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  #21  
Old 30th January 2011, 05:44 AM
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23. "Once again it is Saint Augustine who admirably sums up this Pauline dialectic of law and grace: "The law was given that grace might be sought; and grace was given, that the law might be fulfilled"."

The OT law expresses the moral law in the ten commandments and in the other laws and teachings that pertain to immutable moral truth. Although the OT disciplines are no longer in force, all that the OT teaches on morality is still in force.

The law of grace gives us, not a new understanding that is contradictory to the old, but a renewed and deeper understanding, that builds upon and is in complete harmony with the old.

"Love and life according to the Gospel cannot be thought of first and foremost as a kind of precept...."

In other words, the precepts of the moral law, as expressed in either Testament, are only able to be fully lived by cooperation with grace. If they are approached in a Pharisaical manner, as if we need merely fulfill exterior requirements, then like many Pharisees, we shall not have eternal life.

The OT law revealed to the people of Israel their own moral weakness and the need of a Savior.
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  #22  
Old 31st January 2011, 09:37 PM
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24. "And so we find revealed the authentic and original aspect of the commandment of love and of the perfection to which it is ordered: we are speaking of a possibility opened up to man exclusively by grace, by the gift of God, by his love."

The entire moral law is based on the commandments to love God above all else, and to love your neighbor as yourself. Each of the three fonts of morality is evaluated, to determine if it is good or evil, based on the ordered love of God, neighbor, self.

Grace is required for us to fulfill the moral law. For while we can do some good acts, by our own good nature, apart from grace, such acts are not meritorious and do not contribute to our salvation. Grace is necessary for our free will to do follow the commandments to love God and neighbor. Everyone has that grace available to them, and therefore anyone who ends up in Hell is being justly punished -- for he had all the graces needed without exception to keep the commandments, but he freely chose not to do so.

25. "Christ's relevance for people of all times is shown forth in his body, which is the Church. For this reason the Lord promised his disciples the Holy Spirit, who would "bring to their remembrance" and teach them to understand his commandments"

The Church preserves the Deposit of Faith (Tradition and Scripture) and the Magisterium interprets the Deposit of Faith, all with the assistance of the Holy Spirit. Even though the whole moral law, in every one of its requirements to avoid sin and to live a moral life, is accessible to reason alone (through natural law), we have the additional assistance of Tradition, Scripture, and the Magisterium.
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  #23  
Old 1st February 2011, 03:47 AM
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24. "And so we find revealed the authentic and original aspect of the commandment of love and of the perfection to which it is ordered: we are speaking of a possibility opened up to man exclusively by grace, by the gift of God, by his love."

The entire moral law is based on the commandments to love God above all else, and to love your neighbor as yourself. Each of the three fonts of morality is evaluated, to determine if it is good or evil, based on the ordered love of God, neighbor, self.

Grace is required for us to fulfill the moral law. For while we can do some good acts, by our own good nature, apart from grace, such acts are not meritorious and do not contribute to our salvation. Grace is necessary for our free will to do follow the commandments to love God and neighbor. Everyone has that grace available to them, and therefore anyone who ends up in Hell is being justly punished -- for he had all the graces needed without exception to keep the commandments, but he freely chose not to do so.
.

Our free will must continually seek God's grace and cooperate with it, and choose to do what grace gives it the strength to do.
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  #24  
Old 9th February 2011, 01:23 PM
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26. "No damage must be done to the harmony between faith and life: the unity of the Church is damaged not only by Christians who reject or distort the truths of faith but also by those who disregard the moral obligations to which they are called by the Gospel (cf. 1 Cor 5:9-13). The Apostles decisively rejected any separation between the commitment of the heart and the actions which express or prove it (cf. 1 Jn 2:3-6)."

It is not sufficient for Christians to believe in Jesus Christ. We must also live in imitation of Him. And this requires understanding the moral teachings of Jesus and of His Church, so that we can live a moral life. Every moral life is pleasing to God, and every immoral life is displeasing to God. Whoever has faith should live that faith by doing good and avoiding evil. The Apostles in the early Church continued to convey the moral teachings of Christ, not only the teachings on matters of faith.
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  #25  
Old 9th February 2011, 01:32 PM
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27. "Within the unity of the Church, promoting and preserving the faith and the moral life is the task entrusted by Jesus to the Apostles (cf. Mt 28:19-20), a task which continues in the ministry of their successors. This is apparent from the living Tradition...."

The truths of the eternal moral law are found in Divine Revelation, in Tradition as well as in Scripture. This Tradition is Living because these truths are lived by the faithful of every generation, and by the Church as a body.

