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Chapters 17 and 18
Come, let us worship the Lord, the King who is to come.
O God, take pity on us and bless us, and let your face shine upon us,
so that your ways may be known across the world, and all nations learn of your
Come, let us worship the Lord, the King who is to come.
Let the peoples praise you, O God, let all the peoples praise you.
Let the nations be glad and rejoice, for you judge the peoples with fairness and
you guide the nations of the earth.
Come, let us worship the Lord, the King who is to come.
Let the peoples praise you, O God, let all the peoples praise you.
The earth has produced its harvest: may God, our God, bless us.
May God bless us, may the whole world revere him
Come, let us worship the Lord, the King who is to come.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit…
Hearing God’s Voice
 What is Christian morality?
 Special kind of knowing of what ought to be done.
 The science of what humans ought to do by reason of
who they are
 Science  we are able to know right and wrong
 How? – human reason, human experience, and divine
 “by reason of who they are” – morality hinges on a
correct view of the human person as a child of God and
has dignity.
Morality As A Response
to God
 To be a moral person is to know how to be
 Catholic point of view  Morality is our response to
God. And we are able to do so because God gave us:
Intelligence and freedom with the help of His grace
Help of the Holy Spirit
Support of the Church
Help of the Magisterium
Help of Jesus Christ
Living A Moral Life
 To decide and act according to God’s plan; being
responsible and cooperating with God’s grace.
 When we choose good and God’s plan, it leads us to
happiness and our final destiny of union with God.
 Choosing “bad” things might lead to temporary
satisfaction, but it often leads to a lifetime of misery and
wasted talents.
 Living a moral life is living in the presence of God. It
strengthens our friendship with God, makes us people of
integrity, attracts other people to God, and helps bring
about God’s reign.
Character and Virtue
 Character is our “yes” or “no” to Christ’s invitation
to friendship.
 Everything we process – experiences, images, words
– help us create character.
 Virtues are healthy, good habits that help us do good
and empower us to become what God wants us to
 Catechism – the habit to do good.
 Two types: Theological and Cardinal Virtues
Cardinal Virtues
 From the Latin word, cardo, which means hinge.
 They are “natural virtues”; we gain these virtues
through education and repeated practice.
 Prudence – responsible decision making; being able to
select the right means of achieving good.
 Justice – giving God and neighbor what is due
 Fortitude – gives us the strength and courage to stand
firm with our own convictions and do the right and
moral thing; “spiritual guts”
 Temperance – virtue of moderation; regulates our
Humans Are made in the Divine
• Read Genesis 1:26-31
• The passage offers profound insights on
being human
1. God created humans out of love. We are
creatures, not creators.
2. Humans are the crown of God’s creation. He
commands us to care for creation.
3. God made us in His divine image
4. God made humans to be male and female. It’s not
an accident of nature.
5. All that God created is good.
God is the creator
• God’s greatness and goodness
can be seen in His gift of
• God is our creator and keeps us
in existence.
• When we forget about God, or
make ourselves gods, we wreak
havoc in creation.
• Starting point of morality 
admitting that we are creatures
Human’s Place In Creation
• Humans are called to be
stewards of God’s creation.
We fail in this responsibility
when we do not care for one
another and for the earth.
• Humans are created to know,
love, and serve God in this
life and in the next.
God makes us in his divine
• God created us in His divine image
– meaning, God has endowed us
with godlike qualities – to think,
choose, love, and relate to others.
• These qualities enable us to share in
God’s own life.
• Because we were created in God’s
image, we possess dignity, value,
and worth.
Creation is good
• Scripture tells us that creation and human
creation are good.
• The first humans were in harmony with God
– working with God was seen as a
collaboration, rather than toil.
• Humans were created for friendship with
God; even after we have sinned, God “gave
his only Son, so that everyone who believes in
him might not perish but have eternal life.”
(John 3:16)
• Human life have purpose and meaning
despite what nihilism claims – which denies
that there’s meaning or purpose in life.
Human dignity
• Dignity is inherent – it is not something earned -- by the
virtue that we were created in the divine image of God
and called to eternal life with Him.
• Our sinfulness and lack of talent, possession, or
productivity does not lessen our dignity. Our dignity
comes from a loving God who created us and sent His
Son to die for us.
• Jesus died on the Cross for every human person that
existed, exists, and will exist.
• Human dignity means everyone is someone, not
• Human beings is a composite of body and soul. The human
soul is immortal.
• The soul gives us the ability to think, have free-will, to love,
to respond, and to grow.
1. Ability to think – we can discover the truth; we can recognize
God’s voice which urges us to do good and avoid evil.
2. Free-will – ability to choose deliberately and take
responsibility for one’s actions; can help determine who we
3. Ability to love – choosing to do good for the sake of the other;
it is our most godlike quality.
