Saturday, September 18, 2021

Was Oprah right?

Let's talk about morality and clear a few things up.

Do you find it confusing when trying to figure out if something you did, or want to do, is moral?  Especially if your goal or your intention is good?  Here is some great, clarifying information from the Catechism of the Catholic Church that goes a long way in simplifying the messes we create.

First, there are three elements, all of which must be in place to determine if an act is moral:

1)  What we are doing must be objectively good.  Some things we know are not good--murder, for instance.  Those things that are just wrong cannot be made right by our good intentions.

2)   Our intended goal must be good.  Now if a bad intention is our motivation and our end goal is good, then our action is not okay.  Likewise, if I intend to do good, but go about it by doing a bad act, I am still in deep water.

3)  Circumstances and consequences are the third element of the moral action.  These contribute to the "goodness" or "badness" of an act, so they are not THE most important way to determine the morality of an act.

The Catechism continues, pointing out that we often think the determination of the morality of an act is just a personal, or subjective, thing.  This is how we get to the idea that the morality of my action is determined by my opinion and that there is no such thing as an act being objectively right or wrong.

This leads to what we call relativism--whatever anyone thinks is okay, or as the Oprah Winfrey crowd likes to say, "It's my truth."  This is diametrically opposed to objective truth.  In reality, there is no such thing as "my truth," a "truth" that differs from person to person.  

The only truth Christians should be paying attention to is the objective truth, or the objective moral order, that comes from God.

If you are stuck in a moral dilemma, be sure to pray for discernment and seek the guidance of a priest or suitable spiritual advisor to help you sort it out.

Janet Cassidy

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