What do you think? Do you believe that there is a link between being moral and being happy?
Reflection Question Why does the Catholic Church teach morality?
Catholic Morality Intro How this class will proceed Catholic Morality Apologetics Questions and sincere opinions are welcome, but the class will not be driven by opinion, arguments, or shared ignorance.
Bible-Catechism The Didiche—Church Law The “how to” book for Christians. PRE-Dates Scripture!
Class Work Homework: Ask 5 adults: “What is the secret to happiness?” Write down their names and responses.
The Secret to Happiness Ask those with wisdom: What should I do to achieve true, long-term happiness for myself and others? Continue to ask questions until you understand how and why certain behaviors lead to happiness and others do not. Pray for the strength to actually do what you have learned. Apologize and try again when you fail.
Essential Questions: 1. What does it mean to be moral? 2. How do I know what is immoral? 3. Why does the Church teach morality? 4. What does it mean to follow my conscience? 5. What is Truth?
The objective and subjective elements of sin The difference between wrong and sin. Wrong-harmful, injurious, causing suffering. Wrong is objective Sin-knowingly and purposefully causing harm, injury or suffering. Sin is subjective.
Definitions cont. Culpability-a measure of personal guilt for an evil action. The opposite of wrong is right (or in accord with reality) The opposite of sin is virtue What does this mean for the “don’t judge others” crowd? What does this mean for the “that’s just your opinion” crowd?
Student explanations of wrong and sin~~ You can do wrong without sinning-wrong is anything harmful. Sin is something more than doing wrong. It is consciously knowing what is wrong and doing it anyway. When we ignore reality, we do harm. That harm is automatic. However, that is not necessarily sin. No sin is private. It impacts the lives of others and we are responsible for that impact. Sins are evil, and wrongs are harmful. The distinction between wrong and sin is very important because it can help us not to judge others. Because we have free will, we can choose to do wrong, which is sin.
How can we judge actions, without judging people? Based on what we know through the teachings of the church, we can determine whether the actions of another are wrong, however we cannot determine if the action is a sin because we do not know the mind and heart of another. We can be objective when someone does something wrong and tell them that what they are doing is causing harm, but not that they have sinned. Human beings cannot judge someone’s sinfulness because they do not know the level of culpability of the sinner. Only God can judge someone. While wrong is definite, culpability is up to God.
Church Teaching and Rules Church Teaching-Educated statements about reality—not opinion. Rules-Naturally flow from church teaching, or reality. Cholesterol example~~
More Examples—from students Diving into the shallow end of a pool is dangerous. The resulting rule is that no one is allowed to dive into the shallow end. Even if everyone agrees to change the rule, the harm will still come. Motorcycle accidents kill people, and wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head injury. Even if you don’t agree with or follow the helmet law, the pavement will teach you the reality. Smoking kills people. Even if you don’t believe that fact, smoking will still kill you. We can’t decide that smoking is not harmful just because everyone wants to smoke! If you eat fast food and you don’t work out, you will gain weight. We must bear the consequences of our behavioral choice. Even if we don’t believe it, it will still be true. The truth is abortion kills a life. Even if the law says you can have an abortion and that it is OK, that does not change the fact that a life is being thrown away.
Arguing the rules is pointless. So..discussions about morality must take place at the level of reality, not rules! Rules for moral behavior are not based on polls, but on the awareness of truth and reality. If we disregard the rules, we will suffer the consequences. Doing what is wrong is harmful, even if you don’t know it is wrong. Our teachings tell us what we need to do, not what we want to hear. Rules are practical conclusions that stem from reality. Rules are ways of behavior that avoid harm based on the constraints of reality. The rule can’t be thrown away as long as the principles behind it are still true.
Catholic Church has guts...I like that “People are going to do it anyway” can not excuse the church from its role in pointing out what causes harm and why. Would you want to belong to a Church that did not have the guts to speak the truth?
Bishop Pilla states that, “If rules reflect reality, demanding that the Church change its rules is ludicrous.” The church's job is not to argue the rules, but to search for truth. The rules flow from discovered truth. Changing rules never changes the truth. The church does not make reality, but merely teaches its truth. To say that the church should change its rules is to say that the church is God. To ask the church to change its rules is to ask the church to deny reality. You don’t have to agree with the rules, but you will still suffer the consequences.
Notes Stages of Morality -Childhood: Authority-is external. Obedience—first parents, then teachers, then peer group. Motivation-fear of punishment and sense of order. Greatest conflict- rules and expectations that differ.
Notes Stages of Morality -Mature Adulthood: Authority-is internal Obedience-to personal values and principles Motivation-personal integrity, self worth, care for others. Greatest conflict- personal gain and self protection-vs- integrity (compare grade 1 to 9 to 11)
What Kind of Person will I become? Plant an act; reap a habit Plant a habit; reap a virtue or vice Plant a virtue or a vice; reap a character Plant a character; reap a destiny We become the sum total of our individual acts (The example the ring, smoking and the frog)
Definitions Integrity: uncompromising adherence to moral and ethical principals…Sometimes called character. We can measure our integrity by asking ourselves, “What are we willing to do when no one else is looking?” Integrity leads to self-esteem. We become the sum total of our individual acts
Notes Moral Maturity: Comes from integrity, loving others more than ourselves, learning from our previous mistakes, and having a high self-esteem. LEADS TO HAPPINESS!!!!!
Conscience: CCC1778: Conscience is a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that he is going to perform, is in the process of performing, or has already completed.
Conscience is not a feeling! Sometimes we feel guilty when we haven't done anything immoral Sometimes we don't feel guilty when we do something that causes harm to ourselves and others.
Conscience is not the same as feeling guilty! Guilt is a feeling. Conscience is making a judgment between good and evil, regardless of how we feel. Just because you do not feel guilty about something that you did does not mean it was the right thing to do. Feeling guilty is just that, a feeling. Conscience is a guide for our free will. Guilt is a feeling, and feelings are morally neutral. Conscience is the information that we use when making a moral decision. Feeling guilty is a personal emotional response to a situation. Many Nazi’s did not feel guilty about killing the Jews but it was still a matter of conscience.
We have a duel responsibility to form and follow our conscience! In order to do what is right, we have to know what is right The formation of our conscience is one of our most important tasks— so that we can do good and avoid evil. We must always ask ourselves about the impact that our decisions will have on others. That is forming your conscience. Some people do not want to form their conscience because an uninformed conscience is easier to follow. We have to train our conscience in church teaching because we should never underestimate our own ability to rationalize whatever we want to do.
Erroneous Conscience What might cause our conscience to be in error? As a group: Review CCC 1790-1793. Find out as much as you can about causes of an erroneous conscience.
Erroneous Conscience 1790 A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed.
Culpably Erroneous Conscience 1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man "takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin." In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.
The six sources of erroneous judgments on conscience (1792). 1. Ignorance 2. Bad example of others 3. Being a slave to our appetitive nature 4. A mistaken notion of the freedom of conscience. 5. Rejection of the Church’s authority or right to teach. 6. A lack of conversion or lack of charity and love.
Bonus Question Homework In CCC # 1778 there is a quote by John Henry Cardinal Newman where Conscience is called “the aboriginal Vicar of Christ.” What does this mean? Hint: Start by looking up aboriginal and vicar.