4. Responsible beings –we are accountable for our choices and
can result in good or evil.
5. Capacity to grow –we can learn from our sins and mistakes
Making A Moral
 Making an informed decision is
about knowing the moral object
(what), intention or motive
(why), and the circumstances
(who, where, when, how).
Moral Object (What?)
 What – is what we’re going to do directed to a true good
or harmful or destructive to who I am and others as God’s
children? It’s the objective dimension of morality.
 The Ten Commandments and Scriptures can give us
an objective guideline.
 Some actions are always wrong no matter what –
murder of an innocent, direct abortion, adultery,
stealing, bearing false witness etc.
 Actions – what we do -- expresses who we are, who
we are going to be, and can impact others and the
world around us.
Intention or Motive
 Why – what is your purpose or
reason for doing something? It is the
subjective dimension of morality.
 To intend something is will
 Our legal system recognizes
intention (ex. 1st and 2nd degree
 It can include a series of actions
for the same purpose.
 Or one action can be motivated for
several reasons.
Two rules for governing
Keep the intention good.
 Bad intention can contaminate what appears to be good,
thereby making it wrong.
 Jesus insisted on good intentions for all of our actions (ex.
giving money to the temple, fasting)
The end does not justify the means.
 Good intentions do not make an act good if the means I use are
 Example – cheating to get good grades, lie to help someone get
a good job, medical experiments on non-consenting people to
find a cure.
 Violation of this act can lead a breakdown of society.
 Example – direct abortion is always morally evil even if one
intends good results.
Circumstances (Who,
When, Where, How?)
 Circumstances can increase or decrease the
goodness or evil of an action
 ex. stealing $1 from a poor person vs. a
millionaire – theft is still wrong, but not as
 Circumstances can diminish a person’s
responsibility for a particular action
 ex. someone who decides who have an
abortion vs. someone who was forced
 Circumstances sometimes can make no
difference in the morality of the case
 ex. stealing an iPod from a relative or a
stranger; yelling the word “fire” at a movie
 ex. cheating using a cheat sheet or copying
off someone
Alternatives and
 Looking at a moral problem involves looking at it
from different vantage points.
 Two rules:
 Do only those things that are morally acceptable
 Always prioritize persons as one created in the image
and likeness of God
 Our actions can impact others
 Let your formed conscience be your guide
 Our actions need to mean what they want them to
mean – “walk the walk”
 Consult others who are wiser and can help you make
a decision  “To know the road ahead, ask those
coming back.”
 Jesus instructed us to pray alone and with others,
and with childlike simplicity
 We pray for the strength to follow and accept God’s
 Learning to “let go and let God.”
Freedom and
 Humans have the capacity to think and
to choose.
 Humans have the capacity to love,
which enables us to seek God – who is
 To possess freedom means to be
responsible for our choices and actions,
either good or evil.
Characteristics of
 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.
Kinds of Freedom: External
and Internal
 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.
Limits of Freedom
 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.
Abuses Against
 There are limits to human freedom – physically, intellectually,
and emotionally.
 Impediments to freedom – these can limit our level of
Inordinate attachments
 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
 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.
Emotions and Morality
 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
Law and Morality
 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.
Four Types of Laws
 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
Natural Law
 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
Civil law
 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.
The Old Law
 Also known as the Law of Moses; it is
summarized in the 10
Commandments (Decalogue).
 Christians believe that it is holy,
good, and spiritual, but imperfect –
because it does not give us the
strength and grace of the Holy Spirit.
 It is meant to prepare the people for
conversion and faith in Jesus.
The New Law
 Divine Law has four purposes:
 It helps us stay on the right path
on the journey to God.
 It helps us discern what is right
and wrong.
 It gives us motivation.
 It indicates what is sinful and
 The Gospel of Jesus which perfects
divine and natural law – by helping
us have pure intentions, be sincere in
all our actions, to pray, and to
forgive our enemies.
Church Law
 Church Law is an application of Divine Law – to assist us in
living our moral life.
 Catholics are minimally required to meet the obligations of
the precepts of the Church:
Attend Mass on Sundays
Confess sins at least once a year
Receive Holy Communion at least once a year
Keep holy the holydays of obligation
Observe the required days of fasting and abstinence.
Provide for the material needs of the Church, according to
one’s ability.
The Beatitudes
 God created us to know, love, and serve him in this life
and in the next.
 It is the how of our Christian vocation.
Jesus As Our Moral
 To live moral Christian life when we “put on the Lord Jesus
Christ” (Rom. 13:14).
 He is our moral norm because He is God made-flesh (fully
human), and have become children of God through the
Paschal Mystery.