"The Church, in her life and teaching, is thus revealed as "the pillar and bulwark of the truth" ( 1 Tim 3:15), including the truth regarding moral action. Indeed, "the Church has the right always and everywhere to proclaim moral principles, even in respect of the social order, and to make judgments about any human matter in so far as this is required by fundamental human rights or the salvation of souls"."

The truth of the eternal moral law are accessible to reason alone, but the reason of fallen human persons has difficulty correctly perceiving the requirements of the moral law without faith. By faith, we learn the moral law from Divine Revelation as well as from reason. Tradition and Scripture and the Magisterium are the three pillars of moral truth in the Church.
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  #26  
Old 11th February 2011, 04:35 PM
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28. "The Church has faithfully preserved what the word of God teaches, not only about truths which must be believed but also about moral action, action pleasing to God (cf. 1 Th 4:1); she has achieved a doctrinal development analogous to that which has taken place in the realm of the truths of faith."

The Church not only preserves the moral truths taught by Tradition and Scripture, She also develops moral doctrine, so that the truths of morality may be understood with ever greater clarity, as time passes.

So then, why does it seem that moral truth is in danger of being utterly wiped away by the doubts, speculations, and new theories of moral theologians and of various priests and laity? It is because many have decided to abandon the traditional teachings of the Church on morals in order to construct a new ethic in greater agreement with sinful secular society. This approach is not a development of doctrine, but an abandonment of doctrine.

An example of development of doctrine would be the progression from the work of Saint Thomas, which provides much of the basis for the fonts of morality, to the work of Pope John Paul II in Veritatis Splendor, which develops the three fonts and teaches them with magisterial authority.
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  #27  
Old 12th February 2011, 09:31 PM
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29. "The Church's moral reflection, always conducted in the light of Christ, the "Good Teacher", has also developed in the specific form of the theological science called "moral theology ", a science which accepts and examines Divine Revelation while at the same time responding to the demands of human reason. Moral theology is a reflection concerned with "morality", with the good and the evil of human acts and of the person who performs them; in this sense it is accessible to all people."

Moral theology is based on faith, and on Divine Revelation believed by faith, and on reason. When reason understands moral truths apart from Divine Revelation, this is called natural law. All of the requirements of morality are accessible to anyone by reason, but faith provides additional helps, so that moral truth may be known more fully and more surely, despite original sin and personal sin (which make knowing moral truth more difficult).

"The Church, and particularly the Bishops, to whom Jesus Christ primarily entrusted the ministry of teaching, are deeply appreciative of this work, and encourage theologians to continue their efforts, inspired by that profound and authentic "fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom" (cf. Prov 1:7)."

The work of teaching the truths of faith and morals is entrusted primarily to the Bishops, but not solely to them. And so the faithful, and in particular theologians, are encourged to teach also, but in the fear of the Lord.

Many theologians today have no fear of the Lord at all. They openly reject the definitive teaching of the Church on faith and morals. They openly commit formal heresy, without remorse.

"At the same time, however, within the context of the theological debates which followed the Council, there have developed certain interpretations of Christian morality which are not consistent with "sound teaching" (2 Tim 4:3)."

The problem in moral theology, noted in VS, has only become worse and worse as the years have passed. Many theologians have developed theories or interpretations that are wholely incompatible with dogma, with doctrine, with sound traditional moral theology, even with reason.
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  #28  
Old 12th February 2011, 09:36 PM
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30. "In addressing this Encyclical to you, my Brother Bishops, it is my intention to state the principles necessary for discerning what is contrary to "sound doctrine", drawing attention to those elements of the Church's moral teaching which today appear particularly exposed to error, ambiguity or neglect."

Veritatis Splendor was written to teach the basic principles of ethics needed as the foundation for sound moral doctrine. The Pontiff acknowledged that the Church's moral teaching has been exposed to error, ambiguity and neglect. The problem has become all the worse since this encyclical. Why? Did the Pope fail to teach the principles of morality? Not at all. Rather, moral theologians, priests, and the faithful have decided to ignore the basic principles. For they realize that if they accept these basic principles of ethics. their own sins and false ideas about morality will be exposed.

JP2 then quotes Scripture as applying to the situation today: "For the time will come when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths."

So it is.
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  #29  
Old 16th February 2011, 06:28 PM
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31. through 35.

31. Modern society correctly perceives that human freedom and dignity require respect for the use of conscience and for religious freedom. But the exact expression and application of this perception has been intermixed with some errors.

"This perception, authentic as it is, has been expressed in a number of more or less adequate ways, some of which however diverge from the truth about man as a creature and the image of God, and thus need to be corrected and purified in the light of faith."

