Chapter 3: Morality in Law and Action

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Transcript Chapter 3: Morality in Law and Action

Chapter 3: Morality in Law and
Action
OUR MORAL LIFE IN CHRIST
1. Types of Law (pp. 66–70)
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rescinded arbitrarily?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. 66–70)
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. 66–70)
❏ 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 Nature’s God.”
1. Types of Law (pp. 66–70)
❏ 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. 66–70)
❏ 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. 66–70)
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. 66–70)
❏ 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 creature’s participation in the eternal law.” Or more simply,
it is the eternal law as it applies to human life.
1. Types of Law (pp. 66–70)
❏ 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. 66–70)
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. 66–70)
❏ 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. 66–70)
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. 66–70)
HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT
❏ Study Questions 1–8 (p. 83)
❏ Practical Exercises 1–3 (p. 85)
❏ Workbook Questions 1–12
❏ Read “Just Civil Law” through “Conflicts between Conscience
and Civil Law” (pp. 70–72)
1. Types of Law (pp. 66–70)
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. 66–70)
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 twenty-one 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. 70–72)
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 nation-wide 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. 70–72)
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 well-formed
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. 70–72)
❏ 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. 70–72)
❏ What is “equality of proportion”?
This means the burden of the law’s fulfillment must be shared by all members
of society—not just by some—while 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. 70–72)
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 today’s society in which
living as a witness of Christ could cause a person to suffer?
2. Conscience and Just Law (pp. 70–72)
CLOSURE
Write a paragraph explaining the range of options available to a
Catholic with a well-formed conscience in response to unjust laws.
2. Conscience and Just Law (pp. 70–72)
HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT
❏ Study Questions 9–16 (pp. 83)
❏ Practical Exercises 4–6 (p. 85)
❏ Workbook Questions 13–19
❏ Read “Analysis of the Human Act” through “The Principle of
Double Effect” (pp. 72–76)
2. Conscience and Just Law (pp. 70–72)
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 legally-sanctioned evil?
3. The Human Act (pp. 72–76)
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. 72–76)
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. 72–76)
❏ 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 right.
3. The Human Act (pp. 72–76)
❏ 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. 72–76)
❏ 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. 72–76)
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. 72–76)
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. 72–76)
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 God’s
commandment?
❏ Did Eve take responsibility for disobeying God’s 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. 72–76)
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. 72–76)
CLOSURE
Write a paragraph on what this lesson has taught you about
object, intention, and circumstance.
3. The Human Act (pp. 72–76)
HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT
❏ Study Questions 17–29 (pp. 83– 84)
❏ Practical Exercises 7–11 (p. 85)
❏ Workbook Questions 20–29
❏ Read “Errors in Moral Theology” through “Conclusion” (pp.
76–78)
3. The Human Act (pp. 72–76)
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. 76–78)
ANTICIPATORY SET
Opening Prayer on Matthew 19:16–23.
Reflect in writing on the following questions:
❏ What does the young man’s 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. 76–78)
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 action’s 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. 76–78)
❏ 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. 76–78)
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. 76–78)
❏ 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 Church’s
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. 76–78)
GUIDED EXERCISE
A think / pair / share on the following question:
❏ What are the two flaws in consequentialism?
4. Errors in Moral Theology (pp. 76–78)
❏ What is the traditional and legitimate sense of the term
fundamental option?
It is the basic orientation of a person’s 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. 76–78)
❏ 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. 76–78)
❏ 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. 76–78)
CLOSURE
Write a paragraph defining and explaining what is wrong with
situation ethics.
4. Errors in Moral Theology (pp. 76–78)
HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT
❏ Study Questions 30–36 (p. 84)
❏ Practical Exercise 12 (p. 85)
❏ Workbook Questions 30–34
4. Errors in Moral Theology (pp. 76–78)
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