Chapter 3: Morality in Law and Action - MTF

Chapter 3: Morality in Law and Action - MTF

Chapter 3: Morality in Law and Action OUR MORAL LIFE IN CHRIST 1. Types of Law (pp. 6670) ANTICIPATORY SET Discuss the passage from Alice in Wonderland: What would it be like to live in a society ruled by someone like the Queen of Hearts? What would happen to society if laws could be enacted or rescinded arbitrarily? What standard(s) should governments use for creating new laws? Why is it important for the punishment to fit the crime?

1. Types of Law (pp. 6670) BASIC QUESTIONS What is law? What are the four types of law? What are the three divisions of positive law? KEY IDEAS Law is an ordinance of reason that exists for the common good and is affirmed by legitimate authority through an official process There are four types of law: eternal law, natural law, positive law, and the New Law. There are three subdivisions of positive law: divine, ecclesiastical, and civil.

1. Types of Law (pp. 6670) What is the purpose of law? Law exists to secure civil harmony, the common good, the protection of rights, and the enjoyment of freedom in society. What is the purpose of human government according to the Declaration of Independence? It is to secure basic rights. How is the Declaration of Independence based on the idea of natural law? The Declaration says that people possess rights according to the Laws of Nature and Natures God. 1. Types of Law (pp. 6670)

What are unalienable rights, and why are they unalienable, according to the Declaration? Unalienable rights are rights that cannot be taken away. Some rights are unalienable because they are given to men by their Creator. What is the definition of law? Law is an ordinance of reason that exists for the common good and is affirmed by legitimate authority through an official process. What does it mean to say law is an ordinance of reason? It means law is not the arbitrary decision of someone in authority but the fruit of reasoned deliberation to address the needs of the human person and society. What does it mean to say the law exists for the common good? It means laws are enacted to preserve and promote the common good by regulating in fairness how people interact with one another

and with the greater community. 1. Types of Law (pp. 6670) What does it mean to say law is made by legitimate authority? It means the lawgivers must have received their power to enact laws in some just way. What does it mean to say laws must be legislated in an official manner? It means the making of laws must follow an established protocol to ensure that those laws are officially legislated and published. What is the ultimate source of legitimate authority? God is its source, who permits some to exercise

authority over others. 1. Types of Law (pp. 6670) GUIDED EXERCISE Discuss the following questions about law (from What is Law?): What are some examples of laws that violate any of the four conditions of a true law? What does this tell you about the difference between true law and actual human laws? 1. Types of Law (pp. 6670) What are the four types of law? Eternal law, natural law, positive law, and the New Law. What is eternal law?

It is the plan of divine wisdom as directing all acts and movements. What is natural law? It is the rational creatures participation in the eternal law. Or more simply, it is the eternal law as it applies to human life. 1. Types of Law (pp. 6670) What is positive law? A positive law is any law that legitimate authority formulates for the express purpose of governing. Any law that is formally established for a society or institution is a positive law. What does it mean to say that the natural law is written within the human heart?

It means that deep down in each person there is an innate sense of moral order, an awareness of right and wrong. 1. Types of Law (pp. 6670) GUIDED EXERCISE Conduct a focused reading of the paragraph that begins St. Thomas statement... (p. 68) using the following question: What did Plato and Aristotle speculate about the order they observed in the universe? GUIDED EXERCISE Have a class discussion on what the text means by the term intelligent design.

1. Types of Law (pp. 6670) Why does a justice system imply the existence of a standard of morality? Justice has to do with what one owes to another. It is good to give what you owe and receive what is owed to you. This is a standard of morality. Why do people tend to have no problem with the idea of physical and biological laws but deny the idea of objective moral laws? The operation of physical and biological laws can be demonstrated scientifically. While the existence of objective moral law can be demonstrated by reason, some choose to ignore or reject it because they feel it infringes on their freedom. Where are the clearest and greatest revelations of the will of God the Father for human actions found?

