Choose a topic from Part 2A:

7. Circumstances of Human Acts

1. Conditions which are outside the essence of a human act and yet touch it or bear upon it, are called circumstances of the human act. Circumstances are accidentals of a human act.

2. Circumstances influence human acts (a) in point of their measuring up to their end; (b) in point of morality; (c) in point of merit and demerit. Therefore, theologians who study human conduct in its reference to God, cannot ignore circumstances, but must discuss, weigh, and judge them, to establish prudent rules for human living.

3. A convenient list of the circumstances of human acts is given by Aristotle (Ethic. iii), and is slightly emended by Cicero. This listing is a series of seven questions to be asked by one who wishes to know all the circumstances of a human act. The questions are: who, what, where, by what aids, why, how, when? Following the suggestion of these questions, we may list circumstances in this manner: (1) circumstance of person,(2) circumstance of quality of the act, (3) circumstance of place, (4) circumstance of helps or influences, (5) circumstance of intention, (6)circumstance of mode or manner, (7) circumstance of time.

4. The most notable of the circumstances are those of intention and quality of the act. The intention of the agent (doer, performer of the act) touches the essential character of a free will-act; quality of the act respects the act itself as a deed done. No other circumstances are so intimately bound up with human acts as these two.

"When the devil has failed in making a man fall, he puts forward all his energies to create distrust between the penitent and the confessor, and so by little and little he gains his end at last."
St Philip Neri

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"What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you displease the Trinity? Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous life makes him pleasing to God. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"To think of oneself as nothing, and always to think well and highly of others is the best and most perfect wisdom. Wherefore, if you see another sin openly or commit a serious crime, do not consider yourself better, for you do not know how long you can remain in good estate. All men are frail, but you must admit that none is more frail than yourself. "
Thomas á Kempis

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