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(12-06-2011, 02:52 PM)Scriptorium Wrote: [ -> ]I would say that civil laws are for the common good. It is a moral fault to offend against the common good. Jaywalking when no one around is no offense against common good. But jaywalking while many cars are present can, especially if it causes the drivers danger. Also jaywalking for the express purpose of undermining the legal authority would be a minor sin also, since the law is just and reasonable. But we can't take this too far. Even the state cites things as infractions, which are essentially very minor faults. Don't make your priest laugh when you confess you got a ticket for going 75 in a 65 area!

I think we're on the same page. If you, in your day-to-day actions, are thinking of the common good, you're going to be making the right choices, anyway. If you happen to violate a trivial civil law, while still being mindful of the common good, I don't think there is any fault there.
(12-06-2011, 11:37 AM)spasiisochrani Wrote: [ -> ]There is a theory in moral theology that some civil laws (e.g. speed limits, parking laws) are purely "penal laws".  They do not oblige under pain of sin; the only moral obligation is to take your punishment if caught. Some moral theologians disagree, but this is a probable opinion that may be followed in practice. 

http://maritain.nd.edu/jmc/etext/emt21.htm

This is my opinion as well.
(12-06-2011, 02:57 PM)rbjmartin Wrote: [ -> ]I think we're on the same page. If you, in your day-to-day actions, are thinking of the common good, you're going to be making the right choices, anyway. If you happen to violate a trivial civil law, while still being mindful of the common good, I don't think there is any fault there.

Also we can argue whether it is just to burden people with a lot of minute laws that people don't know or understand or must offend against in order to function in life, or be a good person. These are unjust laws because they are unjust, or are unreasonable requirements on people.
(12-06-2011, 05:31 PM)Scriptorium Wrote: [ -> ]
(12-06-2011, 02:57 PM)rbjmartin Wrote: [ -> ]I think we're on the same page. If you, in your day-to-day actions, are thinking of the common good, you're going to be making the right choices, anyway. If you happen to violate a trivial civil law, while still being mindful of the common good, I don't think there is any fault there.

Also we can argue whether it is just to burden people with a lot of minute laws that people don't know or understand or must offend against in order to function in life, or be a good person. These are unjust laws because they are unjust, or are unreasonable requirements on people.

That's a good point, not to mention the potential scandal that can be given by burdensome, unjust laws, because they could potentially foster a scrupulosity in people that disconnects them from the natural law.
(12-06-2011, 08:21 AM)Aragon Wrote: [ -> ]I've heard it claimed that breaking the civil law is a mortal sin. I was wondering how far this extended? Obviously things like fraud and tax evasion are immoral, but what about minor laws such as not wearing a helmet while out cycling or taking a bottle of wine on a picnic? Are doing these things which are forbidden by the law - even though they really have no negative consequences at all - immoral?

Yep, on a picnic. Right. :LOL:
Intentionally and willfully disobeying proper authority is a sin.

However, given the large number and sources of individual laws, I do not think we need to be concerned with the morality of everyday actions which happen to violate local ordinances or some types of regulations.

We are called to be holy, not lawyers. The laws of civil authority these days are extremely complex and involved. Do the best one can.

This is not to say one can break certain laws, but that it probably isn't a major issue as long as one is not defending or advocating violating the law willfully.

I would also think that the sources of law vary so much, there is probably a theological way to evaluate a given law based on its source. But that is a rather in depth theological and legal question and probably has limited actual application.

(12-06-2011, 08:26 PM)Raskolnikov Wrote: [ -> ]
(12-06-2011, 08:21 AM)Aragon Wrote: [ -> ]I've heard it claimed that breaking the civil law is a mortal sin. I was wondering how far this extended? Obviously things like fraud and tax evasion are immoral, but what about minor laws such as not wearing a helmet while out cycling or taking a bottle of wine on a picnic? Are doing these things which are forbidden by the law - even though they really have no negative consequences at all - immoral?

Yep, on a picnic. Right. :LOL:

I'm just really worried that now I'll have to start wearing a helmet when I cycle....
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