Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

Search:

Or browse the dictionary by selecting a letter!
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

INDIFFERENT ACT

The theory that some human actions, though conscious and deliberate, are morally indifferent, that is, neither good nor bad. Defended by Duns Scotus (c. 1264-1308) and his followers, it is not commonly held by Catholic moralists. Following St. Thomas Aquinas, they admit that in the abstract a human act can be morally indifferent, but not when considered individually in the concrete. Consequently, every deliberate act performed by a definite individual is always either morally good or bad.

The controversy revolves around the question: must every human action be explicitly directed to a morally good purpose? St. Thomas answers that an implicit intention to do what is right is sufficient for a morally good action, provided it is done with some reflection and exercise of freedom.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Renewal with God before Us: Christ Determines All 14 hours ago
Sons of Dominic Prepare for Family Synod July 29
Dominican theologians assess proposals for divorced and remarried July 29
The ‘Pope Francis effect’—changing the way the world sees the papacy July 29
Renewal with God Behind Us: Man Determines All July 28

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
New management, new changes coming for reformed Vatican bank CWN - July 8
Sweeping reforms to Vatican's media, financial operations CWN - July 9
‘Even Genghis Khan didn’t do this’: Mosul emptied of Christians CWN - July 21