Rules of Morality part 1 of 2


We are going to talk about the rules pertaining
to morality in general. First of all morality is about trying to do
what is good. So, let’s first define what is good. To be good means that an act must accord with
reason ordered toward our final fulfillment in God. First of all notice in this definition; We
include God in the definition of what is good. And also we include reason in the definition
of what is good. Keep that in mind. I’m going to go over with you first of all
what is required for an act itself to belong to the realm of moral responsibility. There are four points here. The act must be voluntary. The one acting must know the intended end
result. The one acting must know how the means leads
to the end. The one acting must be sentient. So, the next part here is we are going to
talk about the moral determinates, how you decide if something is good or evil. Point one: the goodness or evil of the act
itself. We have to look at the act objectively if
it’s good or evil. The next part is we have to look at the circumstances
surrounding the act. Finally, third, the intent of the one performing
the act. So, with these three, all three, must be good
in order for the act to be good. If any one of them is evil, the act is evil. So, let’s look at the third one, the intent
of the one performing the act. If somebody does something that’s objectively
good in itself, but has an evil intent in doing it, then the act is morally evil. And then the circumstances, of course, surrounding
an act can affect whether on not the act is evil. Circumstances can be things like the place
and time of the act or how it relates to attaining the end result. So, what some people have said about these
moral determinates is that we can never determine if an act is truly evil because we can never
know all of the circumstances surrounding the act. But that is incorrect. The Catholic Church teaches that there are
certain actions that are always evil to choose because choosing them involves a disorder
of the will. So that’s why we have point one. If the act itself is evil, then regardless
of the circumstances or the intent, it’s morally evil. So, the next area is about requirements for
an act to be morally good. There’s four points here. The act itself must be morally good or at
least indifferent. The one acting may not positively will the
bad side effect but may permit it. The good effect must flow from the action
at least as immediately, in the order of causality, as the bad effect. What this means is basically you can’t use
a bad means to a good end. So, if you do something, and the immediate
cause of what you are doing is the bad effect, and you expect the good effect to in turn
be caused by that bad effect, then that is evil. But, it is possible for it to be good if,
when you do something then that something you do directly causes both the good and the
bad side effect. And that brings us to our fourth point. The good effect must be sufficiently desirable
to compensate for allowing the bad effect. So, the bad effect certainly cannot outweigh
the good effect. Otherwise it’s morally evil. So, that’s the basic rules of morality. In the next section, I’m going to talk about
following your conscience. May God less you.

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