question 6, Article 8). Therefore ignorance excuses from sin altogether.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 3 arg. 2 Praeterea, id quod aliquis facit praeter intentionem, per accidens agit. Sed intentio non potest esse de eo quod est ignotum. Ergo id quod per ignorantiam homo agit, per accidens se habet in actibus humanis. Sed quod est per accidens, non dat speciem. Nihil ergo quod est per ignorantiam factum, debet iudicari peccatum vel virtuosum in humanis actibus. Objection 2. Further, that which is done beside the intention, is done accidentally. Now the intention cannot be about what is unknown. Therefore what a man does through ignorance is accidental in human acts. But what is accidental does not give the species. Therefore nothing that is done through ignorance in human acts, should be deemed sinful or virtuous.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 3 arg. 3 Praeterea, homo est subiectum virtutis et peccati inquantum est particeps rationis. Sed ignorantia excludit scientiam, per quam ratio perficitur. Ergo ignorantia totaliter excusat a peccato. Objection 3. Further, man is the subject of virtue and sin, inasmuch as he is partaker of reason. Now ignorance excludes knowledge which perfects the reason. Therefore ignorance excuses from sin altogether.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 3 s. c. Sed contra est quod Augustinus dicit, in libro de Lib. Arb., quod quaedam per ignorantiam facta, recte improbantur. Sed solum illa recte improbantur quae sunt peccata. Ergo quaedam per ignorantiam facta, sunt peccata. Non ergo ignorantia omnino excusat a peccato. On the contrary, Augustine says (De Lib. Arb. iii, 18) that "some things done through ignorance are rightly reproved." Now those things alone are rightly reproved which are sins. Therefore some things done through ignorance are sins. Therefore ignorance does not altogether excuse from sin.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 3 co. Respondeo dicendum quod ignorantia de se habet quod faciat actum quem causat, involuntarium esse. Iam autem dictum est quod ignorantia dicitur causare actum quem scientia opposita prohibebat. Et ita talis actus, si scientia adesset, esset contrarius voluntati, quod importat nomen involuntarii. Si vero scientia quae per ignorantiam privatur, non prohiberet actum, propter inclinationem voluntatis in ipsum; ignorantia huius scientiae non facit hominem involuntarium, sed non volentem, ut dicitur in III Ethic. Et talis ignorantia, quae non est causa actus peccati, ut dictum est, quia non causat involuntarium, non excusat a peccato. Et eadem ratio est de quacumque ignorantia non causante, sed consequente vel concomitante actum peccati. Sed ignorantia quae est causa actus, quia causat involuntarium, de se habet quod excuset a peccato, eo quod voluntarium est de ratione peccati. Sed quod aliquando non totaliter excuset a peccato, potest contingere ex duobus. Uno modo, ex parte ipsius rei ignoratae. Intantum enim ignorantia excusat a peccato, inquantum ignoratur aliquid esse peccatum. Potest autem contingere quod aliquis ignoret quidem aliquam circumstantiam peccati, quam si sciret, retraheretur a peccando, sive illa circumstantia faciat ad rationem peccati sive non; et tamen adhuc remanet in eius scientia aliquid per quod cognoscit illud esse actum peccati. Puta si aliquis percutiens aliquem, sciat quidem ipsum esse hominem, quod sufficit ad rationem peccati; non tamen scit eum esse patrem, quod est circumstantia constituens novam speciem peccati; vel forte nescit quod ille se defendens repercutiat eum, quod si sciret, non percuteret, quod non pertinet ad rationem peccati. Unde licet talis propter ignorantiam peccet, non tamen totaliter excusatur a peccato, quia adhuc remanet ei cognitio peccati. Alio modo potest hoc contingere ex parte ipsius ignorantiae, quia scilicet ipsa ignorantia est voluntaria, vel directe, sicut cum aliquis studiose vult nescire aliqua, ut liberius peccet; vel indirecte, sicut cum aliquis propter laborem, vel propter alias occupationes, negligit addiscere id per quod a peccato retraheretur. Talis enim negligentia facit ignorantiam ipsam esse voluntariam et peccatum, dummodo sit eorum quae quis scire tenetur et potest. Et ideo talis ignorantia non totaliter excusat a peccato. Si vero sit talis ignorantia quae omnino sit involuntaria, sive quia est invincibilis, sive quia est eius quod quis scire non tenetur; talis ignorantia omnino excusat a peccato. I answer that, Ignorance, by its very nature, renders the act which it causes involuntary. Now it has already been stated (1,2) that ignorance is said to cause the act which the contrary knowledge