Catechism of the Catholic Church

Life in Christ 431 1735 Imputability and responsibility for an action can be dimin- ished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors. 1736 Every act directly willed is imputable to its author: Thus the Lord asked Eve after the sin in the garden: “What is this that you have done?” 29 He asked Cain the same question. 30 The prophet Nathan questioned David in the same way after he committed adultery with the wife of Uriah and had him murdered. 31 An action can be indirectly voluntary when it results from negli- gence regarding something one should have known or done: for example, an accident arising from ignorance of traffic laws. 1737 An effect can be tolerated without being willed by its agent; for instance, a mother’s exhaustion from tending her sick child. A bad effect is not imputable if it was not willed either as an end or as a means of an action, e.g., a death a person incurs in aiding someone in danger. For a bad effect to be imputable it must be foreseeable and the agent must have the possibility of avoiding it, as in the case of manslaughter caused by a drunken driver. 1738 Freedom is exercised in relationships between human be- ings. Every human person, created in the image of God, has the natural right to be recognized as a free and responsible being. All owe to each other this duty of respect. The right to the exercise of freedom, especially in moral and religious matters, is an inalienable requirement of the dignity of the human person. This right must be recognized and protected by civil authority within the limits of the common good and public order. 32 II. H uman F reedom in the E conomy of S alvation 1739 Freedom and sin. Man’s freedom is limited and fallible. In fact, man failed. He freely sinned. By refusing God’s plan of love, he deceived himself and became a slave to sin. This first alienation engendered a multitude of others. From its outset, human history attests the wretchedness and oppression born of the human heart in consequence of the abuse of freedom. 29 Gen 3:13. 30 Cf. Gen 4:10. 31 Cf. 2 Sam 12:7-15. 32 Cf. DH 2 § 7. 597 2568 2263 2106 2109 387 401