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Flashcards in Fundamental Moral Theology Deck (46)
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What is objective morality?

'Morality that you yourself do not define.'
• Opposed to Moral Relativism, which can be taken as synonymous with subjectivism, with the moral subject or agent as the sole criterion of right or wrong.
• For Catholics, a more proximate objective norm has been the nature of man as created by God, with all his relationships: to God, to fellow human beings, and to himself, as known by reason and by revelation interpreted by the living teaching authority of the Church


The Concept of Natural Law

Natural law is participation in the Eternal Law.
• We participate in Natural law through reason, which is the light of God present in man.
• There are two types reason:
• 1) Speculative (for the sake of increasing knowledge)
• The purpose of speculative reason is conformity of reason to externals & rational principles.
• Self-evident Principle of speculative reason: principle of non-contradiction.
• 2) Practical (for the sake of doing).
• Purpose: to move the appetite toward telos. It is informed by virtue.
• Self-evident principle of practical reason: the good should be done, and evil should always be avoided.
-[Natural law is memory of God’s original call to love. It is the dignity of the human person]


Is Natural Law Ontological or Epistemological Category?

• Natural Law is an Ontological Category because humans are rational and free. We are created for the ontological purpose of communion both with God and others.
• However, NL could also be considered an epistemological category because it requires learning and must be acquired through life experience. Both individuals and communities can develop knowledge of NL.


Is Natural Law a Scripturally Based Concept?

• Revelation [Scripture] purifies reason.
• It allows one to look at reason from a trans-historical perspective.
• The conclusions of the secondary principles of NL can be found on the 2nd tablet of the Decalogue (Ex. 20; Deut. 5)


How is natural law constituted?

• It is constituted of Primary and Secondary Principles.
• 1) Primary Principles are universal and immutable: 1) Preserve Life; 2) Propagation/procreation; 3) Life in society; 4) Truth; 5) Beauty.
• 2) Secondary Principles can be derived from more common precepts, and are comprised of conclusions and determinations. Determinations are more specific than conclusions.
• Conclusions: Flow spontaneously from the primary principles.
• There are four basic principles found in the Decalogue: 1) Don’t kill; 2) Don’t steal; 3) Don’t commit adultery; 4) Don’t lie
• Derivatives: based on community functions.
• Evil needs to be prevented or punished.
• Both conclusions and derivatives are called Positive Law.
• The 2º Principles are valid most of the time (i.e., not universal and immutable like the primary principles)
• Example: It is permissible under NL to kill another person for the purpose of self-defense.


Explain Natural Law as Universal

• The natural law is universal which means it applies to the entire human race and is in itself the same for all.
• Every man, because he is a man, is bound, if he will conform to the universal order willed by the Creator, to live conformably to his own rational nature, and to be guided by reason.


Explain Natural Law as immutable

• The natural law is immutable – since it is founded in the very nature of man and his destination to his end – it follows that it cannot cease to exist and cannot be changed.
• This applies to the moral standard as it applies to action in the concrete.


What role do history and education play in constituting natural

Natural law is not ‘innate’ - we do not have preconceived ideas.
• Education is thus necessary (at very least by modeling) if an individual is to learn/live according to the natural law.
• Natural law is also rooted in history. There is a development in our understanding of human nature.
• Example: Christ’s mandate to “take up [one’s] cross” goes against one of the most basic precepts of the natural law towards self-preservation; this is established because of Jesus of Nazareth’s presence in, and impact upon human history.


How is natural law related to the virtues?

Virtues can guide the motive thereby influencing an intention and act toward the good


The Overarching Distinction Between Natural (Acquired) and Supernatural (Infused) Virtue

Supernatural Virtues are ordered to our supernatural end, and infused by God (sanctifying grace, faith, hope, charity, and the supernatural moral virtues).
• Natural Virtues are ordered towards our natural end, and acquired ordinarily through our own acts, such as the cardinal virtues.
-Acquired virtues has source in human effort/practice while infused virtues has its source in grace
-Acquired virtues has mean fixed by reason while infused virtues has mean fixed by divine rule


What are the four Cardinal Virtues?



What is the human vocation, according to Vatican II and Pope John Paul II?

To be a saint… to be a self-gift


According to St. Thomas Aquinas, in what does happiness consist?

It consists of nothing else but the unrestricted vision of God. St. Thomas speaks of happiness in regards to our final end. Our final end is God Himself, who is uncreated, but the attainment of our final end also brings about the created element, happiness


What virtues are?

stable dispositions to act in ways that are good


What vices are?

stable dispositions to act in ways that are good


Name two ways in which natural (acquired) virtues differ from supernatural (infused) virtues.

-Acquired virtues has source in human effort/practice while infused virtues has its source in grace
-Acquired virtues has mean fixed by reason while infused virtues has mean fixed by divine rule


According to Aquinas, what's prudence (the virtue of the Intellect)?

“Right reason in action” or “Wisdom concerning human affairs”


What's the capacity/faculty that prudence perfects?



What are prudence's main opposing vices?

Imprudence & negligence


According to Aquinas, what's justice (the virtue of the Will)?

virtue “by which we render to each one his due"


What's the capacity/faculty that justice perfects?

Relationship/Operations with regard to others


What are the three types of Justice and their opposing Vices?

1) Commutative Justice= Individual’s obligation to an individual
• Opposing Vice = Injustice of an individual toward another individual (e.g., lying, lack of friendliness)
• 2) Distributive Justice = Community/Authority’s obligation to an individual
• Opposing Vice = Injustice of a community/authority toward an individual (e.g., unjust taxation)
• 3) Legal/General Justice = Individual’s obligation to the community (to the common good)
• Opposing Vice = Injustice of an individual toward the common good (e.g., lack of respect for authority, disobedience,


According to Aquinas, what's fortitude (the virtue of the Irascible Appetite)?

virtue by which one restrains one’s fear of danger and difficulties and performs acts of
daring to remove or withstand those difficulties


What's the capacity/faculty that fortitude perfects?

to strengthen oneself with regard to disordered passions (such as fear or despair) that hold one back from an arduous good


What are fortitude's main opposing vices?



According to Aquinas, what's temperance (the virtue of the Concupiscible Appetite)?

The virtue of temperance governs our appetites for pleasure


What's the capacity/faculty that temperance perfects?

to repress passions that assert themselves in a disordered way


What are temperance's opposing vices?


*Vices opposed to Temperance's related virtues:
-Abstinence: gluttony
-Sobriety: drunkenness
-Chastity: lust


Why are the three “theological virtues” supernatural?

1) revealed by God and known by faith
2) “infused by God into the souls of the faithful” (CCC 1813)
3) their purpose is our participation in the divine nature.


Why the three theological virtues are called 'theological?

because they have God as their object (i.e., faith in, hope in, and love of God)