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  #1  
Old 29th November 2009, 02:22 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Default the moral object (second font)

There are three fonts (sources) of morality. Every knowingly chosen act of human persons is either moral or immoral based on these three sources of morality:

[1] the intention, or end, or purpose, or motive, of the person
[2] the moral object, or object, or species, or nature, of the act itself
[3] the circumstances, or consequences, of the intentionally chosen act

The moral object is perhaps the most difficult of the fonts to understand.

Every knowingly chosen act has an inherent moral nature, independent of intention and circumstance, and that nature is determined by the moral object, which is the end toward which the act itself is inherently ordered. The moral nature of an act is not defined by the attainment of that end, but by the inherent ordering of the act toward that end, its moral object. An act has a particular moral object because that act, by its very nature, is directed toward that moral object; this inherent ordering constitutes the moral meaning (or moral nature, or moral 'species') of the act. The knowingly chosen acts of human persons are never without a moral meaning before God, who is the eternal moral law. The moral object determines the moral meaning of the act before the eyes of God. Therefore, all knowingly chosen acts must have a moral object. Each and every good moral object is capable of being ordered toward God as our final end. Each and every evil moral object is incapable of being ordered toward God as our final end.

Any act with an evil moral object is intrinsically evil, because all knowingly chosen acts are intrinsically ordered toward their moral object. Intrinsically evil acts are always immoral, regardless of intention or circumstances (i.e. regardless of the other two fonts). Whenever any one font is immoral, the other two fonts can never cause the act to become moral.

Pope John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor:

"Christian ethics, which pays particular attention to the moral object...."

"The primary and decisive element for moral judgment is the object of the human act, which establishes whether it is capable of being ordered to the good and to the ultimate end, which is God."

"The doctrine of the object as a source of morality represents an authentic explicitation of the Biblical morality of the Covenant and of the commandments, of charity and of the virtues."

"Consequently, circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act "subjectively" good or defensible as a choice."
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Old 1st December 2009, 12:20 PM
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The intention of the person in choosing the act has no effect on the moral object. Every knowingly chosen act is inherently directed at its moral object. In choosing the act, the person has in effect also chosen the moral object of the act. It is not possible to choose one act but a different moral object. It is not possible for intention to change the moral object.

For example, the moral object of lying cannot be changed by intention into a good moral object. Acts with an evil moral object are inherently immoral. No intention can transform an intrinsically evil act into a morally good act.

If an act is immoral solely because of the first font of intention, then the person can possibly cooperate with grace to change that intention, and the act will then be moral.

If an act would be immoral solely because of the third font of circumstances (because the harm resulting from the act morally outweighs the good resulting from the act), the person can wait until the circumstances change, or the person might choose a different act, one that changes the circumstances, making the first act now moral.

But nothing can cause an act that is immoral because of the second font of the moral object to become moral. The act is inherently ordered toward an evil end, its moral object, and nothing can change the essential moral nature (or moral species) of the act. The only way to 'change' the morality of the second font is to choose a different act, one that has a good moral object instead of an evil moral object.
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Old 2nd December 2009, 12:59 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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The three fonts of morality:
[1] the intention, or end, or purpose, or motive, of the person
[2] the moral object, or object, or species, or nature, of the act itself
[3] the circumstances, or consequences, of the intentionally chosen act

There are only three reasons why any knowingly chosen act is immoral:

1. the intention is evil (immoral)
2. the moral object is evil
3. the bad consequences outweigh the good consequences

If any one font is bad, the overall act (including all three fonts) is immoral; it is a sin. If all three fonts are good, the act is moral. There are no exceptions to this principle of ethics.
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Old 2nd December 2009, 11:58 PM
Shane Shane is offline
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Ron,

Would it ever be the case that the moral object of a particular act would be difficult to define as being either good or evil, or should the distinction generally be clear with each act?


Shane
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Old 3rd December 2009, 02:46 AM
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Ron,

Would it ever be the case that the moral object of a particular act would be difficult to define as being either good or evil, or should the distinction generally be clear with each act?


Shane

It should always be clear. This is not like the circumstances, where a judgment is made about the moral weight of the good and bad consequences. The act is either inherently ordered toward a good end, capable of being ordered toward God as our final end; or toward an evil end, incapable of being ordered toward God as our final end.

Also, there are no morally neutral acts, and no morally neutral moral objects. There are some good acts that are meritorious, deserving of reward, and others that are good, but not deserving of reward (like eating a meal, sleeping), and all bad acts deserve some punishment. But all knowingly chosen acts are either morally licit (permissible) or morally illicit.
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Old 4th December 2009, 03:19 PM
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examples of intrinsically evil acts:

lying
theft
murder
violence against the innocent
adultery
blasphemy
idolatry

any act that is inherently directed at a moral object contrary to love of God, neighbor, self is an intrinsically evil act.
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Old 5th December 2009, 04:46 PM
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To determine the object of the action, one considers the act itself, i.e. the objective act (apart from subjective intention), and determines the end toward which the act is directed. This is not the purpose chosen for the act by the person. So the purpose of inebriation does not determine the object.

