The Sun Beam Times continues its evaluation of Morality in the context of the Catholic Catechism with an evaluation of government actions that are immoral. The Catholic Church is the oldest Christian Church in the world and has annunciated a moral ethic for over two thousand years. The most recent description of that ethic is found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church which was updated by a historic hero, His Holiness PopeJohn Paul II. Pope John Paul II lived under the influence of Nazi Germany and later Soviet Russia. He saw firsthand how governments claiming to serve the “common good” actually were grossly immoral and cultivated that immorality in their citizens. He fought against it and helped bring down the Soviet Union and help other survive with their lives and souls intact after invaded by Nazis. While the examples of immoral behavior by modern American Governments are not as widespread or profound as they were under the full expression of the Nazi and Soviet Empires, they are still present. Our society is set to become as immoral and as dangerous to individuals as those regimes if we do not recognize the immoral behavior of modern American governments and reverse them using the power we have as free and peaceful citizens.
Morality Catechism Study Saturday, 5/26, 10-12 a.m., 431 Southwest BLVD N, St. Petersburg, Fl. At the offices of Dr. David McKalip, M.D. on the SW corner of 4th St. N and 62nd Ave. N.
PAUL KRUGMAN states that the solution to high Medicare costs is a combination of “Death Panels” and tax increases. This is an example of an immoral government action that is happening now in America.
Morality in the Catechism Has Lessons for All Beleivers and Non-Beleivers.
The full section on “Moral Action” from the Catholic Catechism is quoted below. Note that this section is best understood in the context of the full Catechism and the Magesterium of the Church. For instance, this part of the Catechism (Part III: “Life in Christ”) begins by annunciating the individual dignity of man as he is created in God’s image.
“THE DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON 1700 The dignity of the human person is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God (article 1); it is fulfilled in his vocation to divine beatitude (article 2). It is essential to a human being freely to direct himself to this fulfillment (article 3). By his deliberate actions (article 4), the human person does, or does not, conform to the good promised by God and attested by moral conscience (article 5). Human beings make their own contribution to their interior growth; they make their whole sentient and spiritual lives into means of this growth (article 6). With the help of grace they grow in virtue (article 7), avoid sin, and if they sin they entrust themselves as did the prodigal son1 to the mercy of our Father in heaven (article 8). In this way they attain to the perfection of charity.”
The Catechism instructs: “A morally good act requires the goodness of the object, of the end, and of the circumstances together. An evil end corrupts the action, even if the object is good in itself (such as praying and fasting “in order to be seen by men”).(1755)” It further instructs: “It is therefore an error to judge the morality of human acts by considering only the intention that inspires them or the circumstances (environment, social pressure, duress or emergency, etc.) which supply their context. (1756)”
Thus no act can be moral if the object is evil (e.g. to merely collect money for money’s sake), the circumstances are evil (e.g. to steal from another), and the true intention is not the stated intention (e.g. to pass a law to enrich or empower oneself instead of to actually serve the common good).
While this author certainly would encourage readers to consider joining the Catholic Church, one need NOT be Catholic to see the value of this moral code annunciated in the Catechism. (The author acknowledges many past immoral violations within the Catholic Church through history such as the sex scandals and the inquisition. However, those were sins of man separating themselves from God’s call for Moral action and merely further emphasize the true teachings of Church spelled out in the modern Catechism shepharded by Pope John Paull II).
Let’s examine some recent Federal actions to determine if the acts of our governments are moral. Local government actions will be evaluated another day.
Religious Liberty Violation. The Obama administration has unilaterally decided, outside the bounds of the U.S. Constitution and only through the power of unelected bureaucrats, that it will force catholic institutions to buy birth control and abortion pills for its employees. The stated intention was to serve “women’s health” by providing them the object of “free” contraception and abortion pills. The stated circumstances are a mandate within the recently passed “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (PPACA) which empowers them to do so. These circumstances impose upon the moral conscience of the catholic institution and seek to force them to violate their own moral conscience. While the Obama administration likely claims it is creating “social justice” of “free women’s health care” to serve the “Common good”, it cannot do so by morally licit means of violating the religious liberty protected by the U.S. Constitution, and more importantly granted as a natural right to man by God. Many Catholic institutions therefore are suing the Obama administration to stop this morally licit and unconstitutional action.
