What does "feigned ignorance" mean?

From the Catechism, paragraph 1859:

“Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart … increase the voluntary character of sin.”

What does “feigned ignorance” mean in this context?

Feigning ignorance would be like if I did something wrong, full well knowing that it was wrong, and then made it out to seem like I didn’t know that it was wrong to start with as though whatever I did was an accident.

to feign means to pretend or to fake

i.e. someone who is pretending to sleep is feigning sleep

Yes. Another example would be pretending not to notice certain things that, if you’re aware of them, make an act sinful.

Don’t you pretend like you don’t know, mister.:wink:


I think they are also contrasting with “invincible ignorance”. That is the ignorance of people who have never been taught properly and who, through no fault of their own, cannot now learn the truth.

For example, a child growing up in a culture that vaules stealing, and who lives in the culture all their lives, does not understand the sinful nature of theft. On the other hand, a child who grows up in the US today, cannot ever claim that he did not know that stealing was wrong–even if he has embezzelers as parents.

:slight_smile: Thanks, everyone.

Would I be right in saying that someone is being scrupulous if they worry whether they were truly ignorant of the immorality of of a particular act that they commited or whether they were just “feigning ignorance to themselves”?