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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