Chapter 23. Life in Christ—Part One • 311
“yes” to God. In contrast, many people today understand human free-
dom merely as the ability to make a choice, with no objective norm or
good as the goal.
An opposite tendency to one that makes the act of choosing the core
of human freedom is one that denies that we are free at all. Some believe
that due to outside forces, inner compulsions, social pressures, childhood
experiences, or genetic makeup, our behavior is already determined and
we are not truly free. Though we do recognize that “the imputability or
responsibility for an action can be diminished or nullified by ignorance,
duress, fear, and other psychological or social factors” (CCC, no. 1746),
normally we are still free and responsible for our actions. Our freedom
may be limited but it is real nonetheless.
The best way to grow in freedom is to perform good acts. Good
deeds help to make us free and develop good habits. The road to loss
of freedom is through evil acts. Sin makes us slaves of evil and reduces
our capacity to be free. Freedom comes from being moral. Slavery to sin
arises from being immoral.
The Understanding of Moral Acts
Another important foundation of Christian morality is the understand-
ing of moral acts. Every moral act consists of three elements: the objec-
tive act (what we do), the subjective goal or intention (why we do the
act), and the concrete situation or circumstances in which we perform
the act (where, when, how, with whom, the consequences, etc.).
For an individual act to be morally good, the object, or what we are
doing, must be objectively good. Some acts, apart from the intention
or reason for doing them, are always wrong because they go against a
fundamental or basic human good that ought never to be compromised.
Direct killing of the innocent, torture, and rape are examples of acts
that are always wrong. Such acts are referred to as intrinsically evil acts,
meaning that they are wrong in themselves, apart from the reason they
are done or the circumstances surrounding them.
The goal, end, or intention is the part of the moral act that lies within
the person. For this reason, we say that the intention is the subjective ele-
ment of the moral act. For an act to be morally good, one’s intention