 Examples of Jesus:
 Healed and forgave people – even his enemies
 Outspoken in speaking the truth
 Welcomed and called all people to God’s kingdom – especially
those in the margins
 Prayerful and patient – even in betrayal
 Treated women and taught men to treat them with dignity and
 Sensitive to children, lonely, hurting, and rejects of society
Jesus’ Teaching
 The Gospel writers focused on
Jesus’ teaching about the Kingdom
of God – which is the reign of
God’s justice breaking into our
 For this to happen we must repent
– reform our hearts, minds, and
wills, and avoid sin. This is called
 Jesus’ recipe to live a good and
moral life is love:
“You shall love the Lord, your God, with
all your heart, with all your heart, with all
your being, with all your strength, and
with all your mind, and your neighbor as
yourself.” (Lk. 10:27)
 Love for Jesus is not a warm and fuzzy
 It can be difficult  loving our
enemies, feeding the hungry, giving
drink to the thirsty, welcoming a
stranger, clothing the naked, visiting the
sick and imprisoned.
 We are called to conform our lives to
 The Eucharist enables us to live Jesus’
teachings, proclaim it, and transforming
us as Jesus act in us.
The Beatitudes
 Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied
Blessed are the merciful, for they will show mercy
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children
of God
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of
righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Jesus is the fulfillment of
the Law
 Jesus fulfills the Law of Moses by
emphasizing its spirit and intent
rather than stressing a strict
interpretation of the “letter” of the
 External observance is not enough
 We should forgive even our
enemies because God has forgiven
 Jesus calls us to a higher standard
of behavior
 With God’s grace it is possible for
us to live up to God’s demands.
 Justification – the Holy Spirit’s grace that blots out our
sins through faith in Jesus Christ and baptism; it changes
the state of the soul from spiritual death to spiritual life;
it makes us right with God.
 Grace – a free and unearned favor from God, infused into
our souls at Baptism, that adopts us into God’s family and
helps us to live as his children.
 Also known as sanctifying grace – it makes us holy; the grace
of justification is an example.
 Other types of graces –
 Actual grace -- God’s direct intervention for our conversion
or to make us holy.
 Sacramental grace – specific graces that comes from the
 Charisms – special gifts of the Holy Sprit given to
individual Christians to build up the Church.
Merit and Holiness
 Our good works and efforts can lead us or “merit”
for us the ultimate happiness of union with God.
 Although God does not owe us anything – for he has
given us all we have and all we are…
 Nonetheless, God has freely chosen us to join him in
his work of grace. He decided that our “good works”
can count as our participation in His work.
 Merit is what is “what is owed to us” for living a holy
life and cooperating with God’s grace.
 Merit is only possible because of the love of Christ,
who died for us on the Cross
Definition of Conscience
 Good Conscience vs. Bad Conscience
 Payoff – we live a moral life, and a joyful life as well
 Conscience – a practical judgment of reason that
helps a person decide the goodness or sinfulness of
an action or attitude. It must be formed properly and
What Conscience is Not?
 Conscience as a majority opinion.
 Conscience as a feeling.
 Conscience as a superego – guilt based from
upbringing or psychological conditioning.
 Conscience as a gut-instinct.
 Conscience as a “Jimminy Cricket” or an internal
 Conscience as a myth or creation of religion
What Conscience is?
 An awareness of God’s call to be transformed in His
image and likeness.
 A call to know and do the good, a call to love.
 A practical judgment of intellect – do good, avoid
 It is personal in nature
 It is a search for truth and applying those truth to
daily living.
How Conscience
 We have acquired values and
attitudes. A good habit is a virtue,
and a bad habit is a vice
 If you cultivate a virtue, then you
will instinctively choose good.
 Conversely, a vice can make us
careless and haphazard.
Must I Always Follow My
 Yes – because through your
conscience God calls and
instructs you to be the person he
made you to be.
 When you ignore your
conscience , you are guilty of sin
and you condemn yourself.
Can my conscience ever
be wrong?
 This is why we need to form and inform our
conscience – by study and prayer.
 Failure to do so can lead to a serious error of
 That is why we cannot say: “I must always follow
my conscience, therefore I need to do whatever I
want to do.”
What factors contribute to
an erroneous conscience?
 Ignorance of Christ and His Gospel
 Bad example of other people
 Being enslave by our passions
 Being stubborn and holding on to the idea that our
conscience is always right.
 Rejecting Church authority and teachings on matters
of morality
 Lack of repentance
 Lack of love
 To do what is right requires courage or fortitude – firmness in
difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of good.
 Fortitude can moderate fears and false sense of bravery;
prompts us to do God’s work, but also to be patient in our
suffering in doing what is right.
 Readiness to ready or to suffer and even die for what is right
has often led many to be martyrs.
 Self-denial, prayer, and helping others can help us to be more
spiritually courageous and have a moral backbone.
 Ways to resist negative pressure: resolve to be your own
person, know your standards, use humor to say no, stay away
from tempting situations, and remember the power of prayer.