would have prevented; so that this act, if knowledge were to hand, would be contrary to the will, which is the meaning of the word involuntary. If, however, the knowledge, which is removed by ignorance, would not have prevented the act, on account of the inclination of the will thereto, the lack of this knowledge does not make that man unwilling, but not willing, as stated in Ethic. iii, 1: and such like ignorance which is not the cause of the sinful act, as already stated, since it does not make the act to be involuntary, does not excuse from sin. The same applies to any ignorance that does not cause, but follows or accompanies the sinful act. On the other hand, ignorance which is the cause of the act, since it makes it to be involuntary, of its very nature excuses from sin, because voluntariness is essential to sin. But it may fail to excuse altogether from sin, and this for two reasons. First, on the part of the thing itself which is not known. For ignorance excuses from sin, in so far as something is not known to be a sin. Now it may happen that a person ignores some circumstance of a sin, the knowledge of which circumstance would prevent him from sinning, whether it belong to the substance of the sin, or not; and nevertheless his knowledge is sufficient for him to be aware that the act is sinful; for instance, if a man strike someone, knowing that it is a man (which suffices for it to be sinful) and yet be ignorant of the fact that it is his father, (which is a circumstance constituting another species of sin); or, suppose that he is unaware that this man will defend himself and strike him back, and that if he had known this, he would not have struck him (which does not affect the sinfulness of the act). Wherefore, though this man sins through ignorance, yet he is not altogether excused, because, not withstanding, he has knowledge of the sin. Secondly, this may happen on the part of the ignorance itself, because, to wit, this ignorance is voluntary, either directly, as when a man wishes of set purpose to be ignorant of certain things that he may sin the more freely; or indirectly, as when a man, through stress of work or other occupations, neglects to acquire the knowledge which would restrain him from sin. For such like negligence renders the ignorance itself voluntary and sinful, provided it be about matters one is bound and able to know. Consequently this ignorance does not altogether excuse from sin. If, however, the ignorance be such as to be entirely involuntary, either through being invincible, or through being of matters one is not bound to know, then such like ignorance excuses from sin altogether.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 3 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod non omnis ignorantia causat involuntarium, sicut supra dictum est. Unde non omnis ignorantia totaliter excusat a peccato. Reply to Objection 1. Not every ignorance causes involuntariness, as stated above (Question 6, Article 8). Hence not every ignorance excuses from sin altogether.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 3 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod inquantum remanet in ignorante de voluntario, intantum remanet de intentione peccati. Et secundum hoc, non erit per accidens peccatum. Reply to Objection 2. So far as voluntariness remains in the ignorant person, the intention of sin remains in him: so that, in this respect, his sin is not accidental.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 3 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod, si esset talis ignorantia quae totaliter usum rationis excluderet, omnino a peccato excusaret, sicut patet in furiosis et amentibus. Non autem semper ignorantia causans peccatum est talis. Et ideo non semper totaliter excusat a peccato. Reply to Objection 3. If the ignorance be such as to exclude the use of reason entirely, it excuses from sin altogether, as is the case with madmen and imbeciles: but such is not always the ignorance that causes the sin; and so it does not always excuse from sin altogether.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 4 arg. 1 Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod ignorantia non diminuat peccatum. Illud enim quod est commune in omni peccato, non diminuit peccatum. Sed ignorantia est communis in omni peccato, dicit enim philosophus, in III Ethic., quod omnis malus est ignorans. Ergo ignorantia non diminuit peccatum. Objection 1. It would seem that ignorance does not diminish a sin. For that which is common to all sins does not diminish sin. Now ignorance is common to all sins, for the Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 1) that "every evil man is ignorant." Therefore ignorance does not diminish sin.