ELM 402 Class 6

ELM 402
Class 6
February 25
CCC 1691-1845
What we will do today
Discuss papers
Review last week
Introduce this week’s material
The human person
Moral acts
The Cardinal Virtues
The Theological Virtues
• Who wrote on what?
• Choose a period (Gospel sources, Fathers,
Classical, Modern, Post-conciliar) of the history of
moral theology and describe its characteristic
• Choose one of the following pairs
(freedom/happiness, The Holy Spirit/New Law,
Natural Law/Freedom) and expound on the
relationship between them.
• What was your argument?
Review: Freedom and Happiness
Know the difference between
Freedom of indifference- obligation
Freedom for excellence- happiness
The good and happiness
The importance of joy
Review: The Holy Spirit and the New
• Primarily interior, although it has a written
• The importance of love for life in the Spirit
• Why is an interior law better than an exterior
• The importance of ecclesial structure
Review: The Natural Law and Freedom
• Interior versus exterior
• Law has a condition for freedom or limitation
of freedom
• 1. Yearning for good
• 2. Inclination to preserve one’s being
• 3. The power to transmit life through sexuality
• 4. Desire to know truth
• 5. Man as a social animal
Prologue: 1691-1698
• “Christian recognize your dignity…” St. Leo
• God’s work: creation, redemption,
sanctification—participants in the divine
• Perfection is the goal of Christian existence,
this is a call that we receive in baptism.
• Not just justification, but also sanctification
• The two ways of the Didache
Prologue (cont.)
• Catechesis: greater elaboration on this new
way of life
• Of the Holy Spirit (the master of the interior
• Of Grace: which enables us to become
participants in the divine nature
• Of the beatitudes
• Of sin and forgiveness
Prologue (cont.)
A catechesis of
Christian virtues
The twofold commandment of charity
That is ecclesial
For the Christian, his life ought to be Christ
The dignity of the Human Person, The
Image of God (1699-1709)
• Christ is the perfect man and image of God (cf.
Gn. 1:26)
• Image and likeness
• The immortality of the soul
• Divine image: reason and free will
• Everyone is bound to follow conscience.
• The fallen nature of man
• Grace restores what sin wounds.
• Divine filiation
Our Vocation to Beatitude (1716-1724)
• The beatitudes are paradoxical promises that form the
heart of Jesus’ teaching.
• The articulation of the Christian moral life starts with
• Our ultimate happiness lies in God and receiving all
good things as gifts from Him.
• Ways of describing beatitude: kingdom, joy, seeing,
• There is also divinization or theosis, it is supernatural.
• God alone will make us happy.
Man’s Freedom (1730-1742)
• Man has free will (Luther and Calvin are
• Free will reaches its perfection in God.
• One chooses between good and evil, between
slavery to sin and greater freedom.
• Imputability or culpability
• Negligence does not excuse.
Man’s Freedom (cont.)
• A bad effect is not imputable if it is not willed
as an end or a means.
• The reality of human failure in the use of
• Sin threatens freedom, not just of the sinner,
but of others.
• Grace does not oppose authentic freedom but
liberates it.
The Morality of Human Acts (17491757)
• The morality of an act depends on the
• Object: the exterior good toward which the will
freely directs itself.
• The end in view or intention: the subjective
goal(s) of an action
• NB: The end does not justify the means; a good
intention cannot make an evil act good, indeed a
bad intention can make a good act evil.
• The circumstances are secondary aspects of the
moral act that can mitigate culpability.
Morality of Human acts (cont.)
• A morally good act has a good object,
intention (end) and circumstances.
• Evaluating morality on the basis of intention
or circumstances is mistaken.
• There is such a thing as objective moral evils.
The Morality of the Passions (17621770)
Feelings or passions or movements
They are natural and good.
“To love is to will the good of another.”
If we love evil things, our passions are evil.
Our passions should be governed/regulated by
• Habitual good ordering of a passion is a virtue
• Habitual bad ordering of a passion is a vice.
• Spirituality should help us direct the passions.
Moral Conscience (1776-1794)
• Gaudium et Spes, conscience as inviolable, the
inner sanctuary.
• Conscience enjoins an obligation to do good and
avoid evil. It is a witness not a creator.
• “Conscience is the aboriginal vicar or Christ.”
• We need self-knowledge and interiority to have a
conscience that functions well.
• Synderesis- the natural capacity or disposition
(habitus) of the practical reason to apprehend
intuitively the universal first principles of human
Moral conscience (cont.)
• Prudence and final ends are also important.
