Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Youcat commented through CCC – Question n. 291 – Part II.
(Youcat answer - repeated) A person is capable of distinguishing good actions from bad ones because he possesses reason and a conscience, which enable him to make clear judgments.
A deepening through CCC
(CCC 1752 a) In contrast to the object, the intention resides in the acting subject. Because it lies at the voluntary source of an action and determines it by its end, intention is an element essential to the moral evaluation of an action. The end is the first goal of the intention and indicates the purpose pursued in the action. The intention is a movement of the will toward the end: it is concerned with the goal of the activity. It aims at the good anticipated from the action undertaken.
Reflecting and meditating
(Youcat comment) The following guidelines make it easier to distinguish good actions from bad ones: (1) What I do must be good; a good intention alone is not enough. Bank robbery is always bad, even if I commit that crime with the good intention of giving the money to poor people. (2) Even when what I do is truly good, if I perform the good action with a bad intention, it makes the whole action bad. If I walk an elderly woman home and help her around the house, that is good. But if I do it while planning a later break-in, that makes the whole action something bad. (3) The circumstances in which someone acts can diminish his responsibility, but they cannot change at all the good or bad character of an action. Hitting one’s mother is always bad, even if the mother has previously shown little love to the child.
(CCC 1752 b) Intention is not limited to directing individual actions, but can guide several actions toward one and the same purpose; it can orient one's whole life toward its ultimate end. For example, a service done with the end of helping one's neighbor can at the same time be inspired by the love of God as the ultimate end of all our actions. One and the same action can also be inspired by several intentions, such as performing a service in order to obtain a favor or to boast about it. (CCC 1757) The object, the intention, and the circumstances make up the three "sources" of the morality of human acts.