In the teachings of Jesus Christ. 1. Types of Law (pp. 6670) CLOSURE Write a concise paragraph explaining the four types of law, including the three subdivisions of positive law with an example of each. 1. Types of Law (pp. 6670) HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT Study Questions 18 (p. 83) Practical Exercises 13 (p. 85) Workbook Questions 112 Read Just Civil Law through Conflicts between Conscience and Civil Law (pp. 7072)

1. Types of Law (pp. 6670) ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT Work with a partner to identify each of the following as an example of divine positive law, ecclesiastical positive law, civil positive law, or New Law: Pray for your enemies. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Give without expecting repayment. Income tax laws and regulations. Fast one hour before receiving Holy Communion. Register for the draft on your eighteenth birthday. 1. Types of Law (pp. 6670)

ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT (Continued) Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. Speed limits. Alcohol may not be consumed by anyone under twentyone years of age. Honor your father and your mother. Forgive others if we expect forgiveness for ourselves. Protect the rights of the widow, the orphan, and the alien. Regulations regarding the Sacrament of Matrimony (age, proper minister, etc.). Love God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves. Priests remain celibate (i.e., unmarried) for the sake

of the kingdom of God. 2. Conscience and Just Law (pp. 7072) ANTICIPATORY SET Discuss the idea of just and unjust laws: In the United States, courts have legalized abortion without the people ever having a vote. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, are these laws just? Why or why not? If there were a nationwide referendum on these two issues, and a majority of people voted in favor of abortion and marriages between two people of the same sex, would these laws be just or unjust?

2. Conscience and Just Law (pp. 7072) BASIC QUESTIONS What must every civil law reflect? What are the requirements for a civil law to be just? Why should there be no conflicts between conscience and civil law? Why are there? KEY IDEAS To be just or valid, every civil law must reflect some aspect of the natural law articulated by the Ten Commandments. A just civil law must promote the common good, reflect equality of proportion, and be in agreement with the Divine Law.

Ideally, there would be no conflict between a wellformed conscience and just civil laws since both are rooted in the Divine Law. A conflict, however, does exist between conscience and civil law when a civil law is unjust. 2. Conscience and Just Law (pp. 7072) What are the conditions for a law to be just? It must promote the common good, reflect equality of proportion, and fall within the scope of the divine law. What is the common good? The common good is that which shows respect for and promotion of the fundamental rights of each person; prosperity, or the development of the spiritual and

temporal goods of society; and the peace and security of the group and of its members. 2. Conscience and Just Law (pp. 7072) What is equality of proportion? This means the burden of the laws fulfillment must be shared by all members of societynot just by somewhile taking into consideration the capacities and limitations of the individual members of society. What does it mean that every just law derives its authority from God? Because all authority is ultimately derived from God, every law must transmit, at least in small part, what God has eternally established.

How do ecclesiastical laws derive their authority from God? They express and apply in legal terms some aspect of Catholic Tradition originating with Christ himself. 2. Conscience and Just Law (pp. 7072) GUIDED EXERCISE In the sixteenth century, St. Thomas More was convicted of treason and executed for refusing to take an oath that declared King Henry VIII to be the head of the Church of England. A think / pair / share on the following question: What are some realistic situations in todays society in which living as a witness of Christ could

cause a person to suffer? 2. Conscience and Just Law (pp. 7072) CLOSURE Write a paragraph explaining the range of options available to a Catholic with a wellformed conscience in response to unjust laws. 2. Conscience and Just Law (pp. 7072) HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT Study Questions 916 (pp. 83) Practical Exercises 46 (p. 85) Workbook Questions 1319

Read Analysis of the Human Act through The Principle of Double Effect (pp. 7276) 2. Conscience and Just Law (pp. 7072) ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT Discuss the following question: We are forbidden to obey unjust laws. What can we do about unjust laws that we ourselves are not breaking but other people are using to do legallysanctioned evil? 3. The Human Act (pp. 7276) ANTICIPATORY SET Discuss:

What is the difference between a man robbing a bank because he does not want to work and one who steals food to feed starving children? What is the difference between an abortionist and a soldier? 3. The Human Act (pp. 7276) BASIC QUESTIONS What does a moral action do to the human person? What is the importance of the object, intention, and circumstance in analyzing the human act? What is the purpose of the principle of double effect? KEY IDEAS Every moral action changes a person for better or worse. The object determines the objective morality of the action.

