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Christian Morality. The Importance of the Issue New paradigms, new questions Confusion Ignorance of what the church teaches Challenges of a rapidly changing.

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Presentation on theme: "Christian Morality. The Importance of the Issue New paradigms, new questions Confusion Ignorance of what the church teaches Challenges of a rapidly changing."— Presentation transcript:

1 Christian Morality

2 The Importance of the Issue New paradigms, new questions Confusion Ignorance of what the church teaches Challenges of a rapidly changing society Conflicting emotions, gut feelings, politics, and immature religion

3 What Is Morality? Simply a set of rules and regulations to be obeyed or else? SO MUCH MORE!!

4 Some Models of Morality LEGAL LOVE DISCIPLESHIP INNER CONVICTION/MORAL CONSCIENCE Let’s look at these a little deeper....

5 Legal Model: God as Judge/Law-Giver Oldest model, deeply ingrained From society’s need to organize itself, to help maintain peace and harmony; Consequences for breaking laws Morality synonymous with the Law God is law-giver; we are obliged to obey Extreme disobedience results in explusion from the Church

6 Limitations of the Legal Model: Extreme Responses Scrupulosity: a preoccupation and fear of not perfectly following the law Circumvention: asking how much we can get away with before committing a sin Rigid imposition of the law stirs up rebellious questioning of authority; law seen as oppressive and burdensome Relativism: I should be able to determine if it is right for me or not

7 The Need for the Law: Realizing that it is not the central component in morality……….. A truly mature adult sees the need for the law Society will always need agreed upon norms and values that uphold the common good These norms must and do drive our values

8 The Love Model Based on the Two Great Commandments and the Beatitudes; from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount Such love is directed TOWARD OTHERS Love that Jesus taught us by word and example drives our moral responses in ALL SITUATIONS

9 Limitations of the Love Model Uncertainty as to what the most loving action is in a given situation: WWJD? We run the risk of putting our own morality on the shoulders of Jesus to give divine acceptance of our own narrow view Model fails us in determining the right thing to do in many circumstances

10 The Discipleship Model Based on an intimate, reciprocal relationship with Jesus Commissioned followers of Christ follow the example of the New Testament and join with other Christians in community A welcome change to the legal model! Much discernment happens in the context of community as it seeks to live out the Gospel

11 Limitations No clear directives given to address the complex situations Christians face No concrete answers to what is morally right and wrong More is needed

12 Inner Conviction or Moral Conscience Model Joyful acceptance of personal responsibility for moral living 10 Commandments = joyful reciprocal response to the love, care and nurturing shown to us by God in a sacred covenant relationship Directives of the law guide us but we choose to make a personal mature commitment to live by the Law’s imperative

13 More Advantages of Inner Conviction or Moral Conscience Model Law is not imposed, it is embraced Embraced in response to our love relationship with God who is in covenant relationship with us We do NOT follow the law out of fear or blind obedience but in complete FREEDOM of choice to say yes to God

14 Conscience NOT SIMPLY the tool within us to determine if we hsould to the right thing and avoid the wrong or immoral thing IT DRIVES OUR ENTIRE APPROACH TO LIFE; it helps us discover God’s design for our lives; who we are, how we are to live and God’s ultimate will for our lives Is developed (or not) from childhood as we obey the rules of society; grows and develops as we learn that the rules are good for all people

15 Conscience Achieves its highest level when we act not because of some obligation to follow the law but because it is the right and moral thing to do We develop a good conscience over time by creating the habit of good behavior Habitual truth-telling = truthful person = ability to discern truthfulness and lack of it in specific lie situations Same can be said of all the virtues

16 Aristotle insisted that morality is judged by the judgment of a morally virtuous person not simply by a code of law or ethics.

17 Forming A Good Conscience Definition of Conscience: a judgment of reason by which the person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete action. God has placed a moral law in every human heart. That moral law is the human conscience, our ability to know what is right and what is wrong. Conscience helps us discern what we should do in a particular circumstance.

18 Forming Conscience, Cont. Conscience helps persons assume responsibility for their own actions. When a person chooses to engage in an evil act the conscience stands in constant judgment and witness of that act. Consciences challenges the person to turn away from evil and turn toward virtue. Moral choices are guided by conscience.

19 Conscience, cont. A good conscience adheres to reason and to what is willed by God’s wisdom It takes a lifetime to form one’s conscience Every Catholic is required to form his/her conscience according to the Church’s moral norms.

20 Tools Used to Form Conscience Prayer Study of Biblical principles: WWJD? Study of Biblical interpretation – not just our own understanding of it Moral counsel of other faithful Christians Authoritative teaching of the Church Gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, reverence, knowledge, right judgment, courage, wonder

21 Examination of Conscience Actions Motives for our actions Value of our actions Choices we intend to make, choices we have made

22 What constitutes a moral act? WHAT WE DO THE INTENTION – WHY WE DO THE ACT ACTUAL SITUATION OF THE ACT: Where? When? How? With whom? Consequences? SEE TRIPLE FONT THEORY

23 FURTHER... The ACT Is moral if it is by itself a good thing to do – a good action The ACTION is morally good if the action itself is a good action and if the person doing the act has a good intention. WE CAN NEVER TO SOMETHING WRONG OR EVIL IN ORDER TO BRING ABOUT SOME GOOD. WE CAN NEVER DO SOMETHING GOOD IF THE INTENTION FOR DOING IT IS EVIL.

24 EXERCISE

25 Conscience is the Highest Order We are to follow our conscience above all else. Human beings have the right to act in freedom according to their conscience. They may not be forced to act contrary to their conscience especially when it comes to religious issues. Importance that conscience is properly formed! Ignorance might make for a false judgment about the morality of an action.

26 Conscience May be wrong if we do little to inform it If we act blindly As the result of bad habits, we cannot see our own culpability in moral actions FAITH, PRAYER, WORD OF GOD enlightens our conscience

27 Conscience Is Not an Opinion We must always consider what the Scripture says, what the Church teaches, what we discern within us to be moral. ONLLY THEN, AFTER EXTENDED PROCESS, WOULD WE NOT ACT IN ACCORDANCE WITH CHURCH TEACHINGS.

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