Jesus and the three fonts of morality

There are three fonts of morality: (1) intention, (2) moral object, (3) circumstances.

These three fonts of morality are found within the teaching of Sacred Scripture:

1. intention

{24:8} Whoever intends to do evil shall be called foolish.
{24:9} The intention of the foolish is sin.

{55:6} All day long, they curse my words. All their intentions are for evil against me.
{118:118} You have despised all those who fell away from your judgments. For their intention is unjust.

Whoever intends evil, sins. Any good act is nevertheless a sin when it is done with a bad intention, even prayer and almsgiving:

[Matthew 6]
{6:1} “Pay attention, lest you perform your justice before men, in order to be seen by them; otherwise you shall not have a reward with your Father, who is in heaven.
{6:2} Therefore, when you give alms, do not choose to sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the towns, so that they may be honored by men. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward.
{6:3} But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
{6:4} so that your almsgiving may be in secret, and your Father, who sees in secret, will repay you.
{6:5} And when you pray, you should not be like the hypocrites, who love standing in the synagogues and at the corners of the streets to pray, so that they may be seen by men. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward.

2. moral object — certain kinds of acts are immoral, by the very nature of the act

{19:17} And he said to him: “Why do you question me about what is good? One is good: God. But if you wish to enter into life, observe the commandments.”
{19:18} He said to him, “Which?” And Jesus said: “You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony.”

These acts are immoral regardless of intention or circumstances. They are always wrong because the type of act, the very nature of the act itself, is inherently contrary to the love of God and neighbor.

3. circumstances — evaluated by the moral weight of the reasonably anticipated good and bad consequences of the chosen act.

[Matthew 12]
{12:1} At that time, Jesus went out through the ripe grain on the Sabbath. And his disciples, being hungry, began to separate the grain and to eat.
{12:2} Then the Pharisees, seeing this, said to him, “Behold, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbaths.”
{12:3} But he said to them: “Have you not read what David did, when he was hungry, and those who were with him:
{12:4} how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests?
{12:5} Or have you not read in the law, that on the Sabbaths the priests in the temple violate the Sabbath, and they are without guilt?

An inherently good act, an act that is not intrinsically evil due to an evil moral object, can be moral or immoral depending on the circumstances. Jesus gives examples of acts that are sometimes moral and other times immoral based on those circumstances.

{12:17} Render to no one harm for harm. Provide good things, not only in the sight of God, but also in the sight of all men.

{13:10} The love of neighbor does no harm.

Paul teaches that we must consider the consequences of our acts. True love of neighbor does not choose any act that can be reasonably anticipated to do more harm than good.

These are the three fonts of morality as taught by Sacred Scripture.

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