Execution of American without due process. The Obama administration recently assassinated by aerial drone strike Anwar Al-Awaki, an American Citizen living in Yemen and accidentally killed his son in another strike on other Al-Qaeda agents, also an American citizen . The citizen, though allegedly a heinous man inspiring terrorist attacks, was an American Citizen and entitled to constitutionally protected hearing in an American Court. The same Seal teams that were able to attack Bin Laden, could have been dispatched to arrest Al-Awaki and bring him to justice. That is what our military and police do, apprehend alleged offenders in dangerous situations, under a court warrant, and bring them to justice. This phenomenon is escalating as the Obama administration has signed the “National Defense Authorization Act” (NDAA) that will allow the President or his agents to simply SAY someone is a terrorist, with no proof before a court required, and have that person detained or killed on the spot. Such is the way in which tyrannies and dictatorships are created. The stated intention is to protect Americans, the Circumstances are to use unconstitutional government power to carry out the object execution of an American without due process. Just a few days ago a New York Federal Court struck down portions of the NDAA law, but the court battle will be long to gain full justice for Americans.
Rationing in ObamaCare . PPACA (Obamacare) passed with a narrow vote in a purely partisan fashion and bipartisan opposition in March 2010. Among the laws many immoral acts, it also creates rationing panels through the “Independent Payment Advisory Board” (IPAB and sets up doctors to be rationing agents for the state to protect their own income and livelihood. IPAB will set artificial price ceilings on patient care and deny payment for care that Medicare “can’t afford”. It will have nothing to do with truly unnecessary care, and everything to do with rationing. As Paul Krugman said, we will need “death panels”. Doctors themselves will be paid more if they provide less care to patients. Clearly the intention to provide more access to care for all Americans is not enough to overcome the object of rationing and doctors acting as rationing agents through the circumstances of the unconstitutional and immoral PPACA mechanisms.
CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
LIFE IN CHRIST
MAN’S VOCATION LIFE IN THE SPIRIT
THE DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON
THE MORALITY OF HUMAN ACTS
1749 Freedom makes man a moral subject. When he acts deliberately, man is, so to speak, the father of his acts. Human acts, that is, acts that are freely chosen in consequence of a judgment of conscience, can be morally evaluated. They are either good or evil.
– the object chosen;
– the end in view or the intention;
– the circumstances of the action.
The object, the intention, and the circumstances make up the “sources,” or constitutive elements, of the morality of human acts.
1751 The object chosen is a good toward which the will deliberately directs itself. It is the matter of a human act. The object chosen morally specifies the act of the will, insofar as reason recognizes and judges it to be or not to be in conformity with the true good. Objective norms of morality express the rational order of good and evil, attested to by conscience.
1752 In contrast to the object, the intention resides in the acting subject. Because it lies at the voluntary source of an action and determines it by its end, intention is an element essential to the moral evaluation of an action. The end is the first goal of the intention and indicates the purpose pursued in the action. The intention is a movement of the will toward the end: it is concerned with the goal of the activity. It aims at the good anticipated from the action undertaken. Intention is not limited to directing individual actions, but can guide several actions toward one and the same purpose; it can orient one’s whole life toward its ultimate end. For example, a service done with the end of helping one’s neighbor can at the same time be inspired by the love of God as the ultimate end of all our actions. One and the same action can also be inspired by several intentions, such as performing a service in order to obtain a favor or to boast about it.
1753 A good intention (for example, that of helping one’s neighbor) does not make behavior that is intrinsically disordered, such as lying and calumny, good or just. The end does not justify the means. Thus the condemnation of an innocent person cannot be justified as a legitimate means of saving the nation. On the other hand, an added bad intention (such as vainglory) makes an act evil that, in and of itself, can be good (such as almsgiving).39
1754 The circumstances, including the consequences, are secondary elements of a moral act. They contribute to increasing or diminishing the moral goodness or evil of human acts (for example, the amount of a theft). They can also diminish or increase the agent’s responsibility (such as acting out of a fear of death). Circumstances of themselves cannot change the moral quality of acts themselves; they can make neither good nor right an action that is in itself evil.
1755 A morally good act requires the goodness of the object, of the end, and of the circumstances together. An evil end corrupts the action, even if the object is good in itself (such as praying and fasting “in order to be seen by men”).
The object of the choice can by itself vitiate an act in its entirety. There are some concrete acts – such as fornication – that it is always wrong to choose, because choosing them entails a disorder of the will, that is, a moral evil.
1756 It is therefore an error to judge the morality of human acts by considering only the intention that inspires them or the circumstances (environment, social pressure, duress or emergency, etc.) which supply their context. There are acts which, in and of themselves, independently of circumstances and intentions, are always gravely illicit by reason of their object; such as blasphemy and perjury, murder and adultery. One may not do evil so that good may result from it.
39 Cf. Mt 6:24.