Intention can make an act better or worse, but it can never make an evil act good. Circumstance can also make an act better or worse, but it can never make evil good. Some actions may have good objects, right intention, and good circumstances but bring about bad effects. The principle of double effect can be used to choose such an action. 3. The Human Act (pp. 7276) Why is it usually best to correct people in private? Correcting a person in public can humiliate him or her, which makes our act of correction wrong. Extension: In addition, humiliating people usually makes them reject what we say, making the correction ineffective. Why will the act itself exhibit goodness or evil?

Every act tends either to comply with the Ten Commandments or violate them. What can the wrong intention do to a good act? It can take away some or all of its goodness. What do circumstances do to the morality of an act? Circumstances can make a good act evil or lessen the gravity of an evil act, but no circumstances make a wrong action 3. The Human Act (pp. 7276) What is the principle of double effect? When a desired good action is foreseen to have good and evil effects, the action may be morally licit under certain circumstances. Why can an abortion never come under the principle of double effect?

Abortion is the direct killing of an innocent person and is intrinsically evil. Therefore, it does not fulfill the first requirement, which is that the action to be performed must be good in itself. 3. The Human Act (pp. 7276) How does amputation to stop the spread of cancer fulfill the requirement that the agent must have a right intention? The surgeon intends to restore health to the patient, not mutilate him or her. What does it mean that the good action must be the means of the good effect? It means that the good you desire must be brought about by a good action, not a bad one. For example,

in a war you cannot directly kill innocent civilians to bring about the end of the war more quickly. 3. The Human Act (pp. 7276) GRAPHIC ORGANIZER Complete the following tables to summarize your knowledge of the effect of intention and circumstance on the morality of

an act. Object Good Object The Effect of Intention on the Morality of an Act Good Intention Example Bad Intention Example Bad Object Object

Good Object Bad Object The Effect of Circumstance on the Morality of an Act Good Example Bad Circumstance Circumstance Example 3. The Human Act (pp. 7276)

Object Good Object Bad Object Object The Effect of Intention on the Morality of an Act Good Intention Example Bad Intention The act remains good. I go to Mass in

order to please God. The act becomes bad. The intention might lessen the evil of the act, which remains evil. I lie out of loyalty to my best friend.

The act remains bad. The Effect of Circumstance on the Morality of an Act Good Example Bad Circumstance Circumstance Good Object The act remains good (or becomes even better).

I go to Mass on a weekday in order to please God. The act becomes bad. Bad Object Could lessen the evil of the act, which remains evil.

I lie out of fear of punishment. The act remains bad (or becomes even worse). Example I go to Mass to steal money from the collection plate. I kill my enemy out of hatred.

Example I learn that rich old ladies go to a particular daily Mass, so I go to that one to steal their purses. I kill my enemy in front of his wife and children. 3. The Human Act (pp. 7276) GUIDED EXERCISE Discuss the account of the Fall of Adam and Eve. Why did Adam and Eve hide themselves in the

garden, according to Adam? What made Adam realize his nakedness according to God? Did Adam take responsibility for disobeying Gods commandment? Did Eve take responsibility for disobeying Gods command? What will be the relationship between the serpent and the woman and their descendants? What will the consequences be for the woman? What will be the consequences for Adam? 3. The Human Act (pp. 7276) GUIDED EXERCISE Work with a partner to identify (1) the four

conditions of the legitimate use of the principle of double effect from the Supplement Principle of Double Effect in Action and (2) how the conditions apply to the case studied. GUIDED EXERCISE A think / pair / share on the following question: What are some good intentions a member of the Mafia could have for carrying out acts of bribery, extortion, illegal gambling, selling drugs, or murder? 3. The Human Act (pp. 7276) CLOSURE Write a paragraph on what this lesson has taught you about object, intention, and circumstance.

3. The Human Act (pp. 7276) HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT Study Questions 1729 (pp. 83 84) Practical Exercises 711 (p. 85) Workbook Questions 2029 Read Errors in Moral Theology through Conclusion (pp. 7678) 3. The Human Act (pp. 7276) ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT Free write for five minutes applying the statement, Every moral action changes the actor for better or worse, to Adam and Eve.

4. Errors in Moral Theology (pp. 7678) ANTICIPATORY SET Opening Prayer on Matthew 19:1623. Reflect in writing on the following questions: What does the young mans fundamental orientation toward life seem to be? To what extent is he divided between two or more basic orientations? 4. Errors in Moral Theology (pp. 7678) BASIC QUESTIONS What is the error of situation ethics? What is consequentialism?

