Presentation on theme: "Chapter 3. Humans have the capacity to think and to choose. Humans have the capacity to love, which enables us to seek God – who is love. To possess."— Presentation transcript:
Humans have the capacity to think and to choose. Humans have the capacity to love, which enables us to seek God – who is love. To possess freedom means to be responsible for our choices and actions, either good or evil.
The Catholic Church teaches that freedom is necessary in order for one to seek God. There are those who believe in determinism – that humans do not really choose, but that every event, action, and decision is a result of forces outside of ourselves – such as the stars, environment, chemical imbalance, society, upbringing, education etc. The Church rejects this kind of strict determinism.
External Freedom – being free from outside factors that threaten our ability to choose – i.e. poverty and oppression. Internal Freedom – being free from interior factors that limits our ability to choose – i.e. fear, addiction True freedom frees us to develop our God given gifts and talents in a responsible way so that we can choose good, avoid evil, serve others, and love God.
Freedom is not about “doing what I want to do.” Freedom is not license. This philosophy promotes selfishness and denies one’s responsibility to others and to God. Example – abortion rights. True freedom elevates our humanity, not demean.
There are limits to human freedom – physically, intellectually, and emotionally. Impediments to freedom – these can limit our level of responsibility: Ignorance Inadvertence Duress Inordinate attachments Fear Habit These impediments do not have to enslave us, we can overcome them by cultivating good habits and virtues, and above all prayer and God’s grace.
With the power to choose, comes responsibility – “every act directly willed is imputable (accountable) to its author” (CCC, 1736). Our actions also have consequences – good and bad. By owning up to our mistakes we grow and learn from them. We must accept full responsibility for the sinful behaviors we voluntarily, freely, and willfully commit. Some actions are not totally voluntary (such as negligence or ignorance), and be less blameworthy. Mature Christians use STOP, self-discipline, and virtue.
The most basic emotion is “to love.” Emotions are morally neutral – but depending on how we engage our emotions, can determine whether they lead us to something good or bad. What we do with our feelings in important. As Christians, our emotions should be channeled to something good.
A good law can help keep us focus; it protects us from doing our own thing regardless of consequences. Law provides us with an objective standard or measure. It warns us of pitfalls and consequences. Without law, our society would be in chaos.
The laws of morality are rooted in God’s law as revealed to us in Scriptures and Tradition. St Thomas Aquinas identified four types of laws – Eternal Law, Natural Law, Revealed Law, Civil and Church Law.
St. Thomas defined Law as – “an ordinance of reason for the common good, promulgated by the one in charge of the community” (CCC, 1976). Law is reasonable – it makes sense and it’s fair (i.e. gun ordinance prohibits indiscriminate shooting). Law is for the common good – it’s to build up each other and care for the human community (i.e. fair income tax laws). Law comes from competent authority – appointed authorities can make and enforce laws. Law must be promulgated – it must be made known and advertised.
Divine Law is highest for of law. It’s source is from God. Natural Law is our participation on Divine Law. NL teaches us what to do and what to avoid. Using our ability to think, we can have a basic understanding of right and wrong. It corresponds to three basic human drives and need – preserving life, developing as individuals and communities, and sharing life with others.
NL is implanted in our hearts. It is universal and unchanging for all people at all times It is the foundation and basis for civil laws and moral rules. Because of our weakened nature, it can be difficult to discern natural law. God has filled in this gap by what he revealed to us in the Bible – especially in the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus.
A specific application of the natural law according to their customs and circumstances. For example – why do have traffic laws? Not all civil laws are good laws. Laws have been passed that violate the dignity of humans (slavery, segregation, abortion on demand). Civil law is only morally good insofar as they conform to natural law and divine law. We are not required to obey unjust or evil civil laws, and we have the duty to do all we can to change it.