Also, it is not correct to equate mere exterior action with the chosen act and its moral object.
1. a man kills an attacker in self-defense. The moral object is the defense of an innocent person, himself.
2. a man directly and voluntarily kills an innocent person. The moral object is the deprivation of life from an innocent person, which is murder.
The exterior act may be much the same, but the end toward with the act is ordered is not at all the same.

So a physician who gives ethyl alcohol to a patient as a medication is choosing an act that has a good moral object, health. But a person who gets inebriated by drinking to excess does not commit the same type of act morally, even though the exterior actions are similar. The moral object of becoming inebriated (to the extent of the inability to use reason and free will) is the deprivation of the use (temporarily) of these gifts of free will, which is an evil moral object.

An intrinsically evil act is always a direct and voluntary deprivation of some good related to love of God, neighbor, self. The moral object is always a deprivation of some good; this type of deprivation is either a type of harm to created things, especially created persons, or a type of disorder in the relationship between created things, especially created persons. Every evil moral object ('proximate end') is contrary to the love of God, neighbor, self, and therefore unable to be ordered toward God as our final end.
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Old 6th December 2009, 10:37 AM
Truthseeker Truthseeker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Conte View Post
To determine the object of the action, one considers the act itself, i.e. the objective act (apart from subjective intention), and determines the end toward which the act is directed. This is not the purpose chosen for the act by the person. So the purpose of inebriation does not determine the object.

Also, it is not correct to equate mere exterior action with the chosen act and its moral object.
1. a man kills an attacker in self-defense. The moral object is the defense of an innocent person, himself.
2. a man directly and voluntarily kills an innocent person. The moral object is the deprivation of life from an innocent person, which is murder.
The exterior act may be much the same, but the end toward with the act is ordered is not at all the same.

So a physician who gives ethyl alcohol to a patient as a medication is choosing an act that has a good moral object, health. But a person who gets inebriated by drinking to excess does not commit the same type of act morally, even though the exterior actions are similar. The moral object of becoming inebriated (to the extent of the inability to use reason and free will) is the deprivation of the use (temporarily) of these gifts of free will, which is an evil moral object.

An intrinsically evil act is always a direct and voluntary deprivation of some good related to love of God, neighbor, self. The moral object is always a deprivation of some good; this type of deprivation is either a type of harm to created things, especially created persons, or a type of disorder in the relationship between created things, especially created persons. Every evil moral object ('proximate end') is contrary to the love of God, neighbor, self, and therefore unable to be ordered toward God as our final end.

I am a bit confused in a situation like for example a mother carrying a child in her woumb with danger of both loosing their lives. There are cases were for example a medical intervention has to be done and either the mum is saved or the baby is saved. In this case the church teaches that the mum must always choose to protect the child. On the other hand this would lead to the husband loosing his wife and other children loosing their mum. In this case it is hard to decide altghough maybe as a husband I would tend to save the wife and the mother of my children. Would that be wrong ?
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Old 6th December 2009, 12:01 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Originally Posted by Truthseeker View Post
I am a bit confused in a situation like for example a mother carrying a child in her womb with danger of both loosing their lives. There are cases were for example a medical intervention has to be done and either the mum is saved or the baby is saved. In this case the church teaches that the mum must always choose to protect the child. On the other hand this would lead to the husband loosing his wife and other children loosing their mum. In this case it is hard to decide altghough maybe as a husband I would tend to save the wife and the mother of my children. Would that be wrong ?
That is not what the Church teaches.

Suppose that a woman is pregnant and has cancer. If she attempts to delay treatment until the prenatal is viable and can be delivered, both lives will likely be lost. If she accepts the cancer treatment, her life will likely be saved, but the prenatal will die. In this case, it is moral to accept the cancer treatment. The death of the prenatal is unintended; the act itself is directed at the health of the mother; the good consequences outweigh the bad consequences because the likelihood of saving the mother's life is greater than the likelihood of saving the prenatal's life.
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Old 6th December 2009, 12:42 PM
Truthseeker Truthseeker is offline
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Originally Posted by Ron Conte View Post
That is not what the Church teaches.

Suppose that a woman is pregnant and has cancer. If she attempts to delay treatment until the prenatal is viable and can be delivered, both lives will likely be lost. If she accepts the cancer treatment, her life will likely be saved, but the prenatal will die. In this case, it is moral to accept the cancer treatment. The death of the prenatal is unintended; the act itself is directed at the health of the mother; the good consequences outweigh the bad consequences because the likelihood of saving the mother's life is greater than the likelihood of saving the prenatal's life.

Thanks Ron for clearing this doubt.
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