32. "Certain currents of modern thought have gone so far as to exalt freedom to such an extent that it becomes an absolute, which would then be the source of values."

This error ignores the objective nature of truth, and substitutes "a radically subjectivistic conception of moral judgment". The end result of this erroneous approach is to place conscience in opposition to the moral law, and freedom in opposition to human nature and the natural law.

33. Science sometimes errs, when laudably studying human behavior, by concluding that there is no true human freedom, or as if there were no absolute moral values. Religion is reduced to one of many arbitrary cultural manifestations. No universal human values are admitted to exist. As a result, morality becomes relative, not absolute.

34. "there can be no morality without freedom: 'It is only in freedom that man can turn to what is good'."

True freedom is not a license to do anything you please, even evil.

"Conscience has rights because it has duties."

"Certain tendencies in contemporary moral theology…involve novel interpretations of the relationship of freedom to the moral law, human nature and conscience, and propose novel criteria for the moral evaluation of acts." These tendencies deny the dependence of freedom on truth.

35. "the power to decide what is good and what is evil does not belong to man, but to God alone."

"God's law does not reduce, much less do away with human freedom; rather, it protects and promotes that freedom. In contrast, however, some present-day cultural tendencies have given rise to several currents of thought in ethics which centre upon an alleged conflict between freedom and law. These doctrines would grant to individuals or social groups the right to determine what is good or evil. Human freedom would thus be able to "create values" and would enjoy a primacy over truth, to the point that truth itself would be considered a creation of freedom. Freedom would thus lay claim to a moral autonomy which would actually amount to an absolute sovereignty."
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  #30  
Old 18th February 2011, 11:34 PM
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36. "Some people, however, disregarding the dependence of human reason on Divine Wisdom and the need, given the present state of fallen nature, for Divine Revelation as an effective means for knowing moral truths, even those of the natural order, have actually posited a complete sovereignty of reason in the domain of moral norms regarding the right ordering of life in this world."

The whole moral law is accessible to human reason alone, at least in principle. But due to our fallen state, we need Divine Revelation to obtain a more certain and more profound understanding of the moral law.

37. "In their desire, however, to keep the moral life in a Christian context, certain moral theologians have introduced a sharp distinction, contrary to Catholic doctrine,63 between an ethical order, which would be human in origin and of value for this world alone, and an order of salvation, for which only certain intentions and interior attitudes regarding God and neighbour would be significant…. No one can fail to see that such an interpretation of the autonomy of human reason involves positions incompatible with Catholic teaching."

Note that in many of the above sections of Veritatis Splendor, the Pope is specifically discussing and condemning various errors prevalent in Catholic moral theology. He is deliberately correcting error, even grave doctrinal error, on ethics. What was the response of moral theologians to this encyclical? Many moral theologians have completely ignored it, and have continued to propose these same condemned errors, under various new guises.

38. "The exercise of dominion over the world represents a great and responsible task for man, one which involves his freedom in obedience to the Creator's command: "Fill the earth and subdue it" (Gen 1:28). In view of this, a rightful autonomy is due to every man, as well as to the human community…."

However, this autonomy can never be used as a pretext for rejecting or ignoring the commandments of God in the eternal moral law, whether it is known by reason, or by faith and reason. True freedom is found within obedience to the Creator in all things.

39. "Indeed, just as man in exercising his dominion over the world shapes it in accordance with his own intelligence and will, so too in performing morally good acts, man strengthens, develops and consolidates within himself his likeness to God."

Even though reason can understand all the requirements of the moral law, apart from Divine Revelation, morality is essentially and ultimately a search for God, to do the will of God and to become more and more a fitting likeness of God.

"Even so, the Council [Second Vatican Council] warns against a false concept of the autonomy of earthly realities, one which would maintain that 'created things are not dependent on God and that man can use them without reference to their Creator."

40. "The moral law has its origin in God and always finds its source in him: at the same time, by virtue of natural reason, which derives from divine wisdom, it is a properly human law."

A moral life always leads one to belief in God and to eternal life with God. God is the source of all morality and the good end toward which all moral acts are ultimately directed.

"Nevertheless, the autonomy of reason cannot mean that reason itself creates values and moral norms. Were this autonomy to imply a denial of the participation of the practical reason in the wisdom of the divine Creator and Lawgiver, or were it to suggest a freedom which creates moral norms, on the basis of historical contingencies or the diversity of societies and cultures, this sort of alleged autonomy would contradict the Church's teaching on the truth about man."

So it is with many theories proposed by Catholic moral theologians today. They suggest a freedom whereby conscience is followed without the objective truths proposed by Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium. They suggest moral norms that are based on what seems reasonable, to the fallen sinner, without regard for the Church's teaching.
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