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According to Catholicism, only mortal sins result in condemnation and a mortal sin requires the act to be grave matter and to have been committed with full knowledge and consent of the will.

But the negative moral precepts, those prohibiting certain concrete actions or kinds of behavior as intrinsically evil, do not allow for any legitimate exception. They do not leave room, in any morally acceptable way, for the "creativity" of any contrary determination whatsoever”. -Veritatis Splendor 67

Does "legitimate exception" mean a person is culpable regardless of full knowledge or consent and regardless of conscience?

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"Does an act being intrinsically evil ensure culpability?" No.

A person forced to commit an intrinsic evil does not sin because sin requires consent of the will; "every sin is volutary" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica I-II q. 80 a. 1 co.).

cf. Prümmer, O.P., Handbook of Moral Theology on human acts.

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  • I think this answer could be enhanced with at least some of the details from the linked answer about consent. It would also help to discuss knowledge and conscience
    – eques
    Sep 9 at 16:57
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    Knowledge is also necessary. If an evildoer wires up a light switch so it electrocutes someone, the person innocently turning on the light isn't culpable for the killing. Sep 9 at 17:47
  • @eques I agree with DJClayworth. The next sentence in the Veritatis Splendor quote is indicative that knowledge is necessary: " Once the moral species of an action prohibited by a universal rule is concretely recognized, the only morally good act is that of obeying the moral law and of refraining from the action which it forbids." To have knowledge, the person who is about to do the action needs to see in his/her mind the "moral species of an action", i.e. determine that the action (along with all the circumstances) qualifies as a species of the negative moral precept. Sep 9 at 19:41
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    @eques I agree with your comment that the answer needs more detail. I merely added an observation from the larger context of the quote from Veritatis Splendor. Sep 9 at 19:45
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    @eques Updated comment. The next sentence in the Veritatis Splendor quote is indicative that knowledge is necessary: "Once the moral species of an action prohibited by a universal rule is concretely recognized, the only morally good act is that of obeying the moral law and of refraining from the action which it forbids." To have knowledge ("concretely recognize") means the person who is about to do the action needs to see in his mind the "moral species of an action", i.e. to determine that the action (plus the circumstances) qualifies as a species of the negative precept. Sep 9 at 19:50

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