Category Archives: intention and moral object

Response to Deacon Jim Russell on Combatants and Double Effect

Deacon Jim Russell wrote an article, titled Combatants, Non-Combatants, and Double Effect, published August 10, 2017 at Crisis Magazine. The article is one of the worst pieces of Catholic moral theology I have ever read. It contains several serious errors … Continue reading

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Human Acts have a Moral Nature

The teaching of the Roman Catholic Church on ethics differs from every other source of ethical teachings. The main difference is the doctrine that human acts have a moral nature. Each of our acts has an inherent moral meaning (or … Continue reading

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The Concrete Act and the Concept of Intrinsic Evil

Roman Catholic teaching on morality is based on human acts, also called concrete acts. A human act is the knowing choice of a human person. Such acts are termed “concrete” because the act and its morality are real and meaningful, … Continue reading


Jimmy Akin’s Rejection of the Dogma of Intrinsic Evil

The ordinary and universal Magisterium infallibly teaches that certain types of acts are intrinsically evil, i.e. wrong by their very nature, apart from intentions and circumstances. See my post: The Dogma of Intrinsically Evil Acts. Pope John Paul II: “The … Continue reading


Voting Ethics and Intrinsic Evil

In Roman Catholic moral theology, an act is a knowing choice; it is an exercise of intellect and free will. Every knowingly chosen act is either good or evil; every knowingly chosen act is subject to conscience and to the … Continue reading


Does a Catholic business owner sin by cooperating with the HHS Mandate?

The HHS Mandate of the Obama administration has gone into effect, as of August 1st, 2012. All businesses that provide health insurance must include contraception and abortifacients in that coverage. There are numerous complicated conditions to this Mandate and to … Continue reading


Is lying only immoral if you intend to deceive?

This is not an open question. The Magisterium has a definitive teaching on lying: 1753 A good intention (for example, that of helping one’s neighbor) does not make behavior that is intrinsically disordered, such as lying and calumny, good or … Continue reading


Catholic Confusion on Intention and Moral Object

Over at Catholic Lane, Rebecca Taylor writes a post on ethics and genetic enhancements: Catholic Confusion on Enhancements; the post is also here. That post is a follow-up to her earlier post at NC Register: Human or Superhuman. In the … Continue reading


Jimmy Akin debates the Magisterium

Jimmy Akin has been publishing fake interviews, in which he pretends to interview Pope John Paul II or Pope Benedict XVI. He publishes these fake interviews in what he calls a “Secret Information Club communiqué”, saying things like: “Not a … Continue reading

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Moral analysis: the Maltese conjoined twins

This case occurred in 2001. A discussion of the case arose in my discussion group as we were considered the distinction between direct and indirect abortion. The medical situation was this: conjoined twins shared a heart, lungs, and abdomen. If … Continue reading


The Distinction between Direct and Indirect Abortion

You cannot understand the distinction between direct abortion and indirect abortion unless you understand the three fonts of morality, especially the moral object. See my previous articles on this topic: Intrinsic Evil and the Moral Object In Roman Catholic moral … Continue reading

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Is Pre-emptive War Intrinsically Evil and Always Immoral?

Over at National Catholic Register, Mark Shea blogs that pre-emptive war is always immoral. His conclusion is morally unsound and contrary to Catholic dogma on the basic principles of ethics, i.e. on the constitutive elements that make any act moral … Continue reading


Can an intrinsically evil act be justified by a good purpose?

There are three fonts of morality (intention, moral object, circumstances). In order for any knowingly chosen act to be moral, all three fonts must be good. If an act has an evil moral object, then that act is intrinsically evil … Continue reading


Catholic Answers Forums promotes abortifacients

Whenever anyone asks a certain type of question in Catholic Answers Forums, the same false and gravely immoral answer is given by numerous different members of that Forum. Q: Is it moral for a woman to use abortifacient contraception, for … Continue reading


Can unintended bad consequences make an act immoral? Yes.

The Magisterium teaches that there are three fonts or sources of morality, that is to say, three types of things that determine the morality of an act: (1) intention (2) moral object (3) circumstances If all three fonts are good, … Continue reading


The Principle of Double Effect

There are three fonts of morality: (1) intention, (2) moral object, (3) circumstances. The Magisterium definitively teaches (Veritatis Splendor, Catechism of the Catholic Church, etc.) that to be moral an act must have three good fonts. Any one bad font … Continue reading


Automatic Excommunication for the Use of Abortifacient Contraception

The penalty of automatic excommunication applies to anyone who deliberately chooses and accomplishes a direct abortion, with knowledge of the penalty attached. Can. 1398 A person who procures a completed abortion incurs a latae sententiae excommunication. This penalty applies to … Continue reading


Catholic Teaching on Contraception: a Summary

There are three fonts (sources) of morality: (1) intention – the intended end or purpose for which the act was chosen, by the subject. (2) moral object – the immediate end toward with the act is inherently directed, by the … Continue reading


Contraception is intrinsically evil

The Magisterium has many times taught that contraception is intrinsically evil. The use of contraception is a type of act that is inherently ordered toward an evil end, toward the deprivation of the procreative meaning of sexual relations. The knowing … Continue reading

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Guilty murderer or innocent victim? (On duress and morality)

There was a story in the news recently about a young woman who was a soldier in the Libyan military. During the rebellion, she was forced to kill captured rebels. These were not killings during battle. The rebels were individually … Continue reading