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Life in Christ

433

IN BRIEF

1743

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

own counsel (cf.

Sir

15:14), so that he might of his own

accord seek his creator and freely attain his full and

blessed perfection by cleaving to him” (

GS

17 § 1).

1744

Freedom is the power to act or not to act, and so to

perform deliberate acts of one’s own. Freedom attains

perfection in its acts when directed toward God, the

sovereign Good.

1745

Freedom characterizes properly human acts. It makes

the human being responsible for acts of which he is the

voluntary agent. His deliberate acts properly belong

to him.

1746

The imputability or responsibility for an action can be

diminished or nullified by ignorance, duress, fear, and

other psychological or social factors.

1747

The right to the exercise of freedom, especially in

religious and moral matters, is an inalienable require-

ment of the dignity of man. But the exercise of freedom

does not entail the putative right to say or do anything.

1748

“For freedom Christ has set us free” (

Gal

5:1).

A

rticle

4

THE MORALITY OF HUMAN ACTS

1749

Freedom makes man a moral subject. When he acts delib-

erately, man is, so to speak, the

father of his acts.

Human acts, that

is, acts that are freely chosen in consequence of a judgment of con-

science, can be morally evaluated. They are either good or evil.

I.

T

he

S

ources of

M

orality

1750

The morality of human acts depends on:

— the object chosen;

— the end in view or the intention;

— the circumstances of the action.

1732