Life in Christ
“God willed that man should be left in the hand of his
own counsel (cf.
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” (
17 § 1).
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
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
The imputability or responsibility for an action can be
diminished or nullified by ignorance, duress, fear, and
other psychological or social factors.
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.
“For freedom Christ has set us free” (
THE MORALITY OF HUMAN ACTS
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.
The morality of human acts depends on:
— the object chosen;
— the end in view or the intention;
— the circumstances of the action.