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430

Part Three

1729

The beatitude of heaven sets the standards for discern-

ment in the use of earthly goods in keeping with the

law of God.

A

rticle

3

MAN’S FREEDOM

1730

God created man a rational being, conferring on him the

dignity of a person who can initiate and control his own actions.

“God willed that man should be ‘left in the hand of his own

counsel,’ so that he might of his own accord seek his Creator and

freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to him.”

26

Man is rational and therefore like God; he is created with free

will and is master over his acts.

27

I.

F

reedom and

R

esponsibility

1731

Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or

not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions

on one’s own responsibility. By free will one shapes one’s own life.

Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and

goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God, our

beatitude.

1732

As long as freedom has not bound itself definitively to its

ultimate good which is God, there is the possibility of

choosing

between good and evil,

and thus of growing in perfection or of failing

and sinning. This freedom characterizes properly human acts. It is

the basis of praise or blame, merit or reproach.

1733

The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes.

There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and

just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and

leads to “the slavery of sin.”

28

1734

Freedom makes man

responsible

for his acts to the extent

that they are voluntary. Progress in virtue, knowledge of the good,

and ascesis enhance the mastery of the will over its acts.

26

GS

17;

Sir

15:14.

27 St. Irenaeus,

Adv. haeres.

4, 4, 3: PG 7/1, 983.

28 Cf.

Rom

6:17.

30

1721

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1849

2006

1803

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1804