The moral system that taught that, in a doubt about the morality of a particular course of conduct, one must follow the safer side (the opinion for law) unless the likelihood that the law does not bind (the opinion for liberty) is most probable. The view was defended by the Louvain professor J. Opstraet (d.1720) after the condemnation of rigorism, and later by Cardinal Gerdil (d. 1802). In practice, this system does not differ much from rigorism; and, though it has never been formally condemned by the Church, it is now rejected by all theologians. For, if God had obliged man to follow the opinion for law unless the opinion for liberty were most probable, He would have imposed an intolerable burden on mankind and would have demanded of good persons a way of life open to innumerable anxieties.
See Also: morality, systems of; rigorism; doubt, moral.
Bibliography: d. m. prÜmmer, Manuale theologiae moralis, ed. e. m. mÜnch, 3 v. (10th ed. Barcelona 1945–46) 1:339. j. aerinys and c. a. damen, Theologia moralis, 2 v. (16th ed. Marietti 1950) 1:101. m. zalba, Theologiae moralis compendium, 2 v. (Madrid 1958) 1:674.
[f. j. connell]