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 4 arg. 2 Praeterea, peccatum additum peccato facit maius peccatum. Sed ipsa ignorantia est peccatum, ut dictum est. Ergo non diminuit peccatum. Objection 2. Further, one sin added to another makes a greater sin. But ignorance is itself a sin, as stated above (Article 2). Therefore it does not diminish a sin.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 4 arg. 3 Praeterea, non est eiusdem aggravare et diminuere peccatum. Sed ignorantia aggravat peccatum, quoniam super illud apostoli, ignoras quoniam benignitas Dei, etc., dicit Ambrosius, gravissime peccas, si ignoras. Ergo ignorantia non diminuit peccatum. Objection 3. Further, the same thing does not both aggravate and diminish sin. Now ignorance aggravates sin; for Ambrose commenting on Romans 2:4, "Knowest thou not that the benignity of God leadeth thee to penance?" says: "Thy sin is most grievous if thou knowest not." Therefore ignorance does not diminish sin.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 4 arg. 4 Praeterea, si aliqua ignorantia diminuit peccatum, hoc maxime videtur de illa quae totaliter tollit usum rationis. Sed huiusmodi ignorantia non minuit peccatum, sed magis auget, dicit enim philosophus, in III Ethic., quod ebrius meretur duplices maledictiones. Ergo ignorantia non minuit peccatum. Objection 4. Further, if any kind of ignorance diminishes a sin, this would seem to be chiefly the case as regards the ignorance which removes the use of reason altogether. Now this kind of ignorance does not diminish sin, but increases it: for the Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 5) that the "punishment is doubled for a drunken man." Therefore ignorance does not diminish sin.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 4 s. c. Sed contra, quidquid est ratio remissionis peccati, alleviat peccatum. Sed ignorantia est huiusmodi, ut patet I ad Tim. I, misericordiam consecutus sum, quia ignorans feci. Ergo ignorantia diminuit, vel alleviat peccatum. On the contrary, Whatever is a reason for sin to be forgiven, diminishes sin. Now such is ignorance, as is clear from 1 Timothy 1:13: "I obtained . . . mercy . . . because I did it ignorantly." Therefore ignorance diminishes or alleviates sin.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 4 co. Respondeo dicendum quod, quia omne peccatum est voluntarium, intantum ignorantia potest diminuere peccatum, inquantum diminuit voluntarium, si autem voluntarium non diminuat, nullo modo diminuet peccatum. Manifestum est autem quod ignorantia quae totaliter a peccato excusat, quia totaliter voluntarium tollit, peccatum non minuit, sed omnino aufert. Ignorantia vero quae non est causa peccati, sed concomitanter se habet ad peccatum, nec minuit peccatum nec auget. Illa igitur sola ignorantia potest peccatum minuere, quae est causa peccati, et tamen totaliter a peccato non excusat. Contingit autem quandoque quod talis ignorantia directe et per se est voluntaria, sicut cum aliquis sua sponte nescit aliquid, ut liberius peccet. Et talis ignorantia videtur augere voluntarium et peccatum, ex intensione enim voluntatis ad peccandum provenit quod aliquis vult subire ignorantiae damnum, propter libertatem peccandi. Quandoque vero ignorantia quae est causa peccati, non est directe voluntaria, sed indirecte vel per accidens, puta cum aliquis non vult laborare in studio, ex quo sequitur eum esse ignorantem; vel cum aliquis vult bibere vinum immoderate, ex quo sequitur eum inebriari et discretione carere. Et talis ignorantia diminuit voluntarium, et per consequens peccatum. Cum enim aliquid non cognoscitur esse peccatum, non potest dici quod voluntas directe et per se feratur in peccatum, sed per accidens, unde est ibi minor contemptus, et per consequens minus peccatum. I answer that, Since every sin is voluntary, ignorance can diminish sin, in so far as it diminishes its voluntariness; and if it does not render it less voluntary, it nowise alleviates the sin. Now it is evident that the ignorance which excuses from sin altogether (through making it altogether involuntary) does not diminish a sin, but does away with it altogether. On the other hand, ignorance which is not the cause of the sin being committed, but is concomitant with it, neither diminishes nor increases the sin. Therefore sin cannot be alleviated by any ignorance, but only by such as is a cause of the sin being committed, and yet does not excuse from the sin altogether. Now it happens sometimes that such like ignorance is directly and essentially voluntary, as when a man is purposely ignorant