• Conscience makes a person responsible for his
• Conscience must be formed.
• Through bad experience synderesis may start
to function wrongly.
• The Word of God and the teaching of the
Church should be guides in forming our
Moral conscience (cont.)
• There are difficult cases in conscience wherein
experience is difficult to interpret.
• Some rules:
• One may never do evil that good may come of
• The golden rule
• Charity respects the neighbor’s conscience.
Moral Conscience (cont.)
• We are obliged to obey the certain judgment of
• Ignorance can be blameworthy.
• There are other sources of error in moral
• Invincible ignorance excuses.
• We should always seek to good in rectitude of
• Sinful living dulls the conscience.
The Virtues: Human Virtues (18031811)
• Virtue: an habitual and firm disposition to do
the good.
• Human virtues are the fruit of moral effort
• Cardinal virtues (Wisdom 8:7)
• Prudence: “disposition of practical reason to
discern our true good in every circumstance
and to choose the right means of attaining it.”
• Right reason in action
Human virtues (cont.)
• Justice: “the constant and firm will to give their
due to God and neighbor.”
• Justice to God: virtue of religion
• Fortitude: “ensures firmness in difficulties and
constancy in the pursuit of the good.”
• Temperance: “moderates the attraction of
pleasures and provides balance in the use of
created goods.”
• Sobriety in the New Testament
• Grace also plays a role in human virtues.
The Virtues, Theological Virtues (18121829)
• Theological virtues adapt man’s faculties for the
participation in the divine nature.
• These become ways of acting that nest
themselves in a Christian’s human nature.
• Faith refers to belief in God and belief in all that
he has said and reveals to us directly and through
His Holy Church because he is truth itself.
• Credo in Deum versus Credo Deum
• Faith is not private not simply notional.
• Newman: real vs. notional faith.
Theological virtues (cont.)
• Hope: “virtue by which we desire God and
heaven as our happiness, placing our trust in
divine grace.”
• Relates to our aspiration for happiness and
our tendency to discouragement
• The beatitudes relate to hope. In this sense,
they are paradoxical.
• Hope relates to vigilance and final
Theological virtues (cont.)
• Charity/Love: Virtue by which we love God
above all things for His own sake, and our
neighbor as ourselves.
• Agape, stroge, philia, eros
• Agape (gift love)
• Stroge (familial/familiar love)
• Philia (brotherly love)
• Eros (erotic/sexual love)
Theological virtues (cont.)
• Love as the new commandment (Jn. 13:34)
• Love to the end…
• Love is our motivation to keep the
• Love reconciles us to God while we were yet
• “So faith, hope, charity abide, these three.
But the greatest of these is charity.”
Theological virtues (cont.)
Why charity and not love?
Love casts out all fear.
Servile fear versus filial fear.
Fruits of charity: joy, peace and mercy
Charity also involves fraternal correction
Theological virtues (cont.)
• Gifts of the spirit:
• Wisdom (Love) to esteem spiritual things
• Understanding (Faith) to know the content
• Counsel (Prudence)
• Fortitude (Fortitude)
• Knowledge (Faith) to make a decision to believe
• Piety (Justice)
• Fear of the Lord
Theological virtues (cont.)
Fruits of the spirit:
Charity, joy, peace
patience, kindness, goodness
generosity, gentleness, faithfulness
modesty, self-control, chastity
Review: Prologue and Dignity of
Human Person
• Christian dignity = holiness
• Unfolding how to live in the Holy Spirit in
• Our most high calling.
• Image and likeness
• Reason and free will
• Sin and grace
Review: Vocation and Freedom
Beatitudes and happiness
Supernatural vocation
Free will
True freedom and slavery
Imputability and ignorance
Graces frees us (synergy)
Review: Morality of Acts and Passions
• Anatomy of the moral act: Object, end,
• The end never justifies the means.
• In a good act, all three are good.
• Passions (emotions) are neutral
• Vice and virtue
• Love is willing the good of the other as other.
Review: Conscience
Aboriginal vicar of Christ
Formation of Conscience
Deformation of conscience
Invincible ignorance
Review: Human Virutes
Habitual and firm disposition to do the good
Review: Theological Virtues
Gifts: Charity (wisdom), Faith (knowledge and
understanding), Prudence (counsel), Fortitude
(fortitude), Justice (piety)
• What about hope, fear of the Lord and
What we will do next week
CCC 1846-2052
Person and Society
Social Justice
Moral Law (Natural and Gospel)
Grace and Justification
Merit and Holiness
The Church