The moral system according to which a person in a doubt of conscience about the morality of a certain course of action, may safely follow the opinion for liberty provided that it possesses any probability whatsoever. This system, or certain individual solutions logically following from it, found favor with a number of 17th–century theologians, such as Juan sÁnchez, Tommaso tamburini, and Juan caramuel. The fundamental principle of this system was condemned by Innocent XI in 1679. The condemned proposition read: "Generally, when we do anything relying on probability, whether intrinsic or extrinsic, however slight, provided it is not beyond the bounds of probability, we are always acting prudently" (Denz 2103). Many particular errors of laxism also were condemned by the Holy See in the 17th century (Denz 2021–25; 2101–67). No Catholic theologian accepts laxism today. This system is based on the idea that the law of God is something to be evaded, rather than to be lovingly observed when its existence is practically certain, as is surely the case when the opinion for liberty is only slightly probable.
See Also: morality, systems of; doubt, moral; conscience; reflex principles.
Bibliography: d. m. prÜmmer, Manuale theologiae moralis, ed. e. m. mÜnch (Barcelona 1945–46) 1:343. j. aertnys and c. a. damen, Theologia moralis, 2 v. (Turin 1947) 1:101. h. noldin, Summa theologiae moralis, ed. a. schmitt, 3 v. (Barcelona 1945) 1:234.
[f. j. connell]