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Life in Christ

435

II.

G

ood

A

cts and

E

vil

A

cts

1755

A

morally good

act requires the goodness of the object, of

the end, and of the circumstances together. An evil end corrupts

the action, even if the object is good in itself (such as praying and

fasting “in order to be seen by men”).

The

object of the choice

can by itself vitiate an act in its

entirety. There are some concrete acts—such as fornication—that

it is always wrong to choose, because choosing them entails a

disorder of the will, that is, a moral evil.

1756

It is therefore an error to judge the morality of human acts

by considering only the intention that inspires them or the circum-

stances (environment, social pressure, duress or emergency, etc.)

which supply their context. There are acts which, in and of them-

selves, 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.

IN BRIEF

1757

The object, the intention, and the circumstances make

up the three “sources” of the morality of human acts.

1758

The object chosen morally specifies the act of willing

accordingly as reason recognizes and judges it good

or evil.

1759

“An evil action cannot be justified by reference to a

good intention” (cf. St. Thomas Aquinas,

Dec. praec.

6).

The end does not justify the means.

1760

Amorally good act requires the goodness of its object,

of its end, and of its circumstances together.

1761

There are concrete acts that it is always wrong to

choose, because their choice entails a disorder of the

will, i.e., a moral evil. One may not do evil so that good

may result from it.

1789