What are the Types of Evil?
Q. Father Fortea, what are the types of evil?
A. While the variety of particular evils is infinite, theologians typically distinguish between physical and moral evils. Remember our earlier definition of evil: the lack (or privation) of a good that should exist in a thing. Here’s a good example of a physical evil: the painting the Mona Lisa is good, but a knife mark left by a vandal would be an evil because it causes a lack of something that should be present, i.e., the integrity of the painting. Water is good, but a lack of water – a drought – produces dehydration, starvation, forest fires, etc. Everything that exists is essentially good, even though it may have defects, because it was created by God who is all-good. When a person knowingly chooses to act against the law of God, he commits a moral evil, a sin. While physical evils cause much suffering, moral evil is more heinous because it flows from the free choice of men (see Catechism of the Catholic Church 310 – 314 for a detailed treatment of the nature and types of evil).
Editor’s Note: To learn more about spiritual warfare and demonology, Catholic Spiritual Direction recommends Fr. Fortea’s excellent book, Interview With An Exorcist – An Insider’s Look at the Devil, Demonic Possession, and the Path to Deliverance
Art: Gargoyles, Magdalen College, Oxford England, 27 July 2009, Own work, Chris Creagh; Wikimedia Commons.
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