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Old 5th December 2009, 02:51 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 12,590
Default intention (first font)

There are three fonts (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

Every knowingly chosen act has all three fonts: an intended end (or purpose or motive) for which the act is chosen; the chosen act itself, which is inherently directed at its moral object; the consequences of the chosen act. All three fonts must be good for an act to be moral.

In order for the first font of intention to be good, all that is intended must be good. A bad intention makes any act immoral. However, if the other two fonts are good, and only the bad intention is causing the act to be immoral, then change your intention.

An immoral intended end makes the intention and the overall act immoral. However, if a person intends a good end, but by means of an intrinsically evil act, then the intended means is immoral. Such an intention cannot be said to be moral.

Example: A physician intends the good end of relieving the suffering of his patient. But he intends to use the gravely immoral means of euthanasia to that end. Not only is the act immoral due to an evil moral object (the killing of an innocent person), but the first font of intention is also immoral. No one can claim that their intention is good, if they intend to use an evil means to a good end. The end does not justify the means. And so an evil intended means is not justified by a good intended end.
Ron Conte
Roman Catholic theologian
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