Thursday, May 18, 2017
Youcat commented through CCC – Question n. 291 – Part III.
(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 1753) A good intention (for example, that of helping one's neighbor) does not make behavior that is intrinsically disordered, such as lying and calumny, good or just. The end does not justify the means. Thus the condemnation of an innocent person cannot be justified as a legitimate means of saving the nation. On the other hand, an added bad intention (such as vainglory) makes an act evil that, in and of itself, can be good (such as almsgiving) (Cf. Mt 6:24).
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 1756) It is therefore an error to judge the morality of human acts by considering only the intention that inspires them or the circumstances (environment, social pressure, duress or emergency, etc.) which supply their context. There are acts which, in and of themselves, independently of circumstances and intentions, are always gravely illicit by reason of their object; such as blasphemy and perjury, murder and adultery. One may not do evil so that good may result from it.