What is proportionalism? What is the fundamental option theory? KEY IDEAS In evaluating the goodness or evil of moral acts, situation ethics bases itself on the unique, concrete circumstances prevailing but leaves out the universal moral law, thereby permitting intrinsically evil acts. Consequentialism is a false ethical system that determines the goodness or evil of an action from its effect, or result. Proportionalism is a false ethical system that deduces the moral value of an act from the proportion between the actions good and evil effects. The fundamental option, in the traditional sense, is the free and responsible choice a person makes to orient, in a radical manner, his or her whole existence in a moral direction toward good or evil, God or self. To some contemporary theologians, however, the fundamental option is

a way to deny the traditional doctrine of mortal sin by making the only grave sin a bad fundamental option. 4. Errors in Moral Theology (pp. 7678) What is the basic position of situation ethics? The goodness or evil of an action is determined by the particular circumstances of the individual who acts. How is cohabitation justified by situation ethics? If the financial situation of a man and woman make it advantageous for them to live together without marrying or if they intend to marry someday and feel they need to get to know each other better, the adherents of situation ethics claim these reasons could justify the couple living together. What is the problem with situation ethics according

to Pope Pius XII? This position leaves out the necessity of judging the object of the act according to the universal moral law. 4. Errors in Moral Theology (pp. 7678) GUIDED EXERCISE A think / pair / share on the following questions: What is the truth at the heart of the error of situation ethics according to Pope Pius XII? What is the answer to the objection of situation ethics to a universal moral law? 4. Errors in Moral Theology (pp. 7678)

What is moral relativism? Moral relativism claims that moral standards are determined by personal dispositions and circumstances, not by the natural law. What is the result of moral relativism? Each individual determines what he or she feels is right. How does moral relativism strike at the heart of the Churchs teachings on morality? The Church teaches that, if an action does not reflect the objective and unchanging moral law, then no subjective disposition can justify the act. Moral relativism claims that subjective dispositions can outweigh the moral law, if the law is consulted at all. 4. Errors in Moral Theology (pp.

7678) GUIDED EXERCISE A think / pair / share on the following question: What are the two flaws in consequentialism? 4. Errors in Moral Theology (pp. 7678) What is the traditional and legitimate sense of the term fundamental option? It is the basic orientation of a persons life in relation to God, either toward obedience and fidelity or toward selfishness and disobedience. What do current users of the fundamental option claim about mortal sin? They say mortal sin only consists of a direct and formal

refusal to respond to the call of God. Basically, it is a rejection of the fundamental option for God, as they define it. What is wrong with the fundamental option view of mortal sin? It denies that virtually all gravely disordered acts could be a mortal sin. 4. Errors in Moral Theology (pp. 7678) What makes actions good or evil to consequentialists? If a good outcome is achieved, the action is good. If an evil outcome is achieved, then the act is evil. How does consequentialism relate to the idea that the end justifies the means?

Both ideas assert that a good outcome makes the action right. 4. Errors in Moral Theology (pp. 7678) How do consequentialists and proportionalists differ on how they justify abortion? A consequentialist might justify abortion on the basis that good will come of it. The proportionalist might say that the good results of an abortion exceed the evil that comes from it. Why do some proportionalists say the state should allow abortion and euthanasia? They say the state should respect the assertion that only a person present and personally involved in a

concrete situation can correctly judge the good and evil effects at stake, even in the cases of abortion and euthanasia. 4. Errors in Moral Theology (pp. 7678) CLOSURE Write a paragraph defining and explaining what is wrong with situation ethics. 4. Errors in Moral Theology (pp. 7678) HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT Study Questions 3036 (p. 84) Practical Exercise 12 (p. 85)

Workbook Questions 3034 4. Errors in Moral Theology (pp. 7678) ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT Have the students work with a partner to discuss the following scenario: A man walks into an auto parts store to return a carburetor that he could not get to work properly, becomes angry with the manager who will not give him a refund, goes to his car, loads his handgun, returns to the store, and kills the manager. What would a proponent of the contemporary error of the fundamental option ask the man in order to determine if he had committed a mortal sin?

The End

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