Determining the Morality of Human Acts

Determining the Morality of Human Acts
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the following video is going to walk you through how to determine whether something is moral or immoral you want to take notes on the most basic points I'm going to fast press pause we're going to be using this formula throughout the rest of the semester so there are three parts to any human act the object the intention and the circumstances so these are aspects these three different components help us to determine whether something is moral or immoral and then how responsible we want to hold the person as a result of their act the first part of any object any action is the object this is very very basic the object is always the thing that is actually being done so if I were to go steal a piece of gum from my friend my object would be stealing the piece of gum so whenever I'm asking you to identify the object you're simply looking for what you have chosen to do another example might be you went to Sacred Heart to work in the clothes closet because you want to get into college your object in that scenario is working at Sacred Heart second component of any action is the intention this is the why why are you performing this act what is your motivation why are you doing it so in the first example I gave you when I talked about the piece of bubblegum let's say I had bad breath and I was going on a date so the reason that I'm stealing the piece of bubblegum is because I want to impress someone I am dating in the other example about going to Sacred Heart your intention would be to get to college so you can see that would be a very self-centered self-motivating intention so the object and intention these are the two things we are always going to identify first what are you doing and why are you doing it in order for something to be morally good or morally praiseworthy so to look at you and say hey what you did was really good both the objects and the intention have to be moral in Catholic morality you cannot have any discrepancy between what you're doing and why you're doing it so let me give you a quick and very simple example this is someone saying the following statement I know you're not supposed to steal but I wanted to give my mother something for her birthday all right so we have effect so what's the object so the first thing you want to say I hope you just set it out loud you screamed it so you scared your parents the object is stealing a birthday gift so you always want to name it as a what the person has done and then the second question you want to ask is is stealing moral or immoral well so far what do we know about moral principles you could look at the Ten Commandments you could point out the seventh commandment and say you know we have a basic principle that stealing is wrong and then you want to explain why why is it wrong to steal in a basic description that doesn't belong to the property it could harm the owner look at the other person you may be harming for a response to this next you want to name the intention why is this person stealing well in this particular case they want to express some kind of emotion to their mother this is a good thing telling your mother happy birthday is not immoral you're not committing any kind of sin by doing that so the intention here is moral and you want to again explain why you know the expression of love sympathy etc so we have an immoral object with a moral intention so according to kind of Catholic moral teaching overall the situation would be immoral we could say that person has committed some type that's it if you don't understand everything we've talked about so far you probably want to stop and go back and review alright so once we have the object and intention down and settled we can move on to a secondary component to the action this component looks at responsibility how responsible would we hold someone for their actions these are called circumstances you will only look at circumstances after you have established whether the act is moral or immoral and with the circumstances of an action you're going to look at one of two things you're going to look at the person performing the action and you're going to consider things like their age their economic status do they have any kind of psychological disorder how were they raised so really take a good look at this person who did the act so if we go back to our example about stealing a gift from mom for her birthday and looked at a circumstance about the person think of something the things that might affect their responsibility go ahead say it out loud scare the person who's sitting near you you might come up with the idea that this person could be 45 years old all right so if a 45 year old adult stole a present for mom for her birthday we might hold that person pretty responsible for their act because they at this stage in their life should know better if it was a four-year-old who stole something we might want to lower the responsibility of their act because perhaps the four year olds moral compass is not fully formed the next thing we want to do is look at the action of itself so we want to take a look at what was done what was the result of what was done if it was something different would that matter so in this case even our legal system recognizes something like this the difference between first-degree and second-degree murder first-degree murder right it was planned out it was intentional and was really thought out process second-degree murder not so much more crime of passion type things so if we go back to the example a little less serious about stealing a gift for Mom we can look closely at what was done would it have been different if it was something different let's say one person stole some flowers for Mom another person stole a car the grand theft auto is clearly more serious than the stealing some roses what was the result of the action well let's say you stole some flowers from a public park not supposed to but it doesn't cause a lot of harm so that would matter in terms of responsibility if you stole the car let's say you stole it from someone who needed that automobile to go to work to provide for their family that would make the act much more serious remember these are secondary elements they are not the core of an action the only thing circumstances do is affect the level of moral responsibility so you see some examples we have a child committing a serious crime versus an adult you would hold the adult more responsible than the child it can also affect how good or evil and act is cheating on homework is less serious than cheating on an exam they're both amoral they're both cheating but one is clearly more serious than the other always remember no matter how grave or outlandish circumstances can become they'll never change an inherently immoral object into a good one it only changes the responsibility of the person so if you're looking at someone to give you a really outlandish example someone committing genocide I don't care how old they might be how young they might be it's not going to make genocide a moral act so that is the the lesson we will be practicing many more examples in class go back and rewind if you need to review if you want to see what your book has to say about this it's found in article 12 on pages 64 to 66 have a good evening

To own more wealth then the poor is evil, as you are guilty for starving children.
If you use force in self-defense, you do evil. "Do not use force to overcome evil. If they strike you on the right cheek, turn to them the other. If they prosecute in court, the cloak of yours to take, give them also your coat.
Sin is a desire to enrich yourself upon the misery of those who have lass education, less wealth or less whiteness. What bigotry is all about.

Thank you so much for your teaching, teacher. Your explanation is very clear and understandable. I hope to receive many more concise lessons from you. Peace in the love of Christ Jesus, our Lord.

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