that he may sin more freely, and ignorance of this kind seems rather to make the act more voluntary and more sinful, since it is through the will's intention to sin that he is willing to bear the hurt of ignorance, for the sake of freedom in sinning. Sometimes, however, the ignorance which is the cause of a sin being committed, is not directly voluntary, but indirectly or accidentally, as when a man is unwilling to work hard at his studies, the result being that he is ignorant, or as when a man willfully drinks too much wine, the result being that he becomes drunk and indiscreet, and this ignorance diminishes voluntariness and consequently alleviates the sin. For when a thing is not known to be a sin, the will cannot be said to consent to the sin directly, but only accidentally; wherefore, in that case there is less contempt, and therefore less sin.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 4 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod ignorantia secundum quam omnis malus est ignorans, non est causa peccati; sed aliquid consequens ad causam, scilicet ad passionem vel habitum inclinantem in peccatum. Reply to Objection 1. The ignorance whereby "every evil man is ignorant," is not the cause of sin being committed, but something resulting from that cause, viz. of the passion or habit inclining to sin.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 4 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod peccatum peccato additum facit plura peccata, non tamen facit semper maius peccatum, quia forte non coincidunt in idem peccatum, sed sunt plura. Et potest contingere, si primum diminuat secundum, quod ambo simul non habeant tantam gravitatem quantam unum solum haberet. Sicut homicidium gravius peccatum est a sobrio homine factum, quam si fiat ab ebrio, quamvis haec sint duo peccata, quia ebrietas plus diminuit de ratione sequentis peccati, quam sit sua gravitas. Reply to Objection 2. One sin is added to another makes more sins, but it does not always make a sin greater, since, perchance, the two sins do not coincide, but are separate. It may happen, if the first diminishes the second, that the two together have not the same gravity as one of them alone would have; thus murder is a more grievous sin if committed by a man when sober, than if committed by a man when drunk, although in the latter case there are two sins: because drunkenness diminishes the sinfulness of the resulting sin more than its own gravity implies.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 4 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod verbum Ambrosii potest intelligi de ignorantia simpliciter affectata. Vel potest intelligi in genere peccati ingratitudinis, in qua summus gradus est quod homo etiam beneficia non recognoscat. Vel potest intelligi de ignorantia infidelitatis, quae fundamentum spiritualis aedificii subvertit. Reply to Objection 3. The words of Ambrose may be understood as referring to simply affected ignorance; or they may have reference to a species of the sin of ingratitude, the highest degree of which is that man even ignores the benefits he has received; or again, they may be an allusion to the ignorance of unbelief, which undermines the foundation of the spiritual edifice.
Iª-IIae q. 76 a. 4 ad 4 Ad quartum dicendum quod ebrius meretur quidem duplices maledictiones, propter duo peccata quae committit, scilicet ebrietatem et aliud peccatum quod ex ebrietate sequitur. Tamen ebrietas, ratione ignorantiae adiunctae, diminuit sequens peccatum, et forte plus quam sit gravitas ipsius ebrietatis, ut dictum est. Vel potest dici quod illud verbum inducitur secundum ordinationem cuiusdam Pittaci legislatoris, qui statuit ebrios, si percusserint, amplius puniendos; non ad veniam respiciens, quam ebrii debent magis habere; sed ad utilitatem, quia plures iniuriantur ebrii quam sobrii; ut patet per philosophum, in II politicorum. Reply to Objection 4. The drunken man deserves a "double punishment" for the two sins which he commits, viz. drunkenness, and the sin which results from his drunkenness: and yet drunkenness, on account of the ignorance connected therewith, diminishes the resulting sin, and more, perhaps, than the gravity of the drunkenness implies, as stated above (ad 2). It might also be said that the words quoted refer to an ordinance of the legislator named Pittacus, who ordered drunkards to be more severely punished if they assaulted anyone; having an eye, not to the indulgence which the drunkard might claim, but to expediency, since more harm is done by the drunk than by the sober, as the Philosopher observes (Polit. ii).

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