The Splendor of Truth(Veritatis Splendor, John Paul II) We live in a time of great moral confusion. False moral systems are being promoted in every imaginable way. This confusion has allowed evils like contraception, abortion, euthanasia, test-tube babies, surrogate motherhood, and embryonic research to become increasingly acceptable.
The Splendor of Truth(Veritatis Splendor, John Paul II) The Foundations of Moral Reasoning How do we now the moral law? Genesis 1:26-27 Only man is made in the image and likeness of the eternal God who created the universe. We have spiritual souls, intellects and wills. Like God we can know and love. We can receive god’s Spirit into our souls. We are capable of one day living in unimaginable glory in the Kingdom of Heaven
The Splendor of Truth(Veritatis Splendor, John Paul II) Unlike all other creatures in the visible world that are moved by instinct we are truly free. Because we are free we are moral beings: We can choose to do good or evil. Through our intellect we can discover the goodness (morality) of an action This judgment of the intellect is called conscience Through our free will we can choose good or do evil
The Splendor of Truth(Veritatis Splendor, John Paul II) With this gift comes accountability If we do good and avoid evil we will attain glory in heaven. Romans 2:6-10 In heaven, we will possess the all-good God Himself; we will no longer be able to choose evil.
The Splendor of Truth(Veritatis Splendor, John Paul II) How do we know what is good and evil? We consult the moral law, which is based on the eternal law of God We conform to God’s nature He is the God of truth, justice, and love. Therefore all actions taken must be done in truth, justice, and love. This is the unchanging essence of the moral law
The Splendor of Truth(Veritatis Splendor, John Paul II) How do we know the demands of the moral law? The Ten Commandments, God’s gift through public revelation, sum up the requirements of the moral law. The two great commandments are a summary of the Ten Commandments Matthew 22:37-40
The Splendor of Truth(Veritatis Splendor, John Paul II) We can also know the requirements of the moral law through human reason Romans 1:19-20 Our reason allows us to see the order God has put in the universe Our free will allows us to live according to that order.
The Splendor of Truth(Veritatis Splendor, John Paul II) Virtually all men agree that certain actions (honesty and faithfulness) are worthy of our rational nature; Other actions (cheating and adultery) are unworthy. This is known as the natural moral law. Reason discerns that man is accountable to a higher law than merely natural law, a “law of human nature.”
The Splendor of Truth(Veritatis Splendor, John Paul II) We do not hold animals or inanimate objects responsible for hurting us because they don’t know any other way to act. We do blame and hold responsible humans for deliberately hurting us. Humans are rational and capable of acting differently and because they are capable they should act in accordance with their rational nature. Because of original sin, our reason is wounded. This wound adversely effects our understanding of moral law and makes our reason susceptible to error
The Splendor of Truth(Veritatis Splendor, John Paul II) The Catholic Church, which teaches with the authority of her founder Jesus Christ is the final and infallible interpreter of both the natural moral law and public revelation. Thus, she is a reliable teacher when it comes to life issues.
The Splendor of Truth(Veritatis Splendor, John Paul II) Intrinsically Evil Acts These are acts like rape, murder, and adultery that are always evil, no matter what the circumstances or intentions. These acts remain evil, with no exceptions. They can never become good acts. A person can commit an intrinsically evil act and not be personally guilty but this does not alter the evil of the act. Objective Morality Examines the rightness and wrongness of humans acts as they are in themselves Subjective Morality Examines the personal guilt or merit an individual has for their moral acts.
The Splendor of Truth(Veritatis Splendor, John Paul II) How do we evaluate moral acts? Morality considers the rightness and wrongness of human actions. Only human actions done freely and knowingly can be evaluated. Three elements determine the morality of human acts: • The object of the act ( what the act is objectively) • The intention or purpose of the act (why the act is chosen subjectively) • The circumstances surrounding the act For an act to be morally good, all three of these elements must be good.
The Splendor of Truth(Veritatis Splendor, John Paul II) How do we evaluate moral acts? The ends (good intentions) don’t justify the means (objectively bad acts). Evil intentions corrupt otherwise good actions. Circumstances cannot change intrinsically evil acts into good ones. Circumstances can increase or decrease the moral quality of an act Circumstances can make a normally good act bad Circumstances can change some normally bad actions into good ones
The Splendor of Truth(Veritatis Splendor, John Paul II) Moral Principles Approved by the Catholic Church Catechism of the Catholic Faith Part III “Life In Christ” (1691-2557)
Moral Principles • Do good; Avoid evil(Ps 37:27) This is the basic precept of the natural law and the foundation of morality • We can never do evil to bring about good(Rm 3:8) The ends never justify the means • We must follow our conscience We are obligated to follow the certain judgment of our formed conscience. Conscience must never be set in opposition to the moral law or the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.
Moral Principles The principle of the double effect An act that is good, but that has an evil side effect, may only be done under the following conditions: The act itself must be good or at least morally neutral The evil effect must not be directly willed, but only foreseen and tolerated The good effect must not be the result of the evil effect The good desired must equal or outweigh the evil permitted
Moral PrinciplesMaterial cooperation with evil • Formal Cooperation is assisting another’s wrong-doing while approving it. This is always wrong. • Material Cooperation is assisting another’s wrong-doing without approving of it. This is allowed following the same principles as double effect.
Moral Principles • The principle of totality The Vatican document, Charter for Health Care Workers, section 66: For the sake of our overall health, we can mutilate, modify or remove an organ or body part. Therapeutic sterilization is covered under this principle whereas contraceptive sterilization is not. • Choosing the lesser of two evils If we are unintentionally faced with two or more unavoidable evils, we must choose the lesser one. • Minimizing a greater evil We must work to limit the harm caused by an unavoidable evil. We may if unavoidable support a lesser evil to minimize a greater one.
False Moral Ideas • Freedom of Conscience Gaudium et Spes says, “Conscience is God’s voice speaking within us, not just our opinion.” We have a prior obligation to form our conscience according to Church teaching before we follow it. • Fundamental Option Theory This theory claims that once we choose to follow God, then we cannot break our relationship with God except by a direct, specific rejection of Him. We may knowingly and with free consent commit a serious and grave act but not explicitly reject God and thus avoid mortal sin. John Paul II in The Splendor of Truth points out that if we willfully and knowingly engage in a seriously sinful act, then in our disobedience we have indirectly rejected God which results in the loss of sanctifying grace.
False Moral Ideas • Situation Ethics This theory claims there are no such things as universal moral norms (Ten Commandments) that hold for all times and places. We simply make up our own morality as we go along depending on the circumstances. The Church condemned this theory in 1956.
False Moral Ideas • Values Clarification This morality teaching method presents students with various predicaments that call for moral choices. It then presents several moral systems including Christian morality as if all the systems were equally acceptable. Each student is asked to reflect on the situation and choose whichever system they believe is best. This sets the student up as the ultimate authority on what is right and wrong
False Moral Ideas The Ends Justifies the Means This false moral system insists that we can do an evil act in order to attain a desired good. Cultural Cliches “Look out for number one” “You only live once.” “Follow your heart” “But I love him/her” “If it feels good it” “We can’t impose our morality.” “We must be tolerant.” “God wouldn’t want me to be unhappy.” Any system which promotes man, not God, as the decision maker between right and wrong is in error.